Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative
The TCCPI Newsletter

August-September 2013

In This Issue
Featured Article: Large-Scale Solar Coming to Cornell
Big Splash Sustainability Fair to Celebrate Alternative Energy
Streets Alive - Southside!
One Last Thing: OMG Moments from the Draft IPCC Report
Quick Links

Our Supporters
Featured Article: Cornell Receives NYSERDA Funding for Large-Scale Solar

Great Blue Heron



Welcome to the August-September 2013 issue of the TCCPI Newsletter, an electronic update from the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative (TCCPI).
August Garden
Photo Credit: Wrexie Bardaglio

TCCPI is a multisector collaboration seeking to leverage the climate action commitments made by Cornell University, Ithaca College, Tompkins Cortland Community College, Tompkins County, the City of Ithaca, and the Town of Ithaca to mobilize a countywide energy efficiency effort and accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy. Launched in June 2008 and generously supported by the Park Foundation, TCCPI is a project of Second Nature, the lead supporting organization of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).


We are committed to helping Tompkins County achieve a dynamic economy, healthy environment, and resilient community through a focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy. 

Big Splash Sustainability Fair to Celebrate Alternative Energy


The Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance will present the third annual Seneca Lake Big Splash Sustainability Fair this weekend at the Hector Fairgrounds.


This event, which will run Saturday, August 31 and Sunday, September 1 at the Hector Fairgrounds, will feature Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn, Willie Watson (formerly of Old Crow 

Bela Fleck
Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn will be helping to celebrate renewable energy at Big Splash this weekend. 

Medicine Show), Donna the Buffalo, Driftwood, Richie Stearns and Rosie Newton, Black Castle, the Gunpoets, the Blind Spots, Big Mean Sound Machine, Super 20, Home Remedy, Cha Cha and the NdorBand, Pete Ruttle, Dylan Wood, Zydeco Po' Boys, Wren, Second Dam and Brett Beardslee.


Originally part of the Finger Lakes Clean Waters Initiative, Big Splash was taken over by GrassRoots earlier this year.


The non-profit event began as a movement to support awareness of the dangers of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, but this year the event is expanding into what organizers call a "solution-based program." 


"Big Splash outgrew the water-protection-specific mission of Finger Lakes Clean Waters," said event coordinator Jon McNamara. "With GrassRoots coming on and officially presenting it, it's given the event a lot more clout and presence."


"This year we took a tremendous step forward in that we adopted sustainability as a mission of the project," McNamara noted. "In the past, the series was geared towards raising awareness of hydrofracking, but we felt like everybody has made up their mind one way or another, and that it was time to move toward a more solution-based approach to addressing a lot of the same issues from fossil fuels to climate change."


Earlier this month, GrassRoots presented "Rock the Plan" at Ithaca's Stewart Park to raise awareness and support for the "2030 Plan," a vision for how New York can switch from fossil fuels to water, wind and solar power by 2030.


There will be two stages at Hector, including the 10,000 square foot dance tent. A weekend pass will run $30 in advance, and $35 at the gate; a day pass will cost $15 in advance, and $20 at the gate. A vehicle pass with two tent pass will cost $25. For more information, please visit or call 273-4497. 


This weekend's event also will feature a farmers' market, local cuisine, beer and wine (no outside alcohol is permitted). Several area nonprofit groups also will have information booths at the fair.

Next TCCPI Meeting:

Friday, September 27, 2013

9 to 11 am

Borg Warner Room

Tompkins County Public Library
101 East Green Street

Ithaca, NY 14850

Walk, Bike, Roll, Dance at Streets Alive - Southside!
By Karim Beers, Campaign Coordinator for Get Your GreenBack Tompkins
Come celebrate the 3rd edition of Streets Alive! Walk, bike, roll, or dance down Plain Street in Ithaca's Southside on Sunday, September 22 from 1 to 4 pm, and enjoy the safety and freedom of streets that are closed to cars, and open to relaxed, people-powered fun. It's also World Car-Free Day. an extra reason to celebrate.


Dust off your 10-speed and get it tuned up at the FREE quick bike repair stations operated by Recycle Ithaca's Bicycles and the Friends' Bike Clinic; practice bike skills at the Bike Rodeo; don't miss the FREE helmet giveaway with Way2Go; get FREE ice cream with Ithaca CarShare; Zumba in the streets with Finger Lakes Fitness Center; savor the delicacies from the Congo Square Market; and enjoy live

Streets Alive

music at Southside Community Center. Bring life to a section of street with your idea--anyone in for four square, Tai Chi, public art, or a lemonade stand?


Streets Alive! is about enjoying the day together, and also about inspiring all of us to use active ways to get around on a more regular basis. Human-powered transportation is clearly good for our physical health, but it is also healthy for our pockets. The AAA estimates that driving costs on average 60 cents per mile, and we drive a lot, which is why, according to the Census, an average family of four spends almost $11,000 a year on transportation. Learning to walk, bike, bus, or carpool for our travel needs can make real financial sense. And it's great for the environment, as each mile we drive spews one pound of carbon dioxide. Yuck!


Go to for more information on the event and to volunteer, and for a list of bike shops in the county, transportation options for other September community festivals, and to learn about other energy and money saving ideas and share your own. Streets Alive! is coordinated by Creating Healthy Places, with support from the Southside Community Center, Get Your GreenBack Tompkins, and dozens of other organizations. And you! Come help make our streets come alive.


Learn about the Food Justice Summit, Streets Alive!'s sister event, taking place the day before (Saturday, September 21) at the Southside Community Center. Help build a food system that works for everyone!




Take a step to save money and energy.








One Last Thing

As you may be aware, a draft of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 2013 Summary for Policymakers report was leaked to the press last week. The findings were far from comforting. 
As someone who grew up in the Sputnik Era, a time when science and technology became a central focus of national policy, I remain baffled by how such a large segment of the
U.S. population could be so firmly committed to climate denialism, ignoring the overwhelming consensus of scientists that global warming is accelerating.
 NYC Under Water

But, of course, logic and reason have very little to do with the refusal o
f many Americans to acknowledge the threat that runaway climate change poses to the health and security of people around the world.
For those who still think science is a valid way of thinking and knowing, there were some real OMG moments contained in the leaked IPCC draft, which of course is still subject to revision. Mother Jones shared what it called "five 'holy crap' statements":
  • We're headed toward transforming the planet in a way "unprecedented in hundreds to thousands of years."
  • Ocean acidification is "virtually certain" to increase.
  • Long-term, sea level rise could be 5 to 10 meters (16 to 32 feet).
  • During the last interglacial period, the melting of Greenland alone "very likely" accounted for between 1.4 and 4.3 meters of global sea level rise.
  • Even if we were to immediately halt all greenhouse gas emissions warming would continue for "many centuries."
Particularly alarming is the finding about ocean acidification. We may not be able to boil the ocean but we sure are changing it. The ocean absorbs over a quarter of the carbon dioxide released each year, much of it the result of human agricultural and industrial activity; after decades of rising carbon dioxide levels, the chemistry of the ocean is clearly beginning to shift. 

As Mother Jones observes, ocean acidification "threatens the survival of entire ecosystems from phytoplankton to coral reefs, and from Antarctic systems reliant on sea urchins to many human food webs dependent on everything from oysters to salmon." In other words, virtually the entire marine food chain is at risk. You don't have to be a rocket scientist or even a post-Sputnik student to realize this could be big trouble. 
Peter Bardaglio
TCCPI Coordinator
Upgrade Upstate

Visit to get a no-cost or reduced-cost energy assessment. Learn which rebates, tax credits, and loans you qualify for to help pay for work. Check out how-to videos for low-cost/no-cost improvements and testimonial videos of Tompkins County residents who have made upgrades. Upgrade Upstate is a program of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County.