Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative
The TCCPI Newsletter

March-April 2013

In This Issue
Featured Article
Regional Climate Conference to Mark Earth Day Weekend
Youth Power Summit at Ithaca College
April is Love Your Compost Month at Get Your GreenBack!
One Last Thing
Quick Links

Our Supporters
Featured Article
Cayuga Power Plant Seeks Shift to Natural Gas

Spring Robin Singing



Welcome to the March-April 2013 issue of the TCCPI Newsletter, an electronic update from the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative (TCCPI).
Jade in Pond
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. 

Regional Climate Conference to Mark Earth Day Weekend


Ready or not, climate change is already taking place in upstate New York. Storm damage is on the increase. Farms and forests face new pest pressures and harsh weather patterns. Public health agencies face upticks in several diseases.


The Climate Smart & Climate Ready conference, to be held in Ithaca and Cortland April 18-21, will focus on how local governments, institutions, residents, and businesses can both lower carbon emissions and prepare for an increasingly unstable climate. 


Under the leadership of Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, a coalition of Cortland and Tompkins County nonprofits, colleges, businesses, youth groups, and local governments has formed to support ongoing planning and action on climate mitigation and adaptation. Sustainable Tompkins has been primarily responsible for planning and coordinating the conference logistics.

Mark Hertsgaard
Mark Hertsgaard will be the keynote speaker on Thursday evening at the Hanger Theatre.


Events are free and open to the public except for the Saturday conference downtown. Tickets for Saturday are $20 for adults and $12 for students, and include morning refreshments and afternoon reception.


What's At Stake


Federal, state, and university research indicates that the rate of climate change is increasing rapidly, and many recommendations and resources are being crafted to help us transition. But ultimately, it will be up to communities to engage in the work of preparing and protecting their economies, infrastructure, buildings, and social fabric for the turbulent years ahead.


, but we need to find ways to share information and prioritize actions for cost-effective ways to reduce risk and protect vulnerable populations and key assets.  This first step is a collaborative effort to bring people together over several days in April to learn about climate impacts expected for our region, best practices for responsible reduction of fossil fuel use, and opportunities to invest in clean energy and smart development.


Mark Hertsgaard Speaking


The conference opens the evening of Thursday, April 18 with a keynote presentation at the Hangar Theater in Ithaca featuring Mark Hertsgaard, author of Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth. Hertsgaard, one of the most influential environmental journalists in the U.S., will join panelists from academia and state government to talk about what actions are being taken at the state level.


Events on Friday, April 19 will be held in Cortland for the agricultural sector, and in Ithaca for the legal and medical professions. Saturday will feature an all-day conference in downtown Ithaca with specific tracks developed for elected and appointed local government representatives, business and economic development interests, and community leaders. A Youth Summit focused on the overlap between climate justice, economic justice, and social justice will take place on the Ithaca College campus on Saturday and Sunday.


On Sunday, April 21, families and citizens are encouraged to come celebrate Earth Day at the Ithaca Farmers Market and in downtown Cortland, and learn how they can share in the responsibility of coping with climate impacts while preventing additional damage to our atmosphere.


A full conference agenda can be found at the event's website

Next TCCPI Meeting:

Friday, April 26, 2013

9 to 11 am

Borg Warner Room

Tompkins County Public Library
101 East Green Street

Ithaca, NY 14850

Youth Power Summit at Ithaca College on April 20-21

Tompkins County youth are coming together this Earth Day Weekend for a Youth Power Summit at the Park Center for Business and Sustainable Enterprise at Ithaca College. The summit will take place on Saturday, April 20 from 9:30 am to 7:30 pm and again on Sunday, April 21st from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm.


Linda Molina
Lilian Molina 

The Youth Power Summit is the Youth track of the Climate Smart & Climate Ready conference coming up this week. The summit will explore millennials' leadership in the growing field of "New Economics" and in locally focused, sustainable, and anti-oppressive projects in Ithaca and Upstate New York.

The Youth Power Summit is partnering with the internationally recognized New Economics Institute, and together, with the support of Sustainability at Ithaca College, "Committed to Change," the Green Umbrella, TCCPI, and other student and community organizations, has organized an amazing roster of workshops, panel presentations, and keynote speakers, including:

  • Juliet Schor, author of Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth;
  • Lilian Molina, inaugural director of the Environmental Justice program at the Energy Action Coalition, the hub of the US Youth Climate Justice movement; and
  • Esteban Kelly, co-founder of the the Anti-Oppression Resource and Training Alliance (AORTA).
People of all ages interested in the program and/or local youth empowerment are encouraged to attend.

Registration is Free! Register for the Youth Power Summit hereIndividuals with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact Marian Brown at or (607) 274-3787. We ask that requests for accommodations be made as soon as possible.




Take a step to save money and energy.



April is Love Your Compost Month with Get Your GreenBack!
By Karim Beers, Campaign Coordinator for Get Your GreenBack Tompkins

Nearly 60% of Tompkins County residents compost food scraps at home. Do you?


April is Compost month for Get Your GreenBack Tompkins. Composting is good for your

Compost Bin
Photo Credit: Electric Tree House

pocketbook. It helps save money on trash tags or disposal fees. It's good for your garden, as it makes great soil for growing flowers and plants. And composting is good for the planet. Food scraps make up 30% of our waste, which composting keeps out of the landfill.


Learn about everything compost at the Compost Fair, April 28th, from 12-4 at Cornell Cooperative Extension, held in conjunction with the 4-H Duck Race. Or call the "Rotline", the compost hotline, at (607) 272-2292. For more details go here.


Go to to learn more about composting and to share your compost story. Or send in a photo of your compost bin for the Compost Bin Beauty Pageant to the Get Your GreenBack Facebook page. Prizes for most beautiful, simplest, most sophisticated, and best dressed!


Your step counts! Commit to compost or share your compost story! Help us register 20,000 steps by the end of April. (17,803 so far, and aiming to reach 42,000 by the end of the year!)


Love your compost!
One Last Thing

With Earth Day weekend fast approaching, the calendar is filling up with all kinds of events to mark the observance: conferences, lectures, summits, fairs, and film screenings. Spring is late in coming to the Finger Lakes this year but, if we're lucky, the weather forecast might hold up and the warmer temperatures will continue and maybe, just maybe we'll even get some sunshine in time for the celebrations.

Cayuga Power Plant
Cayuga Power Plant
It's no little irony that at the same time we recommit to becoming better stewards of our life support system otherwise known as "the environment," we are faced with the dilemma of how to respond to the news that Cayuga Power Plant is seeking to shift from coal to natural gas. While many are touting natural gas as a cleaner burning alternative to coal, recent reports coming out of Cornell and elsewhere suggest that the methane emissions released during the life cycle of natural gas production and distribution, not just combustion, make it as dirty or perhaps even dirtier than coal.

So what to do? Cayuga Power Plant supplies over 300 megawatts of electricity to the grid and is not easily replaced. It also is a key source of property taxes for both the town of Lansing and Tompkins County. Shutting it down would have a major impact on the area's economy.

There is no easy answer and there will be huge trade offs regardless of what course we take. If nothing else, the Cayuga Power Plant stands as a stark reminder of just how deeply embedded we are in the fossil fuel regime and just how difficult it will be extricate ourselves from it. 

The debate over how to move forward has the potential to be a crucial teachable moment in the life of our community, reminding us that there are always consequences to our decisions, whether conscious or unconscious, intentional or unintentional. Perhaps one of the best ways we can observe this year's Earth Day is to recognize there are no easy answers, only complexities and challenges that we must confront and work our way through.
Peter Bardaglio
TCCPI Coordinator
Do the Math: The Movie
Ithaca Screening of "Do the Math" Sunday, April 21, 7 PM 
Join students and community members from the Ithaca area to conclude a powerful weekend of workshops and trainings on climate justice with a FREE film screening of's "Do the Math: The Movie."
Following the screening, hear from student leaders working on fossil fuel divestment campaigns and join the discussion about how our community can lead the way on climate action. 
On Earth Day weekend (4/18-4/21), hundreds of young people and community members in the Ithaca area are gathering for the Youth Power Summit and Climate Smart Climate Ready conference to build the solutions for a just, sustainable, and resilient future. For more information, visit and Film screening sponsored by the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative and GreenStar.