to the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative

309 North Aurora Street | Ithaca, NY 14850 | info@tccpi.org

The Power of Partnerships

by Gary Stewart 

We live in a place with lots of turf, in more ways than one, with 16 municipalities, a busy county government, three institutions of higher education and myriad other businesses, nonprofits, peripheral interests and opinions. Often (and in some instances understandably), these groupings may form lines and divisions that can slow proactive measures or even hinder unified approaches on issues of shared concern. 

Gratefully, something like the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative brings folks of good will to the same table while subtly asking them to leave their turf at the door. TCCPI represents the spirit of new-era democracy, with bigger-business advocates sitting next to Snug Planet, with large-scale power generators conferring with EcoVillage, or with Tompkins County Solid Waste having the opportunity to compare notes with Museum of the Earth. TCCPI sessions are about partnerships and progress in Tompkins County. 

A mere mini-snapshot of the inclusive strategies forwarded by TCCPI members:

  • The Town of Caroline is arguably the most eco- progressive rural township in New York, in large part because of Energy Independent Caroline (EIC), which helps town households save energy comfortably, and promotes clean and reliable power from renewable resources. EIC meets the second Tuesday of each month in the town hall, which is powered by solar energy. 
  • Cayuga Medical Center (CMC) continues to set high standards for sustainability on CMC construction and renovation initiatives, and as a major employer, embraces the related challenges and opportunities that come with having a mobile, 24/7 work force.
  • The Finger Lakes Climate Fund works to promote energy efficiency while strengthening economies and assisting local families in need. Carbon offset donations are used for grants to fund energy-efficiency projects that would not otherwise be possible in low- to moderate-income households.
  • Tompkins Cortland Community College, Ithaca College and Cornell University continue to work on their respective climate action plans and the Downtown Ithaca Alliance is considering the development of a Sustainability Center on The Commons, while Ithaca Carshare, the Sciencenter, Tompkins Community Action and other organizations continue to lead and grow on the green front.
  • TCCPI business and community interests, including Tompkins County Area Development, Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce, financial institutions, property owners or developers, architects, foundations and others provide a bottom-line presence. 

As reflected in a steady stream of praise and recognition, TCCPI is making a difference as a champion of sustainable thinking, under a big green tent. It's a model worth emulating, in honor of Mother Turf. 

Gary Stewart is the Director of Community Relations at Cornell University and a member of Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative. 

Ithaca Journal 5-26-11