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Archive for April, 2008

Credit to Krisy Gashler in the Ithaca Journal:

ITHACA — The winds are changing in Tompkins County.

After some notable recent setbacks, wind energy proponents in the county have several projects to look forward to again.

Ithaca College recently received approval to set up a meteorological tower on part of its South Hill property to measure wind and see whether conditions are appropriate for building a wind turbine.

The Enfield wind farm proposal, after being killed by a questionable law late last year, has new life with a new town board.And the Town of Ithaca is nearing approval of a Small Wind Energy Facility law to make it easier for residents to install their own residential-scale windmills.

“Obviously we all want to transition to more sustainable energy sources and wind is certainly one of them,” said Edward Marx, Tompkins County commissioner of Planning and Public Works. “If it can be appropriately sited in ways that benefit overall the community and minimize negative impacts, it hopefully can be part of our energy future in the county.”

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Credit to Aaron Munzer in the Ithaca Journal:

ITHACA — Cornell University President David Skorton spoke Tuesday night to an audience of almost 70 community members about how the university he heads is trying to be a good neighbor — and a good steward of the planet.

In an Earth Day speech in Ithaca High School’s Kulp Auditorium to members of local service-based organizations such as the Kiwanis Club and Lions Club, Skorton outlined some of the university’s efforts to become a more sustainable and open institution.

“I want … to look at some of the broader challenges we face as a university and the impact they may have on the community,” he said. “The focus of our education is dependent on a bilateral partnership with the community.”

The event was coordinated by the Ithaca Rotary Club, a service-based organization of which Skorton is an honorary member.

Foremost in his speech was the creation of the Cornell Center for a Sustainable Future, which will focus research and education on energy use, environmental problems, and economic development issues such as poverty alleviation. The school has allocated $10 million in seed money for the project.

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Credit to Aaron Munzer in the Ithaca Journal:

CAROLINE — Foot soldiers in the fight for an energy independent community talked up bright ideas about saving energy and handed out reusable cloth bags stuffed with an efficient compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) to each of Caroline’s 1,400 households Saturday.

Approximately 90 volunteers from Cornell University, Ithaca College and the surrounding communities walked, biked, drove and even rode horses around Caroline, distributing the bulbs with a friendly message: help make the town a model for other rural communities seeking to control their energy costs.

“We’re trying to take energy independence into our own hands,” said Dominic Frongillo, a council member in the Town of Caroline, deputy supervisor, and a member of Energy Independent Caroline, the group behind the distribution. “This is our future.”

The project was funded by a $5,000 grant written with money from the Cornell Community Partnership Board, the Cornell Cooperative Extension, and an anonymous local donor. The colorful cloth bags were made by Sew Green, an Ithaca-based sustainable sewing group.

Frongillo said he and the other residents are taking sustainability into their own hands because the federal government isn’t.

“Things are going so slow to address climate change,” Frongillo said. “I came back from the (United Nations) Climate Change Conference in Bali and realized it’s up to us. We’re the leaders we’re looking for.”

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Credit to Michelle Sun in the Cornell Daily Sun:

As the earth warms up, the human race must also speed up its alternative energy technologies to increase its efficiency, at least according to Nobel Laureate Steven Chu.

“The fact that the earth is warming up is not a matter of debate,” Chu told a crowd last night at the 2008 Hans Bethe lecture. The debate, according to Chu, is about whether or not the climate change is due to humans, which he believes research strongly suggests is true. Either way, temperature fluctuations are much more rapid than predicted and have far-reaching consequences.

Improved calculations show that in the first half of the century, California will lose about 26 percent of the snow packed in the Sierra.

“If you’re down by 25 percent for two or three years in a row, it’s a disaster. This is forever,”emphasized Chu.

Similar environmental scenarios are reflected around the world, which he believes merit increased public knowledge and attention.

A professor of physics and molecular and cell biology at the University of California-Berkeley and director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Chu holds “an astonishing corpus of work” of “extraordinary breadth,” according to Peter Lepage, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, who introduced the Nobel laureate. Chu is very important in advising the nation and government on energy issues.

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lightbulb.jpgCredit to Rebecca James in the Syracuse Post-Standard:

You can build a better light bulb – one that uses less electricity and saves money – but how do you get people to use it?

Environmentalists from Cornell University, Ithaca and the nearby town of Caroline are betting that if you deliver a free compact fluorescent bulb to each person’s door, tucked into a reusable fabric bag, people will see the light.

On April 19, a team of more than 100 volunteers on bikes, on foot and in cars plan to deliver the bulbs to all 1,400 households in the town of Caroline, a sprawling, rural community in Tompkins County.

<!– if (parseFloat(navigator.appVersion) == 0) { document.write(”); } –>”We’re trying to show how a small, rural town can take matters into our own hands and say: This is up to us. Our international leaders and national leaders are not moving fast enough to protect our future,” said Dominic Frongillo, a Caroline town board member.

A Cornell junior from Pompey, Shawn Lindabury, wrote a grant that helped fund the project, which is aimed at increasing awareness about how people can live greener lives.

“A lot of people aren’t aware of the benefits of these bulbs,” Lindabury said. “We’re saying, hey, you can save $55 over the course of the lifetime of the light bulb and help reduce energy use in Caroline.”

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Credit to Seth Shapiro in the Cornell Daily Sun:

“Cornell is very progressive in its commitment to sustainability,” said Whitney Larsen ’10, the outreach coordinator for the student-run Sustainability Hub.

While the Sustainability Hub and other student groups work to make the Cornell campus as sustainable as possible, the administration is trying to widen the scope on Cornell’s impact on sustainability.

With the creation of the Cornell Center for a Sustainable Future, the administration is trying to bring together Cornell professors and faculty to enact change far beyond the Cornell campus.

“[This is a great] opportunity for this University to be a model for others to follow,” said Dean of University Faculty Charles Walcott Ph.D ’59.

One way the CCSF and Cornell has shown their determination to the nationwide sustainability effort is by bringing in esteemed professors to teach at Cornell and to take on leadership roles in the CCSF.

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mouthprint.jpgCredit to Tyson Buerkle on the Cornell Daily Sun Blog:

This weekend kicks off what is probably the most exciting few months in the year for local foods in Ithaca – at 9 a.m. on Saturday the Ithaca Farmers Market opens its stalls for the 2008 season! The Ithaca Farmers Market started up in 1973 and has grown to 165 vendors selling a variety of products from produce to crafts. And this is the really cool part – every vendor comes from within a 30-mile radius! This stuff basically comes from your back yard. It’s local food in Tompkins County at its best!

The Ithaca Farmers Market is located on Steamboat Landing on 3rd Street, right off Route 13. You can get there by car, by foot, by boat, by bus, by bike, or by any other method you choose (helicopters excluded). With this in mind, parking on Saturdays tends to get a little cramped and congested, so it is best to carpool or use the TCAT (a combination of routes 30 and 13 or 16 should get you there from Cornell).

Saturday the market will open up with the Maple Festival – a very pertinent celebration for the beginning of spring. Stop by for a couple of hours to eat some good food, buy some cool things, talk to some awesome vendors (they really know their stuff!), listen to good music, and chill in a nice setting. Hope to see you there!

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