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Archive for the ‘The City of Ithaca’ Category

Credit to Emily Cohn in the Cornell Daily Sun:

Yesterday at noon marked the end of a 40-hour fast for a group of local activists, including Fil Eden ’10, Carlos Rymer ’09, Stephanie Knight ’09 and Molly Bryson ’10, who participated in the event organized to advocate for local hotel workers’ rights. About 30 Ithaca residents gathered outside of the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel in Ithaca for the end of the fast, which coincided with the release of a settlement from the National Labor Relations Board regarding files charged against the hotel in defense of workers’ rights.

The settlement, released yesterday by the NLRB, upheld the charges of unfair labor practices filed by the Tompkins County Workers’ Center against the Hilton, which accused the hotel of violating federal labor law by disregarding workers’ freedom of association.

The charges were filed on behalf of Michelle Lopez, who was fired from her job as a housekeeper for the Hilton after advocating for the formation of a union. According to Pete Meyers, co-founder of the TCWC, which helped organize the fast, the hotel’s management threatened to fire workers who discussed Lopez’s dismissal.

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Credit to Sylvester Johnson in The Ithaca Journal

On the day that Ithaca’s Common Council passed the resolution in support of a federal carbon tax The Journal published the guest column “Ithaca Common Council’s support for Carbon Tax questioned” by Paul V. Sheridan that argued against passage on the basis of skepticism of the science of climate change. This column responds.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has reported that human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases “very likely” are contributing to climate change. The inspiration for the studies leading to that report was the rough correlation between rises in human population, carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere and average global surface temperature over the last 150 years. Correlations do not show causation, but such observations can inspire hypotheses for further investigation.

The panel therefore compiled the results of many worldwide climate computer simulations. The simulations were run both with human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases and without, including only variations in natural climate forcing such as solar. Only with human-induced emissions did the results correlate roughly with the rise in average global surface temperature. The temperature has risen steeply enough in the last three decades to support strong statistical significance culminating in the statement that human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases “very likely” are contributing to climate change.

Now the debate has moved beyond the science to policy. Whether the next president is Republican or Democrat, legislation is likely to get enacted to reduce fossil fuel emissions, with the options being a federal carbon tax or emissions trading. The outcome of this Congressional debate will affect residents of Ithaca.

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Credit to Tyson Buerkle in the Cornell Daily Sun:  

If you haven’t heard of Greenstar Cooperative Market, you probably haven’t been in Ithaca all that long, but don’t worry, that’s okay – now you’ve heard of it, right? Greenstar started up in the early 1970s as a small purchasing co-op, and members would take turns picking up orders for the group at a wholesale market in Syracuse. At first the co-op was relatively small. However, membership grew rapidly and soon they began retailing from a permanent store site. Today the store is located on the corner of West Buffalo and Fulton streets in Ithaca.

So why am I telling you all this? Greenstar has a deep-rooted commitment to local foods, one that can be traced all the way to their mission statement.

In Greenstar’s produce, grocery, bulk and deli sections, they shelve as much local food as possible, sourcing their products from twenty local farmers. The co-op offers local produce year-round, but it is seasonal. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you’ll get a nice head of local lettuce in February! During the winter months you’ll find mostly storage crops such as potatoes, onions, beets and squash. You can also find locally produced and processed foods in other parts of the store such as the bulk section and in the deli. One of the most popular products at Greenstar is the local tofu, processed by Ithaca Soy.

Recently Greenstar adopted a first-rate labeling system. Very visible signs point out exactly what on the shelves is local produce. After talking to the General Manager of the store, I found out that the co-op’s definition of “local” is a 30 mile radius as the crow flies – a much higher standard than the average 100 miles that people generally think of for local food. Due to the signage and labeling in the market it is quite easy to go into Greenstar and pick out some good local foods for dinner.

Admittedly, Greenstar is a bit further away than some of the other local food options I have described in the past weeks , but do not despair! The T-CAT bus route 21 makes a stop at the Ithaca Bus Station right across the street from the co-op.

I’ll end by saying, if you have never been to Greenstar, you should definitely check it out! Greenstar Cooperative Market is one of the key places that make Ithaca a local food hot-bed.

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Credit to Krisy Gashler in the Ithaca Journal (also see Cornell Daily Sun):

ITHACA — Common Council voted Wednesday to support a federal carbon tax, to build a new dock at Stewart Park, to revise the city’s comprehensive plan and to exempt a proposed Lakeview Mental Health residence from property taxes for 16 years. Council passed a resolution urging state and federal officials to pursue a federal carbon tax rather than emissions trading to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The resolution passed 9-0, with Alderwoman Nancy Schuler, D-4th, abstaining.Schuler said some clauses of the resolution were “really just too emphatic because we really don’t know.”

“I certainly support the concept but I had trouble with the 25 ‘whereases’ as a statement,” she said.

Sylvester Johnson, who is a member of the Climate Change Action Group of Central New York and largely wrote the resolution passed by Council, urged individuals who favor a carbon tax to visit his Web site: federalcarbontax.org.

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Welcome!

This blog is the result of a collaborative effort between students and community members in the Town of Ithaca. This blog will serve as a communication and information portal for the City of Ithaca, Ithaca College, and Cornell University. Everybody involved in making Ithaca sustainable, whether at Cornell, IC, or downtown, is more than welcome to become a regular blogger. In general, bloggers can post about anything related to events, announcements, plans, opinions, international, national, and state news, and requests for recruitment efforts and initiatives. General information about current efforts is also welcome. However, the idea is to make this a place for sharing and community, where ideas, news, and opinions are communicated to the community.

To become a regular blogger, simply e-mail the manager of the blog at carlos.rymer@gmail.com with a short bio, a picture of yourself, and your current efforts around sustainability in Ithaca.

For a Durable Future!

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***PLEASE SPREAD FAR AND WIDE***

The Cornell Carpool on Facebook Competition

The Problem: Driving our personal cars contributes 20% of US CO2 emissions, the single most significant source from individuals. CO2 emissions levels need to be curbed to avoid potentially catastrophic effects of climate change.

Solution: You and Carpool on Facebook!

Carpool on Facebook was built to provide a safe and hassle free way to find a ride, wherever you are going. Carpool on Facebook will make life easier for those without a car, provide company and money for those with a car and help those who want to share a cab. The application is built upon Facebook’s social network of 30,000,000+ users. Carpool on Facebook uses geo-coding technology to make rides easily searchable, and calculates your CO2 emissions saved.
For more information about Carpool on Facebook go to: www.zimride.com.

Your Mission: To market Carpool on Facebook to the Cornell community bydeveloping and executing a marketing plan that could easily be replicated at other universities. The best statement of interest we receive prior to October 15th, will be chosen to participate in the Carpool marketing campaign. The winning team will be supplied with a marketing budget to cover all associated expenses.

For years, there have been carpool-matching sites on the internet. Never has there been a community (campus or city) that has achieved large-scale use of carpooling as a means of transportation over single occupancy travel. Social networking, the strength of the Cornell community and your help can make history towards a more sustainable planet.

Statements of interest should describe your team (please include resumes if easily attained) and your plan. Statements should be approximately 2 pages in length. Judging submissions will be the founder of Carpool on Facebook, New York City Senior Project Manager for Congestion Pricing, and a Professor in the field of Sustainable Business.

PLEASE EMAIL QUESTIONS AND YOUR SUBMISSION TO LOGAN@ZIMRIDE.COMDEADLINE: OCTOBER 15TH

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While this summer marked the seventh operating year for Cornell’s lake source cooling facility on Cayuga Lake, the anniversary has not marked a lucky break in resolving worries over lake health and the controversial cooling plant.

Concerned community activists in Ithaca have been keeping a close eye on the project since its approval in 1998. Many activists view the facility as a threat to the lake’s delicate ecosystem. This year has been no different despite recent talks between Cornell’s utilities department and Tompkins County’s Water Resources Council that focused on improving water quality monitoring at the plant.

Attempting to win over the opposition, the University has engaged in dialogue with the WRC to review the current monitoring system and solicit advice on how to better handle the facility’s monitoring duties. Early assessments have revealed costly redundancies in some areas of the system and needed additions in other areas — an eye-opening start to what is hoped to be a productive partner ship.

Continue reading.

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