Ithaca and Tompkins County are among the most active communities in the country in initiatives promoting sustainability and reducing carbon emissions. Below is a list of some of the most prominent of those initiatives.

Higher education

Cornell University's sustainability plans are guided by a belief in balancing people, planet, and prosperity, including programs such as the lake source cooling system , and award-winning Transportation Demand Management Program on campus.

The Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future (CCSF) at Cornell University advances multidisciplinary research and cultivates innovative collaborations within and beyond Cornell to foster a sustainable future for all. The center focuses on energy, environment, and economic development. Research programs foster external partnerships, communication and visibility, faculty hires and retention, campus educational programs, and outreach and public engagement.

Ithaca College's sustainability plan is a central principle in the life of Ithaca College. In Spring 2005 Ithaca College completed a comprehensive Institutional plan for sustainability, and in May 2007, President Williams signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, pledging the Ithaca College community to develop a comprehensive plan and timeline to become "climate neutral."

Sustainability efforts at Tompkins Cortland Community College include campus-wide initiatives and a Sustainability Literacy Program. Faculty and staff are focusing on curriculum and outreach, waste minimization and college greening, carbon footprint, and research.

Tompkins County Community

Sustainable Tompkins is a broad-based coalition of organizations and individuals whose mission is to ensure the long-term well-being of our communities and region. Their website has an outstanding list of ways to get involved in Tompkins County. Among other features, note the Tompkins Sustainability Map.

Sustainable Transitions Inc. assists businesses, higher education institutions, municipalities, and non-profit organizations with developing and enhancing their sustainability programs. As a sustainability-focused project management and consulting company, Sustainable Transitions help sort through the many sustainable options available and identify what would best serve your specific needs. They can also assist organizations with sustainability-related public outreach in order to help maximize their impact.

The Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative (TCCPI) is a coalition of community leaders in Tompkins County, including those from higher education, who are seeking synergies to decrease electricity consumption for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Museum of the Earth, Tompkins County/Cornell Cooperative Extension, and others are involved in outreach and education associated with TCCPI.

A group of area citizens, TCLocal, is committed to researching various aspects of energy descent in Tompkins County and writing up a preliminary plan for each aspect based on purely local challenges and resources. Each contributor commits to researching and writing at least one article on a subject relating to our local response to energy descent.

Cornell Cooperative Extension has a wealth of climate change and energy resources.

Ithaca Carshare is a local nonprofit membership service offering access to fuel efficient cars and a truck located in Ithaca. Community members have been expressing their support for locally owned and operated carsharing since the Carsharing Summit held in Ithaca in January 2006.

Focus on sustainability and recycling

SewGreen is a community not-for-profit program that promotes sustainability through the creative reuse of fabric, fiber, and fashion, as well as responsible consumerism and a rediscovery of self-reliant skills. They offer community gatherings, free and open to all, where sewing and needlecraft enthusiasts can share ideas and advice. SewGreen plans low-cost sewing classes that are easily accessed by community members of all ages and skill levels.

The mission of the Green Resource Hub is to expand the regional marketplace for sustainable living. It provides consumer education and business support services on the topics of energy efficiency, green building, green purchasing, and renewable energy. The Green Resource Hub is a collaboration among Sustainable Tompkins, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County (CCE-TC), and the Ithaca Green Building Alliance.

Serving individual consumers, schools, and small businesses, Finger Lakes Buy Green helps find simple, easy ways to make purchases that benefit the buyer, the community, and the environment. You can find lists of recommended products and local suppliers, tips on green purchasing, and create a wish list.

The Tompkins County Environmental Management Council (TCEMC) has been the Legislature's official citizen advisory board on local environmental issues. The purpose of the EMC is to identify problems, propose priorities and promote coordination of activities in the development and management of our natural resources and to provide a public forum for the discussion and resolution of these problems and completion of proposed projects. Tompkins County joined the Cities for Climate Projection Campaign in 2001, recognizing the need to address the global warming problem swiftly and effectively, and the County's unique position to play a role.

Tompkins County Solid Waste Management Division manages the solid waste of Tompkins County in a manner that is environmentally sound, cost-effective, socially responsible and safe. The Tompkins County Solid Waste Division provides reliable recycling and solid waste services to Tompkins County residents, educational institutions, businesses and other organizations.