Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Cayuga Medical Center’

By Peter Bardaglio, Senior Fellow, Second Nature
(This article appears in the October, 2011 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)
TCCPI, a project of Second Nature, is generously supported by the Park Foundation

The ACUPCCEmbedded in the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) is the notion of leadership by example. By committing their institutions to the goal of carbon neutrality, the presidents who are signatories to the ACUPCC underscore the critical role of higher education in meeting the challenge of climate change and building a more sustainable future.

Universities and colleges in the United States have historically been crucibles of social change and laboratories for new ideas and creative solutions to some of society’s toughest problems. In this sense, the ACUPCC is part of a long tradition in our country. What is new, however, is the scale of the problem and the threat it poses to human civilization. Simply providing a model of sustainability will not suffice this time around. Campuses can only truly become sustainable if the communities around them are sustainable. In this sense, implicit in the ACUPCC is the commitment to not only dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of the university or college, but also collaborate with the larger community in doing so.

Tompkins County Climate Protection InitiativeThe Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative (TCCPI) seeks to demonstrate what this kind of collaboration looks like and the impact it can have on a region’s economic and environmental health. With a population of about 100,000, Tompkins County includes three ACUPCC signatories: Cornell University, Ithaca College, and Tompkins Cortland Community College. These three institutions also happen to be among the top employers in the county. At the same time, the city of Ithaca, the town of Ithaca, and the county government have made formal commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with the latter calling for a decrease in emissions of 80 percent by 2050 and establishing an interim goal of 20 percent by 2020.

TCCPI seeks to leverage these climate action commitments to mobilize a countywide energy efficiency effort and accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy. The coalition, launched in June 2008, currently consists of local leaders from more than forty organizations, institutions, and businesses in the county organized into five sectors: business/financial, education, local government, nonprofit, and youth. Each of these sectors has selected a representative to the steering committee, which tracks the progress of the coalition’s projects and sets the agenda for the monthly meetings of the whole group.

Among the projects currently underway is an effort to explore the feasibility of a combined heating and power plant shared by Cayuga Medical Center and its next door neighbor, the Museum of the Earth. Working with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, TCCPI has also helped to support the establishment of the Tompkins County Energy Corps, which is made up of students from Cornell and Ithaca College who carry out informational energy audits for homeowners, share information with them about state and federal incentives, and encourage concrete steps to improve the energy performance of their residences. Other projects involve the implementation of a $375,000 EPA Climate Showcase Community grant secured by the Tompkins County Planning Office and EcoVillage at Ithaca, both TCCPI members, and the rollout this fall of a countywide campaign to raise awareness about the importance of energy savings.

Perhaps the most ambitious effort undertaken by TCCPI is its current attempt to shape the economic development agenda not just of Tompkins County but the seven other counties in the region that make up what is known as “the Southern Tier.” In particular, TCCPI has called for the implementation throughout the region of large-scale commercial energy efficiency and renewable energy projects totaling $100 million.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: