Monday, 01 September 2014 14:47
The rocks are not so close akin to us as the soil; they are one more remove from us; but they lie back of all, and are the final source of all. ... Time, geologic time, looks out at us from the rocks as from no other objects in the landscape.
— John Burroughs
By Joe Romano,
Issues like fracking, protecting our local biodiversity, whether local wine should be sold in supermarkets, whether Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) should be stored in the Seneca salt caverns, which neighborhoods get funding for what, supporting local farmers, and the role of the colleges up on the hills of our community seem like issues of the moment here in Ithaca. But actually, all of these things were caused by the same factors and each had its genesis over 360 million years ago.
You may be looking down at your feet and scratching your head, wondering how that is possible. Well that's a perfect response. In fact, look down at your feet right now, because that's where the answer lies.
Imagine that it's 410 million years ago. The continents have yet to differentiate and drift apart. High sea levels have flooded this part of what will become the North American continent, so you're standing under warm ocean water very near to the Earth's equator. A collision with the landmass that is now Europe has created a long mountain range on the scale of the Himalayas that rise above the water just to the east of this undersea Ithaca. The water around you is teeming with life. At your feet are seashells and skeletons of sea creatures that form a limey mud that will eventually become limestone.
From Slow Food to Slow Building: Bringing the Principles of the Slow Movement to Our Housing Choices
Monday, 04 August 2014 13:30
By Maria Klemperer-Johnson
Are you familiar with Slow Food? As a member of GreenStar, you likely know something about the movement that advocates a food system working at a more traditional pace: from production to distribution to consumption. In contrast to fast food, where industrialized processes deplete our environment, disempower workers, and produce unwholesome food, Slow Food creates a richer culture that nourishes consumers, the environment, and the people within the food production and distribution system.
As a builder and educator, I've been contemplating bringing the principles of Slow Food to residential building: Slow Building. What can we achieve by slowing down the process of design and construction, rooting our buildings in local traditions, and considering the impacts of our building choices on us, our environment, and the people working in the system?
Think of the ways that our building choices impact our community. Do they fulfill us personally? Do they sustain or deplete our physical environment? Do they contribute to a socially just economic system?
When making building choices that are nourishing to us personally, we usually think aesthetically. Most of us have made a self-indulgent choice to spend more for the granite countertop, or the extra dormer, or the flat-screen TV. Other less conspicuous, health-oriented choices are also worth making to promote our well-being in the home. We might consider the toxicity of materials, indoor air quality, and the relationship of our homes to our outdoor environment. Taking time to account for both aesthetics and the healthfulness of our homes is one aspect of Slow Building.
Friday, 01 August 2014 17:20
By Holly Payne,
GreenStar Community Projects Coordinator
What can a very small non-profit do to address the looming problem of food injustice, in which the current industrialized food system disempowers people — especially those living in poverty — from regularly accessing healthy food grown nearby? GreenStar Community Projects is a small organization with modest means, but it is strategically positioned within a cooperative framework to connect players to the emerging sustainable food system, with the goal of making healthy food accessible to all.
GreenStar Community Projects (GSCP) has just received $20,000 — its largest ever grant — from the Park Foundation to help bring food justice to Tompkins County. We are grateful for this vote of confidence! GSCP will use the money to strategically link diverse players across mainstream boundaries of race and class and across professional sectors, empowering everyone interested to participate in the emerging sustainable food system.
In 2012 and 2013, with start-up support from the Park Foundation, GSCP initiated the work of linking players together by holding regular networking sessions — free and open to all — to strengthen voices less heard and build collaborative efforts for a fair, sustainable food system. Requests for many more sessions have catalyzed continued networking. This year GSCP has already held three sessions, each addressing a different component of the food system: a "Communications Action" session was held in February; a "Business to Business Action" session was held in April; and a "Food Policy Action" session was held in June.
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By Laura Buttenbaum,
What is a co-op? This seemingly straightforward question can elicit a wide range of responses, from visceral and intrinsic to completely organizational and economic. According to the International Cooperative Association, "A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons unite...