The Finger Lakes Region faces serious challenges in fostering sustainable economic development while maintaining the natural beauty, clean air, sparkling waters and fertile soils of the area. In 2013, the first Finger Lakes Landfill Summit sought to answer the question, “Where are we?” with regard to the solid waste situation in the northern Seneca Lake region.
On Wednesday, April 9, the 2014 Summit will look to the future: “Where should we try to go?”
Associate Professor of Environmental Studies Darrin Magee — who teaches, among other courses, “The Geography of Garbage” and helped organize last year’s summit — “was one of several voices in the community concerned about the direction we seem to be headed in terms of waste imports as a cornerstone of economic development.”
Along with Geneva city council members and Ontario county commission members, and organizations like Finger Lakes Zero Waste and the New York State Agricultural Experimentation Station, Magee and other campus leaders set out to engage residents in an ongoing regional dialogue about the industrialization of the Finger Lakes landscape, the impact of solid waste imports into the region and planning a more sustainable path forward.
This year’s Summit is a “visioning” summit,” Magee says, “where the conversation will focus on what we might aim for and imagine alternative futures that don’t bury large amounts of garbage in our backyards.”
The 2014 Summit will feature presentations from Ontario County Supervisors Charlie Evangelista P’05 and Mark Venuti; Seneca County Supervisor Steve Churchill; and experts in solid waste management, composting, recycling, and local control: Barbara Eckstrom, solid waste manager of Tompkins County; Graham Fennie, founder and CEO of the resource recovery company Epiphergy; and Gary Abraham, attorney and expert on local control regarding waste management.
The Summit, which will also include a 45-minute Q&A session, will be moderated by Khris Dodson, associate director at the Syracuse Center of Excellence Center for Sustainable Communities Solutions (Syracuse University), with assistance from Lisa Ruggero, staff lead at the National Recycling Coalition.
Co-sponsored by the City of Geneva, the Finger Lakes Institute and Hobart and William Smith Colleges, the Summit will begin at 6:30 p.m. in Albright Auditorium (Lansing Hall, 10 St. Clair Street).
Admission is free and open to the public. Parking is available in the HWS Medbery Parking Lot, located at 300 Pulteney Street.