Rivera-Ramos ’04 Promotes Sustainability – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Rivera-Ramos ’04 Promotes Sustainability

Joseph Rivera-Ramos ’04 was featured in a recent article in the Finger Lakes Times, focusing on two fundraising events that he organized last month.

Rivera-Ramos, a Geneva resident and founder of the Fingerlakes Urban Ecology Lab, notes in the article that his goal is to eventually establish a network of self reliant communities. The events, dubbed “Thriving With Five,” benefited the organization with the hopes of reaching this goal.

Mentioning in the article that many local residents are not aware of the environmental obstacles the Finger Lakes region faces, Rivera-Ramos hopes to shed light on these issues by outlining the specific challenges the region faces.
He notes, “We must take into account historical context, weather and other factors unique to the Finger Lakes when planning big future changes and avoiding sprawl.”

While at Hobart, Rivera-Ramos received the prestigious President’s Public Service Award and was awarded the Leo Srole Prize in Urban Studies. He was a member of Chi Phi.

The full article follows.

Finger Lakes Times
Organizer calls ‘Thriving With Five’ fundraisers a success

By Jackson Bartell • Staff writer • July, 15 2013

GENEVA-A Hobart College graduate is determined to bring his vision of urban development intertwined with environmental sustainability to the forefront of the local community. Geneva resident Joseph Rivera-Ramos organized two events last month to raise money and awareness toward ecologically conscious city planning.

The events, dubbed “Thriving With Five,” benefited the organization Rivera-Ramos founded, the Fingerlakes Urban Ecology Lab. FUEL combines the ideas of urban accessibility and sound environmental principles as its main goal for a sustainable future.

At the second “Thriving With Five” event, held at the Left Bank on Linden street, Rivera-Ramos provided a special presentation on ecological balance and urban development in the Finger Lakes. The presentation described the overview and scope of his mission.

“My main goal at this point is to find out how the Finger Lakes defines these five major elements of urban ecology – food, water, shelter, responsible energy and transportation systems – and to see what it will take to build a self reliant network of communities,” he explained.

Through fundraising, Rivera-Ramos plans to hire people to consult with community-reliant businesses like Seneca Meadows and Casella Waste Systems. His goal is to have those consultants advise the companies that run the two area landfills on how they can improve long-term sustainability, to reflect on the future impact of their unsustainable practices, and to make appropriate, long-lasting changes.

“We must take current issues and plan for the next 100 years to prevent the decay of the human race,” he advised. FUEL representatives also would attend City Council meetings.

Rivera-Ramos’ plan was born partly in his worry that the region’s abundance of fresh water and natural gas could be exploited as urban resources are depleted.
Although sustainability is possible anywhere, it must be achieved through methods unique to each location, Rivera-Ramos said.

“We must take into account historical context, weather and other factors unique to the Finger Lakes when planning big future changes and avoiding sprawl,” Rivera-Ramos elaborated.

He is planning to open an art studio in Geneva to help bring the ideals of arcology- architecture plus ecology- to the public sector.

Rivera-Ramos describes himself as a “representative of reality in the Finger Lakes, because most people here are unaware of these imminent problems our species faces.”

Rivera-Ramos takes his inspiration from the methods of Arcosanti, an experimental model of a futuristic, self-reliant community that began in the 1960s in Arizona. He lived there for two years and is implementing Arcosanti philosophies into Finger Lakes development.

Rivera-Ramos and FUEL are focusing on the prospects of public transportation in Geneva. Sustainable practices such as using the CATS bus line and Zipcar should be utilized to the fullest extent to reduce car usage.

Educating the public on sustainable lifestyle choices is the first step in FUEL’s goal of creating dense, yet self-reliant communities, Rivera-Ramos said.