Archive for December, 2010

December 2010 Edition

Three Challenges to Sustainability, An Interview with Winona LaDuke, Northern New Mexicans Share Agricultural Knowledge at Terra Madre 2010, New Mexico Acequia Association Celebrates 20th Annual Congreso, New Mexico Acequia Association’s Declaration of Core Values, Moving Arts Española, Cabañuelas: Jewish and Mayan Meteorology Traditions Combined, My Own Garden: Bringing Nature Indoors, Kidnapped by the House: Affordable Housing, Land, and the Green Imperative, The Local Voice: Don’t Cry for Me, Local Economy, From Polluter to Conservationist: The Calvin Hildebrand Story, Santa Fe High Takes Strong Strides to Go Green,Energy Newsbites, ChemRisk Says Río Water from Buckman Project Is Safe,San Augustín Plains More >

Kidnapped by the House – Affordable Housing, Land, and the Green Imperative – Part 6, A Summary

Photo: Rebekah Azen

by Rebekah Zablud Azen

Luckily for me, I was rudely and unceremoniously thrown out of my long-term rental of twelve years for a minor infraction for which my dear puppy-dog was responsible. He had the good sense to bark at the new neighbor, a policeman, who, having the authority of law and finding no obstruction to bullying, threatened to shoot my dog. The landlord, being a true capitalist, scrambled to placate the policeman, and wasted no time in securing his rental property and possessions. I was told to “get rid of the dog” or vacate within a month. Having More >

Don’t Cry for Me, Local Economy

Vicki Pozzebon

I admit it: I’m a victim of the economy. But I was also a contributor to its demise. In 2006 while still married, I purchased a home with 100% financing. Wow. That was dumb. I was sold a bill of goods, a litany of “you should buy now, invest in your future, real estate is a good investment,” tag lines. I watched all the commercials for Countrywide, offering me a killer deal on 100% financing. And I bought into it. All of it. And then in 2008, I divorced. The economy tanked. My house value plummeted and I was More >

Everyday Green – Green Gifting

Susan Guyette

Gifts coming from a place of generosity rather than obligation are heartfelt. The approaching holiday season is an ideal time to rethink sustainable ways of connecting to others. There are many options, including shunning gifting or figuring out a more thoughtful expression. In economic hard times there may be a tendency to avoid gifting, yet this season can be an opportunity to think consciously about purchases.

Taking the focus off self during the holiday season can turn stress into joy. Think about what might delight another person, such as favorite foods or activities or a gift certificate from a particular More >

Moving Arts Española dancers perform at the Congreso de las Acequias

“La Cancion de Las Acequias” was commissioned by the National Hispanic Cultural Center last spring for inclusion in the third annual From Field to Feast initiative with the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque in October 2010.

The lyrics and musical arrangement were written by Cipriano Vigil and David Garcia, and are based on a Spanish Colonial version dating back to the 1700’s. The choreography and staging were created by Roger Montoya and Rosalia Triana, and reflect the traditions, care and folklore associated with El Mayordomo, and his or her duties with the annual ditch cleaning, which sustains farmers and families More >

ChemRisk Says Rio Water from Buckman Project Is Safe – Community NGOs Question Their Findings

Seth Roffman

On Tuesday, December 7th, from 6–8 pm at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center, ChemRisk, LLC will hold the third and final public meeting to discuss responses to comments they have received regarding preliminary drafts of the Buckman Direct Diversion (BDD) Project Independent Peer Review (IPR) documents.

ChemRisk, a risk analysis corporation, was hired by BDD Project Board, which is composed of Santa Fe (city and county) elected officials. AMEC Earth and Environment, based in Socorro, NM, has collaborated with ChemRisk to assess the safety of surface water flowing downstream from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and groundwater traveling through More >

Zen Birding – Connect to Nature

By David White and Susan Guyette

“Breathe in, breathe out. We are but one in the connectedness of beings. Become one heartbeat with the planet.”

Our relationship to other species as sentient beings is explored in this new book for those who enjoy nature, bird watching, Eastern and Native American worldviews. The text contains many captivating New Mexico nature stories that illustrate the Zen lives of birds – being in the moment, being skillful, using strategy, communicating, playing and even engaging in family dynamics.

This very different style of birding can be developed as a conscious approach that reinforces all the values that More >

Sustainable Rural Economic Development: Which Path to Choose?

An Interview with Winona LaDuke

GFT: You live on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota, co-founded Honor the Earth, and are the founding director of the White Earth Land Recovery Project.

“My work at White Earth is largely around the question of how you build a sustainable and durable culturally-based economy in a rural community. I’m a rural development economist, actually, by training.

The work we’ve been doing over the past 20 years started with the issue of wild rice. We had a lot of battles similar to the battle in New Mexico over chile; the question of if any corporation, or in More >

What’s Going On? December 2010


Dec. 2, 6-9pm

Solar Drinks – NM Solar Energy Assn.

O’Neill’s Pub in Nob Hill

An opportunity for folks in the Albq. area to meet other community members who support solar energy. A relaxed social/networking event where you can speak with NMSEA members, solar industry members and neighbors. Speakers include NMSEA board members unveiling the latest updates from NMSEA. $20 donation. For additional info, contact Robert Nelson:

Dec. 8 Deadline

Home Solar System Raffle

$16,000 PV Solar System donated by Consolidated Solar Tech LLC. 2nd and 3rd prizes Energy Star appliances donated by Builders Source. Tickets are $25 or five for $100. Drawing on Dec. More >

Wastewater Treatment Plant Electricity Going Solar

On November 29th, Santa Fe Mayor David Coss and other officials cut the ribbon at the city’s new Wastewater Treatment Plant to introduce another energy-saving green initiative. The photovoltaic “solar farm,” anticipated to be fully operational by the first of the year, will save more than $45,000 in operating costs. The city will pay 6 cents per k/Wh from SunEdison over a 20-year term.

The $5 million facility will also reduce the yearly production of over 2,500 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, and save over one million gallons of water per year.

The solar farm is located on city airport land directly More >

Northern New Mexicans Share Agricultural Knowledge at Terra Madre 2010


Some of northern New Mexico’s most celebrated food activists attended the mother of all Slow Food events, Terra Madre 2010, in Torino, Italy in October. Terra Madre is an international forum that gathers sustainable food producers, farmers, cooks, educators and activists from around the world to share their stories and traditions, as well as innovative solutions for keeping small-scale agriculture and sustainable food production alive and well. The first Terra Madre conference took place in Torino in 2004. Every two years since then, Slow Food International has hosted the conference.

The Traditional Native American Farmers Association (TNAFA) sent four delegates, Clayton More >

Santa Fe High Takes Strong Strides To Go Green

By Emily Durham, Greta Miller, and Mercedes Downing

The Green Teams at Santa Fe High School are blooming beautifully, just like our gardens. We’ve grown to 250 students. Our teacher sponsors are Tammy Harkins, Polly Otero, Ty Middleton, Tracy Akers, Bret Bernard, Richard Curry, and Kevin O’Brien. The participants have already been working on a greenhouse along with gardens, murals and sending solar ovens to Third World countries. Besides working with the environment, we also promote social sustainability in our community. A group of Green Team students is working on a mural that depicts what we do and don’t want for More >

San Augustin Plains ‘Water Grab’ Proceedings Begin

Bruce Frederick, staff attorney of NM Environmental Law Center (NMELC) and lead counsel on the San Augustin Plains Ranch water rights application case attended a meeting on November 9th in Socorro, NM to finalize scheduling of the hearing with the State Engineer.

This was the first step in the proceeding where a New York-based company is seeking to pump 54,000 acre-feet of water annually from beneath the San Augustin Plains – the remains of a Pleistocene lake. The company has applied for the appropriation of the 54,000 acre-feet of water per year, enough to serve a city of 500,000.

The NMELC represents More >

International Conference on Integration and Distributed Energy Resources in Albuquerque

From December 6-10, renewable energy experts are gathering at the Hyatt Regency in Albuquerque to share knowledge, discuss new technologies, and just have some fun. Every two years the International Conference on Integration and Distributed Energy Resources is held. This year is the 4th such event.

The conference is being hosted by the independent nonprofit Electric Power Research Institute, along with Sandia National Laboratories, the U.S. Department of Energy, Natural Resources Canada, and Public Service Co. of New Mexico. New Mexico, with more than 300 days of sunshine a year and the Eastern plains with untold gigawatts of untapped wind resources, More >

“Prosperity Energy Storage” Project Launched in NM

New Mexico largest utility, Public Service Company of NM (PNM) has been awarded more that $2 million from the U.S. Dept. of Energy for a collaborative project with the University of New Mexico, Northern NM College and Sandia National Labs. The goal of the “Prosperity Energy Storage” project is to create a reliable distributed generation resource that will help utilities balance loads on a power grid, mitigating voltage fluctuations from solar or wind energy.

The project will include the installation of a utility scale lead-acid battery about the size of 8 shipping containers and a 500-kilowatt solar photovoltaic plant on the More >

USDA Awards Funds to Close the Gap in Rural Food Distribution

Improved delivery of food to rural communities main goal of project

Funding from USDA Rural Development Agency has been awarded to the Farm to Table non-profit organization to develop better strategies to deliver food to rural communities. The $142,382 Rural Community Development Grant will be used to pay for the creation of guidelines on cooperative development and management of food by small communities across the state.

Farm to Table will develop the guidelines to help address three major problems facing the delivery of food to small rural communities. These challenges include meat processing infrastructure, food safety, and food storage/transportation. The strategies are More >

Governor Richardson Announces First Renewable Energy Transmission Authority Bonds

Governor Bill Richardson and the New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority (RETA) Board of Directors have announced that it has issued its first $50 million worth of bonds to upgrade NM’s transmission system and foster clean energy growth.

The upgrade will bring 100 Megawatts of renewable wind energy across the Public Service Company of NM’s lines from the High Lonesome Mesa Wind Farm in Torrance County to the Arizona state line. The project is a collaborative effort with High Lonesome Mesa, LLC, a subsidiary of Edison Mission Energy.

“This project highlights New Mexico’s efforts to be the Clean Energy State by capitalizing More >

New Mexico Adopts the Country’s Most Comprehensive Greenhouse Gas Rules

Last month regulators in New Mexico approved a set of comprehensive greenhouse gas emissions reduction regulations that are more aggressive than any other such rules in the country. In a 4-3 vote, the NM Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) approved two sets of proposed global warming regulations: the first establishes rules for Greenhouse Gas Reporting and Verification and the other deals more specifically with Greenhouse Gas Cap-and-Trade regulations.

The moves from the EIB sets the framework for NM’s participation in the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), a consortium of seven Western states and four Canadian provinces working to reduce carbon emissions with a More >

New Report: Green Infrastructure for Southwestern Neighborhoods

Albuquerque Conference March 24-25

The Tuscon-based Watershed Management Group has released a new publication Green Infrastructure for Southwestern Neighborhoods, for anyone interested in or practicing Green Infrastructure (GI) in arid climates.

The 48 page document provides great examples of functional Green Infrastructure practices and includes a comprehensive explanation of GI, how it functions and its benefits; proper vegetation selection and mulching practices, GI retrofit design plans for parking lots, street applications and more.

The Watershed Management Group works on the promotion and advancement of GI in arid climates. For more information on their publications and upcoming trainings visit the website:

On March 24-25, More >

New Mexico Acequia Association Celebrates its 20th Anniversary

Quita Ortiz

The New Mexico Acequia Association celebrated its 20th anniversary at the annual Congreso de las Acequias on November 13th at the Santa Fe County Fairgrounds. The NMAA was founded in 1990 to build a united voice for New Mexico’s acequias. The Congreso is the statewide governing body of the NMAA, charged with passing resolutions that advise the organization’s strategic direction. This year’s event accommodated over 200 participants, made up of parciantes, comisionados, mayordomos, and acequia supporters including several elected officials – Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, Speaker Ben Lujan, Senator Tom Udall, Senator Carlos Cisneros and Commissioner of Public Lands More >