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Archive for January, 2011
Adapting for A Changing World, NM Board Approves State Program to Reduce Carbon Pollution, 2011 NM Legislative Session Environmental Issues Preview, EPA Proposes Greenhouse Gas Reductions, Water Heist in the Plains of San Augustín,Water Newsbites, Solar Energy Zones Planned for Western States, Solar Newsbites, Dreaming NM – Local Foodsheds, Local Value Chains, Sustainable Environmental Food Systems Program at UNM, The Cooperative Development Center of New Mexico, Understanding “Cooperación”, Sustainable Land Tenure in Chimayó, My Own Garden: Wintertime Watering, Capture the Moving Picture Industry, Green Filmmaking is a Verb, The Local Voice: The Fight for a Local Economy, Everyday Green: Natural More >
Susan Guyette, Ph.D. The first of the year tends to be a time of big promises, especially to ourselves. Whether you are one of the 60% of overweight Americans or simply want to maintain optimal health, a shift to a regenerative eating style can bring immense quality to life. A focus on natural, fresh foods can take weight off, keep it off, bring you maximum energy levels, a minimum of illness and save you money.
Bombarded with confusing information fueled by the “weight loss industry,” the focus on a “buy a new product for instant results” approach costs Americans $121 billion annually More >
Recently during a quiet stroll around the extraordinary hillside of a gardener friend of mine, she commented that our crisp blue skies and sunny, dry New Mexico winter sure make for good living and happy smiles…and isn’t it so true! “But what about our plants?” she asked. Our summer watering routine (mostly with harvested rain) had been once weekly for everything, and more frequently for veggies.
It’s most important to remember in our high desert climate – it’s crucial – perennials, shrubs and trees need to be watered in the winter. Watering in a dry winter IS absolutely essential for More >
US Green Building Council-NM Luncheon
MCM Elegante Hotel, 2020 Menaul NE.
An update from the Technical Advisory Committee on 2010 LEED projects and a presentation of the UNM student case study of the LEED Gold Certified Barcelona Elementary School. Also, a couple of perspectives on the recent GreenBuild conference in Chicago, and a preview of the 2011 legislative session. Emerging Professionals: $18, Members: $25, Non-Member: $30 Open to the public. Pay in advance with PayPal at
USGBC-NM Membership Directory
As a service to members and the general public, the USGBC-NM has launched a new Membership Directory to help members promote their services and products. More >
Study Says US Southwest could see 60-year Drought A group of researchers have released “A 1,200-year perspective of 21st century drought in the southwestern North America” in the December 13 online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. The study says “Increasing human appropriation of freshwater resources presents a tangible limit to the sustainability of cities, agriculture, and ecosystems in the western United States.”
A worst-case scenario shows that the American Southwest could experience a 60-year stretch of heat and drought unseen since the 12th century. University researchers studied temperature changes and droughts in the region over the More >
On November 30, the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission voted 7-3 to approve a Richardson administration proposal to give the highest level of protection under state law to more than 700 miles of rivers and streams, more than two dozen lakes and thousands of acres of wetlands in U.S. Forest Service wilderness areas in NM. It is one of the single largest designations in the history of the Clean Water Act. The designations join the only others in the state: the Río Santa Barbara and the waters of the Valle Vidal.
Governor Richardson had been pushing for the “Outstanding National More >
The Plains of San Augustin—a vast graben that spans the Continental Divide, a grassland surrounded by pine-forested mountains, was once a great lake whose waters disappeared at the end of the Pleistocene, the last ice age that ended around 12,000 years ago when mammoths, dire wolves, and even horses that had roamed the Southwest for millennia were slowly chased into extinction by climate change and early human hunters.
Within today’s ephemeral geopolitical context, the Plains of San Augustin are contained within western Socorro and eastern Catron Counties of southwestern New Mexico. Near the south end of this enormous dry lakebed, More >
Raise your hand if you’ve ever been arrested. No? Me neither. Ok, well almost. I was in eleventh grade, an award winning, budding young writer, inspired by a high school teacher who was pursuing his master’s degree in history and happy to encourage students to speak for ourselves and stand up for our rights. So when our administration decided to cut back our two forty-minute lunch periods, condense our in-between-class breaks, and make 1200 students have one one-hour lunch break, I rallied. Actually someone else rallied first and started a petition to get student support. My small circle of More >
American Capital Energy (A.C.E.) and PPCSolar (dba Paradise Power Company) have inaugurated a 200-kw photovoltaic solar installation at the Thornburg Commercial Building in Santa Fe, home of the Thornburg Investment Management Company.
The office building was awarded a “Gold” certification in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) rating system in 2009. A.C.E., headquartered in Massachusetts with an office in Santa Fe, developed, engineered, and managed the project. PPCSolar, of Taos, installed the array.
This installation consists of 840 235-watt Yingli polycrystalline modules and an Advanced Energy Solaron 250 inverter, and is a roof mount bi-polar system. More >
Cultivation of irrigated land in the beautiful high-desert oasis of Chimayo has been intense for several centuries. By 1625 it was well known in the Spanish Crown for its agricultural bounty and through the present it still enjoys a reputation for its signature crop, the native Chimayo chile strains. The Chimayo valley is a genuine oasis, which was extended from three high mountain streams — the Rio Quemado, Rio En Medio and Rio Frijoles — by an extensive man-made system of 16 autonomous acequias, which now collectively irrigate about 1,100 acres. Among others, the main Hispano families that have continuously owned and More >
The University of New Mexico Sustainability Studies Program has received a $1.5 million grant for an endowed chair in sustainable environmental food systems and $150,000 in start-up funds from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The endowment will support education that increases the well-being of students and citizens by advancing environmental science and social equity applied to the development of local food systems.
According Bruce Milne, the new chair-holder and director of the Sustainability Studies Program, this project puts students on career paths to provide the community with organic, local food, green buildings, urban farms, clean energy, better nutrition and better health. Students More >
Many New Mexico solar firms are reporting dramatic growth despite the nation’s slow economy.
Affordable Solar Group LLC’s commercial and institutional business is growing fast. The company has completed a 1-megawatt array at The Bell Group in Albuquerque, and has 10-megawatts of projects planned.
Alamogordo Environmental Study for Solar Plant
The city of Alamogordo in southern NM will pay nearly $25,000 for an environmental study on 60 acres it wants to sell to PNM for a proposed solar plant. Since the land is near the airport, the Federal Aviation Administration must approve the deal and the agency requires the environmental assessment. Construction More >
There have been significant gains for protection of communities and the environment in New Mexico during the past eight years. Based on statements made by Governor-elect Susana Martinez during her campaign and statements by industry groups, it is clear that many of those gains will be under attack during the 2011 legislative session that begins on January 18th. The following are some of the most important issues that may be considered during the session.
The New Mexico Environmental Law Center, New Energy Economy and other groups have worked for several years to persuade the State Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) More >
Next Step in Nation’s March toward Renewable Energy Future
On December 16, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced a comprehensive environmental analysis that has identified two dozen potential ‘solar energy zones’ on public lands in six western states most suitable for environmentally sound, utility-scale solar energy production.
The detailed study, known as the Draft Solar Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS), was compiled over the past two years as part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to create a framework for developing renewable energy. The public is encouraged to provide comment on the draft plan.
“This proposal lays More >
GREEN FILMMAKING (verb); the act of reducing carbon usage in production through proven and shared environmental practices
More than anything, green filmmaking is a very practical set of tasks carried out by a production in every department, utilizing the greenest possible options available within the given budget. As a philosophy, green filmmaking is like any other green business model. We think about the origin and the end life of the products and equipment we put into play. We reduce, renew, reuse, recycle and repurpose.
In a larger sense, green filmmaking can also be defined as a movement of shared knowledge in More >
Goodwill Industries of New Mexico’s computer recycling program – in partnership with Dell – has been very successful, keeping 73,684 pounds of “e-waste” out of NM’s landfills in October 2010 alone. Since the program’s inception in June 2009 through November, GINM took in over 638 tons of donated computer equipment.
Goodwill joined forces with the Dell Reconnect Program in this free drop-off program for consumers who want to responsibly recycle unwanted computer equipment. Consumers can drop off any brand of used equipment, in any condition, at the ten Goodwill donation centers statewide and request a donation receipt for tax purposes.
All More >
Juan Estevan Arellano
Though winter has barely began, my thoughts are already running rampant as to what needs to be done in preparation for another growing season. As an acequia commissioner for the Acequia Junta y Ciénaga in Embudo, the last major acequia to draw water from the south side of the Río Embudo, I am thinking of the work needed to get the acequia ready to carry the water necessary to irrigate 80 acres.
There are ten acequias that draw water in the Lower Embudo Watershed from the Río Embudo, a tributary of the Río Grande, aka Río Bravo del Norte. More >
Proponents say measure will strengthen state’s economy, create jobs
On December 6 the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) voted to adopt a petition from the nonprofit New Energy Economy (NEE), creating a new state carbon pollution reduction program. The new state pollution limit, approved by a 4-1 vote, will require the state’s largest polluters to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 3 percent per year from 2010 levels, starting in 2013. The emission cuts would put New Mexico in a league with California among states with the most stringent controls on greenhouse gases. The approval is the culmination of More >
Local Foodsheds / Local Value Chains
From the Dreaming New Mexico Project
Project Co-Directors: Kenny Ausubel and Peter Warshall
Production, Writing, Research: Peter Warshall and Arty Mangan
Project Coordinator: Nikki Spangenburg
Many more Americans are purchasing local foods. The mushrooming movement of locavores has initiated changes in demand, growing, processing, distributing, financing and selling food. Many consumers are looking not only for the lowest priced food but also for the best value. In many ways, consumers are finding that local food, even if it’s nominally pricier, delivers food with better value.
Among the values of buying local are:
• The food is fresher, healthier and better tasting.
• More >
Edited by Nina Simons with Anneke Campbell, Foreword by Terry Tempest Williams
Moonrise is as spectacular as a Harvest Moonrise. It soars large into the sky, gathering with it the visions, dreams and actions of a collective of true visionaries; setting the readership into a distinctively uplifting and edifying journey into the solutions being bantered about by some of this earth’s greatest minds and hearts. Moonrise cleverly and systematically creates an arch of comprehension, sensitization, and yes, illumination onto the pressing social and environmental issues of the day and beyond. Nina Simons, cofounder of the legendary Bioneers organization, has amassed a More >