Archive for March, 2011

March 2011 Edition

Dreaming New Mexico: Food Security—Good Food, Enough Food, Del Are Llano: There Is No Food Security Without Acequia Security,Food and Water Insecurity – State of Southwestern Foodsheds,Fresh AIRE : Can Genetic Engineering Coexist with Traditional Agriculture?, Alternative Capital for Local Foodsheds, Everyday Green: The CSA,New Mexico’s Deadly Eating Habits, Immigrant Day of Action / 1,000 Women March,Breathing In Life Forces with Biodynamics, The Arctic Is Melting and Deserts Are Burning, Faren Dancer’s Green Talk, Building a Worldwide Green Economy, Newsbites, The Local Voice: Lights, Camera, Local Economy! What’s Going On! Download March 2011 Edition View March Edition Online

What’s Going On – March 2011


March 2

U.S. Green Building Council-NM Luncheon

MCM Elegante Hotel, 2020 Menaul NE

“LEED certification from the GECI perspective” presented by Melanie Dubin of the Green Building Certification Institute. A behind the scenes picture of the process. 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 services and products. Members are encouraged to log on and update their profile with more complete information.

March 4

Recycling Festival for kids

Hispanic Cultural Center

Sponsored by Roots More >

Lights, Camera, Local Economy!

Vicki Pozzebon

Scene opens. Mid-November. A movie crew is set up on Rabbit Road; catering trucks, tents, generators are all lined up. The cast is dancing from foot to foot to keep warm. The crew is busy answering radio calls. A cell phone rings.

Man’s Voice: Was that Richard Gere directing traffic through our railroad crossing?

Me: Yes.

Man’s Voice: How much did they pay us?

Me: About $14,000 dollars.

Man’s Voice: Carry on.

This was the conversation I had on a frigid November morning in 2005 when, as the Marketing and PR Director for the Santa Fe Southern Railway, I worked with “The Flock,” a Richard More >

The Arctic Is Melting and Deserts Are Burning

Impacts Globally and Locally

Earl James

The world is getting smaller. We’ve heard that for decades now, referring to the increased speed of travel and the instantaneous nature of global communications: Witness the Egyptian revolution playing out worldwide via live internet streaming from a news service based in Doha.

But I’m referring to another revolutionary phenomenon, the slow awakening of the human species to our total interdependence when it comes to maintaining a livable and sustainable climate. Even though this awareness of our smallness has dawned too slowly for species already gone extinct, it still has the potential to draw us humans together More >

My Own Garden – Breathing In Life Forces With Biodynamics

Susan Waterman

The Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association says: “Biodynamics is a type of organic farming that incorporates an understanding of ‘dynamic forces’ in nature not yet fully understood by science. By working creatively with these subtle energies, farmers and gardeners are able to significantly enhance the health of their farms and the quality and flavor of food.” Biodynamics is used globally, and has won wide recognition for “rescuing” the livelihoods of farmers in India, where so many have faced devastation from the unfortunate prescribed use of GMO (genetically modified organism) seeds. A talented garden designer, Maggie Lee of Santa Fe More >

USDA Rural Development Grants for Small Businesses

Applications are being accepted though April 1st for the USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program. The program is available to public bodies, nonprofits and Indian tribes to finance development of small and emerging private businesses in communities of up to 50,000 in population. Terry Brunner, State Director for USDA Rural Development in NM said, “The RBEG program helps the community make investments in activities that will ultimately create jobs, increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life.”

Grant funds may finance any private business that will employ 50 or fewer new employees and has less than $1 million in More >

$1 Million Grant Award to Rocky Mountain Youth Corps

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation will fund the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps for the next three years with a $988,409 grant. The funds will be used for year-round activities in a large area of Taos County as well as parts of Río Arriba, Mora and Colfax counties.

RMYC, based in Taos, provides young people ages 16-25 with “employment experiences that foster personal growth and leadership, job skills, healthy decision making and community involvement.” Most participants are Hispanic or American Indian. “Team service” projects have included things such as thinning forests, building parks and trails, restoring habitat, mentoring students, and planting community gardens. More >

PNM Solar Access Fee Withdrawn

A “solar access” fee in a rate hike proposal filed with state regulators has been withdrawn by the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM). The fee would have been damaging to the solar industry according to critics. The filing asked for an 8-cent-per-kilowatt-hour charge on new grid-interconnected customer solar photovoltaic systems installed after new rates take effect.

Solar advocates turned out at a Public Regulation Commission hearing to oppose the fee. They said it would negate the credit incentives people receive when installing small solar systems. PNM asserted that the fee would provide a customer’s share of the required investment More >

New Mexico’s Deadly Eating Habits

According to the financial news and opinion website 24/7 Wall Street, New Mexico is number 10 of “Ten States with the Deadliest Eating Habits.”

24/7 looked at some of the factors that cause unhealthy diets and resulting obesity. These include income, access to healthy food sources, the ability to pay for healthy food, the concentration of fast food outlets, and the consumption of fruits, vegetables, sugar, fat, and soft drinks.

Some of this information came from the international general medical journal Lancet. Lancet reported that Body Mass Index (BMI), a recognized measurement of obesity, is higher on average in America than in More >

Sierra Club Succeeds in Effort to Implement NM Building Codes

The Sierra Club has succeeded in its effort to ensure new building codes were published in the NM State Register. The grassroots organization had filed a legal challenge after Governor Susana Martinez attempted to halt publication of the codes, which were developed by builders, code officials, product suppliers, efficiency advocates and concerned citizens during a yearlong process, and adopted by the NM Construction Industries Commission in 2010.

Under state statute, all jurisdictions are now under the effect of the law. The codes include increased energy efficiency measures designed to facilitate smarter energy use. “These codes will save New Mexicans money, slow More >

CO2 Output in NM Ranked

According to a new report from the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), New Mexico has the 30th-worst level of carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution from electric coal-fired power plant generators among the 50 states and Washington, D.C. New Mexico’s CO2 emissions equaled 32.7 million mass tons in 2010. The state’s biggest emitter of CO2 is the Four Corners Power Plant.

Created in 2002 by former Environmental Protection Agency enforcement attorneys to advocate for effective enforcement of environmental laws, the EIP based its report on data from the EPA’s “Clean Air Markets” website.

Power plant emissions in the U.S. rose 5.56 percent from 2009 to More >

Building a Worldwide Green Economy

UN Report Advocates Sustainable Public Policy and Investment Path

Challenging the myth of a trade-off between environmental investments and economic growth, a UN report released late last month, says that investing two percent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) could transition the planet from a “brown,” unsustainable economy to one that is both low-carbon and resource efficient. Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication claims that this would create new cleantech industries, boost jobs, cut down on CO2 emissions, and increase energy efficiency savings.

According to the report, the world currently spends between one and two per More >

150MW Concentrating Solar Plant Approved in Arizona

A U.S. developer of utility-scale solar power projects, SolarReserve, has received its final Certificates of Environmental Compatibility from the Arizona Corporation Commission for its 150 megawatt Crossroads Solar Energy Project. The approval includes the transmission line connecting the project to Arizona Public Service’s grid.

Located on privately owned land west of Gila Bend in Maricopa County, the project will supply approximately 450,000 megawatt hours annually of electricity to Arizona – enough to power up to 100,000 homes.

It will utilize advanced molten salt, power tower technology providing the ability to store 10 hours of solar energy and generate electricity on demand, even More >

Can Genetic Engineering Coexist with Traditional Agriculture?

Miguel Santistevan

I remember the first time I heard about genetic engineering. It was sometime in the mid-1990s and I was listening to AM radio in the middle of the night. The show was about a genetically engineered tomato that was supposed to be superior for harvesting, processing and transport. Even though I had been farming for a few years, I did not grow tomatoes, and did not realize the implications of genetic engineering from the standpoint of my undergraduate biological mind. Later, when I moved to Davis, California, I think I saw one of those tomatoes bounce across the highway More >

Kiss Me – I’m Green and Local

Make March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, a Real “Local is Green” Day

St. Patrick’s Day is traditionally about eating green, drinking green and wearing green. And this year, Green Fire Times, the Santa Fe Alliance and several other organizations are asking Santa Feans to celebrate by buying green as well, and committing to making only local purchases within a 100-mile radius of Santa Fe.

While we think this should be an integral part of our everyday lifestyle, we understand that there may be occasional purchases of things such as imported drinks or Dutch Gouda. Not today, my green friends, not today. Let’s More >

Statewide Immigrant Day of Action

On February 2nd, hundreds of immigrants and allies from throughout New Mexico traveled to Santa Fe to protest anti-immigrant proposals. Churches and community groups organized for months to participate in the event with the specific objectives of protecting immigrants’ drivers’ licenses, ensuring that immigrant youth can continue to have access to higher education, and to demonstrate the immigrant community’s strength and dignity. The demonstrators also claimed that the proposed bills would reverse the gains NM has made in public safety and the integration of immigrant families. After a march from the Santa Fe Railyard to the state Capitol, they visited More >

Faren Dancer’s Green Talk

Faren Dancer

I was tempted to entitle this month’s column…The Roundhouse Roundup, as the 60-day New Mexico Legislative session is reaching its crescendo. That catchy alliteration aside, this has been the most intense session in recent memory. Right out of the gate with Governor Martinez’ nomination for NM Department of Energy and Minerals, Harrison Schmitt, this session has been brimming with controversy, divisiveness, a level of polarization rarely seen, plus the latest trendy exercise scripted by the Governor, the drawing of lines in the sand. Many of us breathed a major sigh of relief when Schmitt unexpectedly declined his background check. More >

Food and Water Insecurity Revealed by State of Southwestern Foodsheds

Gary Nabhan

Released February 5, The State of Southwestern Foodsheds is the first assessment of the health and well-being of food systems in the borderlands states. It emerged out of workshops with farmers, ranchers, food bank professionals, gardeners, scholars, restaurateurs and others affiliated with the Sabores Sin Fronteras/Flavors Without Borders Foodways Alliance based at the University of Arizona Southwest Center.

Among its findings:

1. The innovations in the food systems of Arizona and New Mexico can be compared for the last decade (2000-2010) to understand how these advances affect the otherwise deteriorating environmental, economic and nutritional health of borderlands residents. By discerning where More >

Film & Media Day a Great Success

Thousands of New Mexicans attended Film & Media Day at the state capitol on Feb 16th. In addition to multiple symposiums on all aspects of the film & multimedia business, there were casting calls for several major film & TV projects.

The film business, one of the fastest growing industries in the state, is by nature a sustainable industry that does not require permanent infrastructures to create jobs. The NM film community has adopted “shooting it green” as its mantra. Several aspects of that commitment were on display, including the latest venture from activist Holly Roach – locally sourced biodiesel.

More >

Dreaming New Mexico: Food Security – Good Food, Enough Food

An Age of Local Foodsheds & a Fair Trade State

A Multiple-Part Series

Project Co-Directors: Kenney Ausubel and Peter Warshall

Production Writing, Research: Peter Warshall and Arty Mangan

Project Coordinator: Nikki Spangenburg

NEW MEXICO has a chronically high poverty rate, usually one of the nation’s bottom three states. In 2006, the NM Association of Food Banks provided emergency food for an estimated 237,900 different people. Approximately 35,800 individuals receive emergency food assistance in any given week. The situation appears to be worsening. NM is 49th in child food insecurity — about one quarter of the state’s children (120,000) are not sure of their next meal. More >