Archive for May, 2011

May 2011 Edition

SFCC Trades & Advanced Technology Center Opening, Low-Impact Living Finds a High-Style Home, Human Resilience, Adaptation, Transformation and Development, Resilience 2011: Navigating the Complexities of Global Change, Everyday Green: Less As More, Walking, Bicycling, Transit and Tourism, The Carbon Economy Workshop Series, Zero Wast e Communities, Community Groups / LANL Water Settlement, The Galisteo Wildway, Making the Connect ions: Creation Care and Community Networks, Let Us Honor “Pachamama”, Bioneers’ New Indigeneity Program, What Is Socially Responsible Investing? The Local Voice: Citibank Ow(n)es Me, Let’s Go to a Green Tea Party, Faren Dancer’s Green Talk, My Own Garden: Crop Rotation – More >

What is Socially Responsible Investing ?

Guy Le Sage

While the audience for Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) is growing, few people I have spoken to have a clear, comprehensive view of exactly what it is! Some call it ESG (environmental and social governance) investing; others call it Green or Sustainable. These are all synonymous terms for the same movement that exists within the greater global financial system. It allows investors the opportunity to invest with their values while providing competitive returns in relation to traditional Wall Street-type investments. To see how this is accomplished takes a brief trip back in time to the 1970’s and 80’s.

Back then More >

SFCC Hosts Grand Opening for Trades & Advanced Technology Center

Ceremony May 6 to include ribbon-cutting, solar demonstrations

Laura Mulry

Having a vision is something we all experience from time to time. Achieving that vision is quite another story. It takes leadership, commitment and a sense of responsibility to drive an idea to fruition. On Friday, May 6 at 2 p.m. on the campus of Santa Fe Community College, the public is invited to see a vision become reality as the college celebrates the official opening of its new Trades & Advanced Technology Center.

For SFCC President Sheila Ortego, the event marks a wish come true. “It has long been my dream – More >

Low-Impact Living Finds a High-Style Home

Sam Sterling

When Steve and Linda Hamlin decided to build their dream home on Albuquerque’s west side, they had one requirement – high style and low impact would have to learn to live together. The result is Escarpment House, where the two oft-time design opposites now happily cohabitate.

Perched above the Petroglyph National Monument, the Escarpment House enjoys uninterrupted views of the Sandia and Manzano mountains and the city below. And while the views from the site are scene stealers, the three-bedroom, two-bath house takes top billing as a model of efficiency.

“We spent a lot of time to make the most of More >

Human Resilience, Adaptation, Transformation and Development Reflections on the 2011 International Science and Policy Conference

Larry Glover

Will you and I, can humanity adapt fast enough to the great acceleration of change going on all about us so as to be capable of thriving in the new world now being born? This question haunted me as I attended the recent Resilience 2011: Navigating the Complexities of Global Change conference at Arizona State University in Tempe. This was the second such conference; in ‘08 it was held in Stockholm.

Hanging out with 700 or so of the top resiliency and sustainability scientists, researchers and practitioners from around the globe was an opportunity not to be missed by me. More >

Resilience 2011: Navigating the Complexities of Global Change

Resilience 2011: Navigating the Complexities of Global Change

Bette Booth

More than 700 people from 50 countries attended the Resilience 2011 conference to present, research and discuss the interrelationships among resilience, vulnerability in global economic and financial systems, resource degradation across the globe, and innovation and sustainability, especially in the face of impending climate change. Attendees included scientists, business owners, students and NGO representatives from countries as diverse as Nepal, Sierra Leone, Indonesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia. Conference sponsors were the Resilience Alliance, the Arizona State University School of Human Evolution and Change, the Global Institute of Sustainability and the School of Sustainability.

Keynote More >

USDA Working on Renewable Energy for Rural New Mexico

Terry Brunner

Rising oil prices and recent power outages due to inclement weather in New Mexico are reminders—America’s energy issues need to be addressed.

America holds only 2% of proven oil resources yet we consume about 25% of the world’s supply. Our dependence on traditional energy supplies puts us at risk from external trends and instability. However, by diversifying our energy portfolio, we can reduce our vulnerability and create a more secure energy future.

The United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development mission oversees loan guarantees, loans and grant programs intended to guide us towards a reliable energy future and help rural America More >

Renewable Energy Newsbites

Senator Udall Introduces Renewable Energy Legislation

Last month NM Senator Tom Udall and his cousin Colorado Senator Mark Udall introduced legislation that would establish a national renewable energy standard. Utilities would be required to generate 25 percent of their electricity from wind, solar or other renewable sources. The bill would start with a 6 percent requirement by 2013 with gradual increases to meet a 25 percent goal by 2025.

Tom Udall says he is committed to fighting for passage in the senate. “NM has lead the way with a 20% standard by 2021. As a result we are seeing dramatic increases in More >

Zero Waste Communities

Gary Liss

Local governments and communities large and small around the world are embracing Zero Waste as a key tool to meet their goals for addressing climate change. New Zealand is the first country to have adopted Zero Waste as a goal nationally.

In the U.S., California was the first state to adopt Zero Waste as one of eight goals in the 2001 Strategic Plan of the state’s Integrated Waste Management Board. Over 20 communities there are working to develop and implement plans to reach that goal.

The links between Zero Waste and climate change are significant. Solid wastes buried in landfills create More >

Community Groups Negotiate Clean Water Settlement with LANL

A coalition of community groups and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) has reached a final negotiated settlement agreement that resolves a three-year legal dispute over contaminated stormwater runoff emanating from the lab. The community groups were represented by the Taos-based Western Environmental Law Center.

The settlement requires LANL to capture and eliminate toxic runoff and provides for greater public participation and oversight. A new storm water discharge permit issued by the EPA as a result of the appeal is one of the most stringent in the U.S. It requires LANL to install pollution control measures, increase monitoring, capture, and in the More >

Let’s Go to a Green Tea Party!

Jack Loeffler

It’s time for a Green Tea Party to celebrate the incremental increase in environmental awareness that has gradually seeped into American culture over the last forty years or so. It’s also time to look around at what is really happening in this sadly bifurcated culture of ours. The political right is now forwarding the new apothegm: “Environmental laws are unfriendly to business.” What does this really suggest?

To me, this substantiates the obvious—namely that much of “business” as practiced here and far beyond is unfriendly to habitat, our sustaining biotic community. This is not to say that all business is More >

Faren Dancer’s Green Talk: We all need a little… Good News!

There seems to be a lot of discussion lately about how things are speeding up on Planet Earth; energies are intensifying with shorter intervals between memorable events, both personally and collectively. It’s becoming more apparent that thought and action creates corresponding outcomes, and because the boomerang effect appears to be coming back around more quickly, there’s a flicker of hope that an expanded awareness of how energy works may, eventually, move into the mass consciousness. In the meantime, it pays to remain optimistic even in the face of environmental catastrophe, personal hardship or a lessened sense of security.

Despite all the More >

Bioneers’ New Indigeneity Program

Cara McCoy

On April 22nd, in honor of Earth Day, Bioneers, a 21-year-old Santa Fe-based nonprofit organization dedicated to social and ecological justice issues, launched the formal roll-out of its Indigeneity Program.

Bioneers has long been deeply influenced by indigenous thinking. The new program increases the collaboration of indigenous leaders and organizations promoting biocultural diversity and a restorative approach to re-localization at the community and regional levels. To encourage people to learn to re-indigenize or become “Native to Place,” the Indigeneity program will create, nurture and facilitate meaningful alliances and cultural exchanges.

Indigenous peoples – keepers of the world’s “old-growth cultures” – can More >

The Galisteo Wildway

Jan-Willem Jansens

I have heard many people rave about the beauty of the Galisteo Basin. For those who are in on this public secret, it’s an enigmatic landscape with a treasure chest of hidden surprises ranging from stunning vistas, ever changing color schemes, jaw-dropping geologic features, a great diversity of wildland areas, and splendid cultural and historic resources. It is also ancestral homeland to thousands of Native people all over northern New Mexico.

While the land looks dry and barren at first, it hides a surprising number of springs, seeps, small wetlands, and even some perennial streams, which historically supported an important More >

New Mexico Wildways: A Vision for Wildlife Habitat Connectivity

New Mexico Wildways (NMW) was founded in 2009 to address the need for a coordinated, accelerated approach to protection and restoration of key wildlife linkages connecting existing protected areas, with an initial focus on the Galisteo Wildway — one of the most ecologically critical wildlife linkages in New Mexico. The resulting coalition has a streamlined strategy utilizing the diverse skills, capacity, and experience of each organization to expedite on-the-ground actions that support wildlife habitat connectivity.

NMW is working both regionally and statewide to advance the conservation of NM’s biodiversity. Each member organization provides specific expertise designed to enhance conservation through private More >

Everyday Green: Less As More

Susan Guyette

The great news: “green topics” are exploding in popular magazines, featuring products, ways of recycling and connecting to global planetary concerns. The caution: with the short American attention span, will we, as a nation, truly engage at a deep green level and shift or will “green” be a passing fad? At a personal level, each of us is considering where to “dig in” and shift. It may be easier than you think at first glance.

Finances are often a first consideration-– how to afford the better quality products when incomes are shrinking. Fear may be the first reaction; will we More >

Del Are llano: Let Us Honor “Pachamama”

Juan Estévan Arellano

April 18th passed in northern New Mexico without fanfare, being that it had been designated by UNESCO as “Patrimonio Cultural del Agua,” Día Internacional de los Monumentos y Sitios. However, the international day to celebrate the cultural patrimony of water was not the only special day last month dedicated to honor Mother Earth.

Across the world, Earth Day was also celebrated. Founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, it started as an environmental teach-in on April 22, 1970. In 1990 it took on an international flavor when it was celebrated by 141 nations. It is now celebrated in over 175 More >

My Own Garden – Crop Rotation: Planning for the Growing Season

Susan Waterman

Crop rotation, in its many aspects, is about growing your own organic fertilizer and building great soil at the same time. A complete garden plan will include crop rotation for more than one growing season (or more than one year) in each area of the garden. Crop rotation could be considered to be a type of companion planting over time, based on which plants are related – or not – according to their plant family (see GFT, July 2010). Plants of different families should follow each other season-to-season in the same location. For example, instead of following a crop More >

Making the Connections: Creation Care and Community Networks

Faith communities and environmental groups often seem to have little in common, but a weekend-long conference May 6-8 at the United Church of Santa Fe seeks to bridge that divide and mobilize both groups.

“Making the Connections: Creation Care and Community Networks” will feature Fletcher Harper of Greenfaith, an interfaith environmental coalition. An award-winning spiritual writer and nationally recognized preacher on the environment, Harper has developed a range of innovative programs. GreenFaith received the “Many Faiths One Earth Award” from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in 2009.

Since 1980, the United Church of Santa Fe has been a leader in environmental and More >

Citibank Ow(n)es Me

Vicki Pozzebon

“This call may be monitored or recorded to ensure quality service.” That’s what I hear every single time I call CitiMortgage (at last count I’ve dialed them 127 times since October) and every time I hear it I want to shout, “shouldn’t you have assured my service would be quality before you began processing all the wrong paperwork on my case and started foreclosure procedures?”

In the November GFT I wrote about my house for sale, the demise of the big banks, and how to shift our money to a local economy. Now, five months later, the Big Banks have More >