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Archive for December, 2011
The Holiday season is upon us, with the barrage of advertising inducing us to buy, buy, buy! What’s a socially minded citizen to do to still enjoy the giving season while being sensitive to the Earth and community? We turn to Occupy Wall Street for potential clues.
Occupy, the people-powered movement, has spread to more than 1,500 cities globally. In New Mexico, people continue in tents in the Santa Fe Railyard—a salute to dedicated folks as the weather gets colder. As part of “the 99%,” Occupy encourages us to work collaboratively, bottom up, minimizing the role of big business More >
LocalSantaFe.com features products and services sourced and created in Santa Fe
Environmentally-conscious Santa Feans now have a new online business directory dedicated to reducing “product miles” and encouraging Santa Feans to buy locally. LocalSantaFe.com is being developed by a local web design and marketing company, Narasopa Media, LLC. The website defines “local” as created in Santa Fe, not just located there. Listings are provided only to those growing food, creating products or offering services locally.
Informative newsletters, blog posts and articles written for people concerned for the area’s economy and environment will also be part of the website. Local farmers, ranchers, artisans, service More >
UrbanSwipe.com is an independent online cooperative that brings together local independent small businesses and the people who support them. UrbanSwipe does not allow big box retailers or national chains to join. It is exclusively for independent businesses that have been approved by UrbanSwipe’s review board.
The site is like a local version of Groupon, only better, according to co-founder Eric Luján. Forty small businesses and thousands of Albuquerque shoppers are already using the site. “You pay the business directly so that they make the money instead of the website making the money,” said Luján. “And you don’t have to use a More >
As New Mexicans enter into the holiday shopping season, it’s tempting for us to chase the lowest price, even though it often means poorer quality and not made here. But if New Mexico is going to pull itself out of this recession, we need to support each other. The New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce believes that starts with buying from local, independent businesses.
Green Chamber chapters are conducting buy-local campaigns in ways that are as unique as their community. In Taos it’s a buy-local holiday party on December 1st, while Silver City holds a TamaleFest dedicated to local More >
During hard times, local and sustainable products and businesses may benefit
Supporting local businesses has become a way of life for many Americans. And independent restaurants—especially those that feature locally sourced, sustainable ingredients—stand to benefit from this trend, according to several recent studies.
A new survey from American Express Open found that 93 percent of consumers make it a priority to support local small businesses they value. Several factors seem to be at work here: hunkering down as a way to deal with a tough economy, a need to feel more like a community member, and a desire to make a difference.
Eight-nine More >
Surely by now you’ve heard me talk about local this, local that, eat local, go local, Yay! local, everything local, local, local. My friends are a little tired of it, even mocking me by sending me a cartoon of a couple witches on Halloween stirring up a big witches’ brew caldron with a quote that read: “I only use local children.” Ha-ha. Yes, I believe in local. And by now, you probably know why. Local is us: It’s you and me, and our economy. I do believe that local matters.
This year, the Santa Fe Alliance is taking a More >
The Taos Green Chamber unveiled a preview of the very first Taos Thinks Local First Guide at a Release Party on December 1st at KTAO Solar Center. The Guide is part business directory, part green information and education, and part biographical, as it presents the stories of businesses embracing, developing and investing in green, sustainable practices. By sharing stories from area businesses, we are cultivating our awareness of what “sustainability” really means to us, and how to align business and commerce with this new awareness. Words like “green” and “sustainability” evoke many, many thoughts, feelings and opinions these days. More >
USDA Funds Biofuel Project in New Mexico
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that USDA has issued a $54.5 million loan guarantee that will allow a biofuels firm to construct a facility in New Mexico to produce “green crude” oil from algae, which can be refined into transportation fuel. The project is intended to advance American efforts to provide renewable commercial-scale biofuels, increasing energy security and reducing dependence on foreign oil. It is expected that 60 jobs will be created near the community of Columbus, N.M. “This project represents another step in the effort to assist the nation’s advanced biofuel industry More >
Join the Unified Voice
The decades have passed with barely a whimper of civil disobedience. The media, far less controlled in those earlier times, brought the Vietnam War into everyone’s living room every evening at 6 and 11 pm. Journalists were allowed on the front lines, vivid images of the ugliness of war penetrated our psyche, and there was plenty of suffering to go around. It fanned the flames of the anti-war movement. Now it appears easier to accept the agony of war when the portrayal is glossed over with slick packaging, a video-game perspective of robotic weaponry allowing human targets More >
Jamelyn Ebelacker sat in front of her computer, using her mouse to fly over dry New Mexico terrain, stopping only when she saw the telltale sign of a pueblo dwelling. “That’s Puye, those are my ancestors’ homes,” said the 20-year-old from Santa Clara Pueblo. She zoomed into the Puye Cliff Dwellings, a circular pattern spread meticulously across the desert plateau, then zoomed out again in search of a nearby riverbed.
Ebelacker was one of nearly 20 young Native American students selected for a training this November by Google Earth Outreach on how to integrate mapping techniques into their film More >
A year after revitalizing Diné Biinanish Yá’át’éehgo Nooséél (Navajo Green Jobs), we held our first Community Green Awareness Day in Indian Wells, Ariz. on November 18, by partnering with the local Council Delegate, Navajo County Board of Supervisors, the chapters of Indian Wells, Dilkon, Teesto, Greasewood and Whitecone, as well as the Sierra Club and Black Mesa Water Coalition.
Why awareness? People in the communities still did not understand the term “green.” At one point, during a meeting, a community member stood up and asked if we could find another word for “green” because our people don’t know what More >
New Mexico, like many other states, is facing an exhausting set of environmental challenges. From excessive wildfires to habitat loss, the state needs educated conservationists and elected officials who are ready to tackle the issues at hand. Perhaps more importantly, the state needs to plant seeds of conservation in all of its diverse communities in order to create a populace devoted to a sustainable state in the future.
Two New Mexico organizations are taking the lead in helping to train the conservation leaders of the future with a project called the Green Schools Collaborative. With the help of their 2011 TogetherGreen Innovation More >
Sostenga comes from the Spanish word Sostener, which is a verb that Merriam Webster translates 1: to support, to hold up 2 : to hold : to hold a conversation <sostener una conversación 3 : to sustain, to maintain.
At Northern New Mexico College in Española, the ¡Sostenga! Center for Sustainable Food, Agriculture and Environment was established in the interest of preserving the natural heritage of northern New Mexico through hands-on learning and economic development ¡Sostenga! serves as a center for collaboration and research. As expressed in the indigenous metaphor “healthy environment, healthy people, healthy culture,” (Cajete, 1999) ¡Sostenga! supports projects that foster sustainable living based More >
“Getting the next generation of local farmers onto the land with the support they need to succeed.”
The Central New Mexico LandLink strives to “link” beginning farmers and ranchers with agricultural landowners and farm and ranch operators. By connecting landholders and experienced farmers with the next generation of farmers and ranchers, LandLink helps keep land in agricultural production, provides jobs and mentorship to new farmers, and helps maintain the state’s strong agricultural heritage and increase the production of local food.
Why might you be interested in LandLink? Perhaps you are a gardener looking to scale-up your production, or an aspiring farmer More >
One of the first steps toward actualizing food security might be an appreciation of one’s “foodshed.” The foodshed relates a person’s food source, kind of like a watershed defines a person’s water source. But where a person’s water source is likely bound to the watershed in which they reside, a person’s food source and foodshed can be anywhere in the world. The concept of the foodshed is then useful toward understanding our relationship with food in general. We can then tighten-up our foodshed by eating more locally. The concept of the foodshed also opens the door to many More >
Right now the 2012 Farm Bill, which I will refer to as the Food Bill, is under negotiation. Everyone that eats has a vested interest in the Food Bill. Why? Because you want to know where your food, your children’s and grandchildren’s food, comes from, and how it is grown. There have been years of discussion as to how the Food Bill impacts all of the citizens of the world, the U.S. in particular. The 2012 Food Bill is a hugely important piece of legislation, evidenced in part by its size: with a budget of $288 billion, the More >
Time for Creative Thinking: Designing an Edible Landscape Juan Estevan Arellano
Though we had a very dry summer, the wonderful October rains and summer-like temperatures simply reminded us that winter was right around the corner. And with winter comes the time to reflect on the past year’s accomplishments and failures, and also a time to think about the future.
As we look through the 2012 seed and nursery catalogs, though our bodies might still be sore from this past season’s work, our minds start to nudge us to start planning for the new year.
Recently in this publication, I wrote that in the More >
A part of each garden is the story it tells. No matter its size, an urban garden will inevitably tell its own special story. Gardens— artistic gardens, secret gardens, well-crafted gardens and “just plain” food gardens— have been a part of human life throughout our history. But really, is any garden “just plain?” It seems not, once a human hand has turned the soil. Every garden tells a story of place and purpose. A long time ago, a well-known couple, Adam and Eve, had a private garden that still tells a story around a shiny red apple from More >
The Fight Over NM’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Law
On November 18, the nonprofit New Energy Economy filed Entries of Appearance on behalf of numerous organizations that will testify in support of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Law at upcoming hearings before New Mexico’s Environment Improvement Board (EIB). The EIB is considering a repeal from PNM and the oil and gas industries to reverse the law.
The law’s proponents say that the most up-to-date climate science tells us that we must break our dependence on fossil fuels and transition rapidly to renewable energy if we hope to avoid the most catastrophic effects of More >
Planning on dying anytime soon? Well, you should be, because it’s the one thing in this world that is guaranteed to happen for you. And if you plan to stay here in New Mexico, your remains may become a permanent landmark within the Land of Enchantment. Before you go six feet under, there are a few things to learn about those who have preceded you, because as unique as our state may be, so too is the history of the burial sites of New Mexicans. Just because you are buried in a legitimate cemetery may not mean you More >