Erin Sanborn

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. The Taos Thinks Local First Guide presents the stories of those who have been courageous enough to step onto the uneven stepping-stones of this path as they discover and apply best practices together.

Stories are powerful: They give meaning and context to what would otherwise be a collection of easily forgettable facts. Stories invoke the imagination so that listeners begin to own them almost as much as the teller. In fact, there’s a growing body of research that points to the power of narrative not just as a way to engage people, but as the only way to change deeply entrenched views.”

(Author)ity: The Importance of Storytelling – Simon Kelly, 2008

One thing we know for sure is that in nature, there is no waste, no “pollution.” Humans must align with this fundamental operating principle; we are not exempt from the laws of nature and do damage to ourselves and our planet by attempting to live against nature’s principles. To achieve a human world in which we do not eat, breathe or live in the pollutants we spew, we need a set of guiding principles. We can find these in organizations such as the Biomimicry Institute, Beyond Benign, CERES and many others. Sustainability operating principles guide each business and each sector as they become aware of them and strive for alignment. As such, the Taos Thinks Local First Guide provides information and practical tools for businesses to use in adopting greener, more sustainable practices.

Another aspect of the Taos Thinks Local First Guide is educational. Facts and statistics are interspersed within the pages intended to invoke either awe or that OMG feeling of, “I didn’t know that!” Current facts and statistics with the stories are meant to deepen the dialog at business meetings or around the kitchen table. Once each person realizes the immensity of pollution caused by what we use and consume, it is easy to become overwhelmed. Almost everything in our world we use is produced with some toxicity, lack of recyclability, extensive uses of energy, or in a non-renewable way. Dialog is one of the best practices that enables one to imagine a future where there is no pollution, where people and community are taken care of and nurtured, and wealth and abundance is something we all enjoy.

Finally, the Guide provides a directory of businesses committed to sustainable practices. We intend for it to become a reference to consumers and other businesses in choosing products, vendors, and services. The Taos Thinks Local First Guide will be published in the Spring 2012 on recycled newsprint with soy-based inks for those who enjoy the feel of a magazine in your hands. It will also be online at www.nmgreenchamber.com/chapters/taos . Enjoy reading!

Resources: http://biomimicryinstitute.org/, or http://www.beyondbenign.org/, or http://www.ceres.org/.

Erin Sanborn is the Executive Director of the Taos Green Chamber of Commerce, a chapter of the NM Green Chamber of Commerce. She also chairs the Food and Agriculture Council of Taos or the FACT. Her background is in International Conflict Resolution and Organization Development. You can contact her at erin@collaborativegreen.com or 575.770.2991.