Sustainability does not need to come at the sacrifice of economic prosperity.

 

Imagine a place with decent jobs for all, a collaborative ethos and an economy that fosters community improvement. Businesses provide living wages so that all employees can afford to live in the communities where they work. Commercial activities address their social and environmental impacts along with generating reasonable financial returns. New markets arise that improve resource efficiency, repurpose waste and remediate environmental degradation.

 

Despite New Mexico’s rich cultures and hard-working entrepreneurial people, our standard of living statistics often evoke the refrain, “Thank goodness for Mississippi.” Among many examples: for per-capita personal income and child welfare, our state ranks 49th. Social issues—crime, homelessness and domestic violence—originate from inequality. Yet NM has a deep sense of place and belonging, foundational elements for strong community that can be leveraged so that local people can help one another.

 

Healthy, resilient communities begin at home—buying locally, investing in neighbors’ businesses and collaborating for win-wins. We can do better by taking what works elsewhere and applying it here, while embracing our culturally based local and regional initiatives. Clean, sustainable local economies that work for everyone foster prosperity. Living wages enable people to afford to live here and to buy more things and help local businesses. This virtuous circle, a rising tide, lifts all ships.

 

The articles in this edition of Green Fire Times share good ideas, spotlight bright initiatives and local companies making a difference—from bioenergy to recycling, entrepreneurship to B Corps to cultural economies. There are also articles that detail policy initiatives and things every individual can do on a daily basis that make a difference.

 

We have received such overwhelming response to our call for articles that we will carry over other aspects of the ‘Building a Sustainable Regional Economy’ theme into the April edition.

 

 

Seth Roffman,                Drew Tulchin,

Editor                             Guest Associate Editor

Green Fire Times           Social Enterprise Associates

 

 

 

 

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