April 2010

April 2010 Edition

The 2010 April edition of Green Fire Times includes the following articles:  Kidnapped by the House, A Call for Holistic Climate Policy, The NM Emissions Cap Petition, Excerpted Testimony of Paul R. Epstein, A Clear Alternative to Cap and Trade, Earth Works Institute Community Projects, Be Dense: Embracing Urban Green, Homebuilders – Remodelers – International Green Ideas Show, Not on Price Alone, What are Green Building Materials?, Solar Rights 2010, Solar Inverter Wars, Report from the Global New Energy Summit, Dreaming New Mexico – Agrifood Facts, Agricultural Collaborative Keeps it Local, An Agrarian Primer for the 21st. Century, Build a More >

A Call for Holistic Climate Policy

Leland Lehrman This cartoon, from the front cover of the February 2010 issue of Funny Times, describes the Fund Balance position with respect to Climate Change. We acknowledge that there remains uncertainty in the scientific community about the extent to which anthropogenic CO2 emissions drive global temperature increases. We also regret the polarization of the discussion and the slide into judgmental invective that has accompanied the debate on both sides. However, we cannot deny the observation that modern mankind does have adverse macroimpacts on the environment. The evidence on this subject is not open to question. From the Pacific Garbage More >

Solar Inverter Wars: Sunnyboys vs. The Micros

John Gwynn

Not infrequently one of my many dear friends will tell me, “You’re toast man. They’re selling do-it-yourself solar systems at Lowe’s. Who’s going to pay you to plug something in?” Okay, thank you for that…but plugs can be tricky.

Then there’s my buddy at Bandwagon Solar (formerly Bandwagon Oil Shale PC) who lured me onto one of his roof installs, where we basked in mid-afternoon shade. “Darkness at noon. This is going to give you trouble,” says I, because photovoltaic (PV) solar modules need sun like a tanorexic. His smile alone was almost enough to fire up one of his More >

Homebuilders, Remodelers and Green Ideas Showcase

The Latest in Environmentally Friendly Products, Services and Concepts

April 9-11, Albuquerque Convention Center

Ask a NM homeowner why he or she loves living in their home state, and you may get any number of responses. However, one key reason the Land of Enchantment is such an enchanting place to live has to do with the variety of ways New Mexicans care for their homes and natural environment. The Homebuilders, Remodelers and Green Ideas Showcase will offer dozens of practical ideas.

Show producer Rick Shoudt has secured experts in every aspect of green living to provide New Mexicans with the most current products More >

What Are Green Building Materials?

Cathy Kumar

Environmentally favored or “green” building materials are available in all shades of green. Some products will incorporate one environmental aspect, while others can encompass many. Additionally, while a product may be green in itself, if used incorrectly, it could produce undesirable results. Used correctly, however, green products can make a good building great.

Look for products certified by a third party to help avoid “greenwashed” products. Environmental Building News (www.buildinggreen.com) produces the GreenSpec Directory – updated with more stringent guidelines as more knowledge and products become available. It is an excellent resource. Following are the criteria set forth by those More >

My Own Garden – Get Growing

Susan Waterman

Days are getting longer and temperatures warmer, along with the robins signaling that it’s high time to begin growing your food for the seasons to come. How do you know what to plant? First, simply consider what you like to eat and what you want to grow! Hopefully this little primer will help you “get growing” with the spring garden, especially if you haven’t started already or if you’re new at the fun of growing your own delicious fresh food. If this happens to be the year for a first-time garden, and you’re wondering what location will be best More >

Excerpted Testimony Of Paul R. Epstein, M.D., M.P.H. – March 1, 2010



Excerpted Testimony Of Paul R. Epstein, M.D., M.P.H. – March 1, 2010


A. Paul R. Epstein, M.D., M.P.H. I am the Associate Director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School and a medical doctor trained in tropical public health. I graduated from Cornell University with a BA in More >

Earth Works Institute Climate Change and Community Projects 2010 Forecast

Dana Richards

Erich Fromm said it as well as anyone in his ever relevant book The Sane Society: if we don’t have adequate inner and outer tools to create, we destroy instead. A hundred years earlier, Emerson looked around at the destruction of the first Industrial Revolution and described the shadow-side of our unfulfilled creative needs as “proof of our divinity, but the fig-leaf with which the shamed soul attempts to hide its nakedness.”

One of the hardest parts of my job is saying no to dozens of young adults each year as we hire for our 4C climate change crews. Each More >

Farm Facts – Food Systems Out of Balance

“Communities everywhere were once intensively focused in their agriculture: It was the source of livelihood for a majority of residents, either directly as producers, or as provisionary of supplies, livestock, distributors, brokers and shipments.

We have now raised a generation or two of children many of whom have no idea where their food comes from and who have never visited a producing farm or livestock operation. Ignorance of the basic activity essential to all civilization seems supremely dangerous.”

– Stanley Crawford, farmer, former director of the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market, author

Farm facts

• Number of farms: 20,930, a growth of over 35% since More >

A Clear Alternative to Cap and Trade – A System Designed to Benefit Main Street, not Wall Street

Ryan Shaening Pokrasso

Despite setbacks from a couple leaked emails taken out of context and called “Climategate,” the science behind climate change is consistent, and tells us that we must reduce emissions rapidly to avoid the catastrophic impacts of climate change.

Tackling climate change offers the opportunity to jump-start our economy and create jobs for those that need them, but only if we set up a system that works. As of now, there are two very different proposals for how to address climate change at the federal level: cap-and-trade and cap-and-dividend.

Cap-and-Trade: The idea behind cap-and-trade is to create a complex market system More >

An Agrarian Primer for the 21st Century

Globally, one in six of us is urgently hungry or starving, according to the U.N. Yet obesity afflicts two-thirds of Americans and costs $147 billion in annual medical bills, Time Magazine reports. Industrial agriculture produces cheap food but erodes soil, poisons the environment with chemical inputs, and consumes 19% of U.S. fossil fuels. Peak oil, climate change, and wobbling economies further jeopardize our ability to feed ourselves.

The Call of the Land, a new book by journalist Steven McFadden, joins a growing chorus voicing a revised vision for food and agriculture. Picking up where Food Inc., the recent documentary on industrial More >

“Kidnapped by the House” – Affordable Housing, Land, and the Green Imperative – Part 1

Rebekah Zablud Azen

The ostensible purpose of this series of articles is to provide a clear road map through which a person of whatever means can obtain sufficient and adequate housing that is:

  • truly affordable for this generation and all future generations, freeing us from a lifetime of servitude
  • self-sufficient in supplying all of our essential needs, disconnected from typical “life support systems”
  • environmentally sound, neither extracting precious resources nor polluting the earth.

There are many other important benefits to this approach that can positively impact the individual and the society, but more importantly, there are profound implications for our future that will be discussed More >

Be Dense: Embracing Urban Green