December 2012

Editor’s Note – December 2012 Edition


As author and “aural historian” Jack Loeffler says in his LUCA’s Dream article in this edition of Green Fire Times, “We who reside in the landscape presently known as New Mexico live in a state of grace. Biodiversity and cultural diversity abound. Indigenous mind, scientific mind, artistic mind, musical mind, sustainable mind, conscious mind live in overlapping cultures of practice that invigorate a level of cognitive diversity unique on our planet… We are presently the keystone species,” Loeffler says. “But for how long?”


And so, with all the interest and anxiety around the rumors that the world will end on Dec. 21, More >

Wisdom from the Origins: The Mayan Calendar and the Future of Humanity


Glenn Aparicio Parry

December 21st, 2012 is the end of time—the end of the world! But then again, it may only be the beginning of the next world—or the next cycle. Which is correct? Are we in the end times as prophesized by certain religious beliefs— or are we at the precipice of a new age—a golden age of peace and harmony? One thing is for certain: with a rash of weather events such as hurricanes Sandy and Katrina, the tsunamis in Japan and Indonesia, and political turmoil all over the world, something is shifting—even if we don’t know what More >

Birthing a New Era


On Dec. 22, 2012, millions of people around the world are expected to take part in a rite of passage marking the end of a 26,000-year cycle reflected in the prophecies and calendars of many spiritual and Indigenous traditions. They will celebrate the birth of a new era for humanity—“day one” of a planetary shift into a solution-oriented sustainable future. They believe that this event will lead to innovative social and technological efforts in 2013 focused on positive change.

Author Barbara Marx Hubbard and many other well-known futurists have been engaging people in the movement. Says Hubbard, “We will either move More >

LUCA’s Dream


Jack Loeffler


The Earth has circled around the Sun about three-and-a-half billion times since that special molecule evolved within the primordial milieu that characterized our planet some 10 billion or so solar years after our Universe blasted into being. This tiny dot of RNA was equipped with a genome. It could replicate itself. It was alive. It was LUCA, the Last Universal Common Ancestor of all life that has spanned time on our now-living planet Earth. We, as the human species, retain elements of the genetic code that resided in LUCA.


Metaphorically, LUCA was the seed of life that gradually blossomed More >

Book Review


Saved in Time

By Estella Leopold and Herb Meyer

2012, University of New Mexico Press


Saved in Time by Estella Leopold and Herb Meyer, with contributions by John Stansfield, is a wonderful account of the preservation of the Florissant fossil beds in Colorado. “In this small area (6,000 acres) are preserved in readily available form more species of terrestrial fossils than are known anywhere else in the world” (Entomology Department of American Museum of Natural History). The book describes that period within the Eocene epoch of 36 to 34 million [Wikipedia says 56 to 34 million] years ago when the fossils were formed and More >

A Report from Greenbuild 2012


Mark Chalom


In mid-November I took a trolley car up San Francisco’s Market Street. Built in 1948 for another city, the trolley had been purchased by San Francisco, refurbished, and it is still operating as an electric-powered vehicle. It took me to the Mosconi Convention Center, where Greenbuild, the world’s largest international green building conference and expo was being held. All three buildings were filled with exhibitions, education and poster sessions—and about 17,000 people.

Greenbuild is presented by the US Green Building Council, which, along with the World Green Building Council, is responsible for researching, developing and promoting LEED (Leadership in More >

The Big Gorilla

Why slowing climate change is a much greater challenge than we’ve been willing to acknowledge

Charles Bensinger


Recently I experienced a revelation, but it was a really unwanted revelation, one that I wish I had never had. Yet it was strangely liberating because it explained everything about why it will be so challenging to prevent climate change from overwhelming the Earth’s present biosphere.

Here’s what happened. I thought to myself: What if certain devices actually exist that are, in fact, able to generate non-polluting energy using universally available non-toxic substances and non-traditional physical properties of matter? Let’s propose that such devices might be More >

Have Your Money Go Local This Holiday Season

Shop with your values


Drew Tulchin and Kevin Lynn



Holiday season is upon us, and— along with it—the annual spending spree. The National Retail Federation predicts Americans will spend over $586 billion, coming to a grand total of about $750 per person spent on gifts, holiday cards, décor and other holiday expenses.


It’s difficult not to get swept up in the season of giving. This year, however, let’s all stop for a moment while we’re deciding what to buy for our loved ones and think: Does this purchase reflect my values? It’s easy to see how buying organic, fair trade or “all More >

EVERYDAY GREEN – Gifting Local



Susan Guyette



Connecting is the gift of life. As the seasons change and we celebrate ways to appreciate Mother Earth, the harvest and each other, opportunities to support local efforts expand. Before picking up a catalog or making the rushed trip to the big box, consider an outing to the farmers’ market, artists’ market or seasonal arts shows. Locally owned stores, roadside vendors and entrepreneurs often provide the uniqueness of northern New Mexico products.


This holiday season may bring out our inclination toward hoarding versus generosity. The choice is ours to see scarcity or abundance, isolation or awareness of our relations in More >

The Río Grande Returns


Earl James


The Río Grande Returnsa deeply evocative phrase that vibrates the harp strings of our imagination, calling forth a reassuring image of a mighty river unleashed from its dams and ditches, flooding the bosques with nutrients, hosting great flocks of migrating snow geese and Sandhill cranes in the winter without the human-engineered interventions we now must use, like crutches or walkers, for the once grand river.


Of course, the imagination is one thing, and current on-the-ground reality quite another. It’s far too late in the history of human habitation of planet Earth to imagine that, left to itself, the Río Grande, or More >

Overcoming Greed


Dominique Garcia and Elizabeth Sanchez

Santa Fe High School Advocacy Journalism Class


America has become attached to a consumer cycle. We buy. We sell. We waste. We feel empty. We repeat. Why? How can our greed be satisfied? Other countries are changing their ways, while we remain trapped in this dungeon of consumption, dragging the chains of want and “need.” The word is repeated so often that its meaning has become linked with overindulgence.


In the UK, Canada and Australia, Buy Nothing Day has arrived! Each year it is celebrated the day after Thanksgiving. There are even public service announcements on national More >

The Tesuque Pueblo Seed Bank


Emigdio Ballon


The seed is very important to native people in South, Central and North America. For thousands of years we have planted, collected and preserved seeds that have given us the ability to grow our own crops and share the seed with other Indigenous communities. As part of surviving through farming we developed techniques that can be applied in current times. To preserve seeds we used small clay containers and cylinders, which kept the seeds cool without the expenditure of energy. Next, we came up with safe and secure places to store the seeds, with the goal of providing future More >

THE LOCAL VOICE – A Garden of Change: Urban Farming in the Heart of Santa Fe


Vicki Pozzebon



What is your theory of change?” a friend and colleague asked me recently. The question caught me so off guard I paused for several seconds to form a thought. Well, localism, of course. I’d localize everything if I could: keep money in the community, the region, in the state so that we could be a healthy and wealthy state with good jobs. Utopian? Maybe.


Walking into Gaia Gardens where Poki Piottin farms, composts, hosts potluck events, and trains young farmers feels a bit like that utopian idea. The day I arrived to talk with Poki, I was greeted warmly by More >

Declaration of Commitment to Indigenous Peoples


Humanity faces a time in our evolving story when we must harvest our deepest collective wisdom in order to survive and even thrive as a healthy, peaceful and sustainable planetary civilization.

In the course of humanity’s journey we have many great achievements to celebrate and honor but we have to acknowledge what has been misguided, damaging to each other and harmful to all life. It is time for healing and a new beginning.

Great skill is now needed to reconnect the bonds of our collective interdependence on behalf of all of Earth’s diverse peoples and cultures and to restore an original contract More >

Nutrition and Wellness Tips


Dr. Japa K. Khalsa


Juniper  Berries

While a few sprigs of juniper can add beauty to your holiday decorations, you can also think of these readily available berries as health helpers. Their components have been known to help reduce and balance blood sugar and reduce appetite. However, pregnant women or those with kidney problems should not consume them. Test 10 of these piney, pungent berries, steeped in a cup of hot water as a tea and adjust as needed. Or add a few crushed berries to a marinade to pick up the flavor. And when the holidays are over, if you haven’t used all the berries More >



Climate Change Impacts on Santa Fe Predicted


A preliminary assessment that looks at how projected climate change impacts may influence some of the key natural and human systems in the Santa Fe watershed has been released. The assessment also explores possible adaptive actions and details ongoing activities that will have a positive impact on the watershed and mitigate effects of climate change.


Claudia Borchert, city hydrologist, and Dangar Llewellyn, from the Bureau of Reclamation, helped write the draft report, which says that climate change is predicted to have profound impacts on the watershed. “The degree to which we gracefully weather and adapt More >

What’s Going On? – Albuquerque


Through Feb. 2013

100 Years of State & Federal Policy: Its Impact on Pueblo Nations

Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, 2401 12th St. NW

Exhibition reflects on the human experience behind enacted policies and laws, adding to a well-documented history of Pueblo resilience since the time of Emergence.


Dec. 5. 5:30-7:30 pm

Green Drinks

Hotel Andaluz, 125 Second St. NW

Networking event. Live and silent auction. Bid to win presents/gifts for family & friends. Light fare. $20 donation includes drink and raffle ticket. Free parking with hotel validation. 505.244.3700,, http:/


Dec. 5, 5:30-8 pm

Green Tie Party

Location: TBA

US Green Building Council-NM annual event brings together chapter members and More >

What’s Going On? – Santa Fe


Dec. 3, 6 pm

Fire in the Jemez Province

Hotel Santa Fe

Southwest Seminars lecture by Mike Bremer, forest archeologist. $12. 505.466.2777,,


Dec. 5, 6:30 pm

Ricardo Cate Book Signing

SF Public Library – 145 Washington

Cartoonist from Kewa Pueblo talks about his work and signs his book Without Reservations. 505.955.6788


Dec. 5, 9:30 am-12:30 pm

Green Gifts Workshop

Susan Todd Studio

Hands-on gift making. Impressive necklaces, scarves, jewelry and more from recycled t-shirts. $45. Info: 505.955.9043


Dec. 6-7, 8 am-4:30 pm

Neighborhood Law & Policy Conference

SF Community Convention Center

Featured presenters: Sen. Peter Wirth and SFPC Superintendent Joel Boyd. Tuition: $325. Breakfast and lunch included. Public can attend for free or More >

What’s Going On? – Here & There

Dec. 1-2

Northern NM Birth Summit

Northern NM College, Espanola

This summit will recognize and elevate the sacredness of birth by listening and integrating childbirth experiences from doulas, midwives, mothers and fathers. Explore ancient and modern wisdom from diverse northern NM traditions. Panel discussions, talking circles, music, vendors. Info:; Presented by Tewa Women United: www.Tewa


Dec. 5, 10 am-12 pm

Forest Restoration Grant Workshop

208 Cruz Alta Road, Taos

Carson National Forest is hosting a free grant-writing workshop. The program provides cost-share grants to collaborative groups working on projects to reduce wildfire threats, improve watersheds and create local jobs. Info: 575.758.6344,


Dec. 5, 10 am-3:30 More >