December 2015

Green Fire Times: 80 Months



It is hard to believe that this is the 80th monthly edition of Green Fire Times. The print edition is currently available at more than 280 locations. We are gratified by the many people and organizations that have contributed articles and by the feedback we frequently receive. People often tell us that GFT means a lot to them, that there is nothing quite like it out there and that they save the copies.

GFT set out inform and inspire by spotlighting enterprises and initiatives that are transforming New Mexico into a diverse and sustainable economy. By weaving together the interrelated aspects More >

‘Compact of Mayors’ Signing



In anticipation of the United Nations Climate Conference in Paris, community, organizational and environmental leaders, including Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales and former Mayor David Coss, came together on Oct. 29 to witness Gonzales signing onto the Compact of Mayors, the world’s largest cooperative effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Launched at the 2014 U.N. Climate Summit, the compact ( represents a worldwide coalition of city leaders dedicated to preparing for impacts of climate change and taking action to prevent the worst consequences of climate disruption at the local level. This includes encouraging increased energy efficiency, converting facilities to renewable energy, advocating for More >

Modernizing America’s Grid


U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.)

  One of my earliest memories is visiting my father in the hospital after a high-voltage accident caused him to fall from an electrical transmission pole. That fall never dampened his enthusiasm for his work as a utility lineman, climbing up power poles in the middle of lightning storms to restore electricity after outages.

My father’s days as a utility worker represent the grid that George Westinghouse conceived of in the late 1800s, with its one-way distribution system of power delivered directly to consumers. It began at central generation facilities, usually a hydroelectric facility or coal-fired power plant, More >

Educating for Our Electricity Future


Christian E. Casillas


Imagine walking into your home, which has a rooftop covered with grid-connected solar panels and battery storage in your garage. Now, imagine that during different times of the day, you receive messages from your smart electric meter, alerting you to the purchase of some of your stored energy or warning you to delay using your dishwasher until later at night, when electricity prices will be cheaper. We need to look only as far as the community of Los Alamos, New Mexico, to see similar energy-management models in action. Los Alamos, which has a municipally owned utility, has been More >

Creating Local Community Resilience to Avoid Climate Catastrophe


Robert Christie, Ph.D.


In some ways, northern New Mexico is ahead of other regions in building local community resilience under increasingly difficult environmental conditions. Drought is a familiar circumstance. The city of Santa Fe has one of the lowest per-capita water-use rates in the nation. But much more than water conservation is involved in local resilience.

Overdependence on the national economy infusing cash into the local economy through tourism, art sales and ancillary commerce may be a risky business emphasis as climate disruption intensifies. [1] As with agricultural monoculture, overreliance on one product line always carries risk. Not much high-end art-market and More >

BOOK PROFILE: The Evolution of Ivanpah Solar

By Jamey Stillings; Foreword by Robert Redford Published by Steidl, 2015; 154 pages, 60 photographs


Internationally renowned, Santa Fe-based photographer Jamey Stillings’ new book The Evolution of Ivanpah Solar synthesizes Stillings’ fascination for the intersections of nature and human activity. In October 2010, before construction commenced, Stillings began a three-and-a-half-year aerial exploration over what has become the world’s largest concentrated solar power (CSP) plant, stretching over about five square miles in the Mojave Desert of California.

The solar farm’s patterns and geometric relationships are heightened by specific times of day the photos were taken. Stillings often had only 15 to 30 minutes to work More >

Rina Swentzell

A Tribute to Rina Swentzell 


Porter Swentzell


Rina Swentzell, a noted scholar from Santa Clara Pueblo, passed away on Oct. 30, 2015. She was a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and member of the large, well-known Naranjo family of artists and scholars from Santa Clara Pueblo.

Her great-grandmother, Lupita Sisneros, or Jiya Khun, was influential in shaping Rina’s views as a child and also helped to raise her and her siblings. Part of her youth was spent at Taos Pueblo, where her father, Michael Naranjo, had built a Baptist mission. Her father’s Baptist activities were influential in Rina’s educational journey, which initially led her to More >

Honoring Rina


Jack Loeffler


It was in April 1939 by current reckoning that Hendrine Naranjo was born into the family of Rose and Michael Naranjo in the Santa Clara Pueblo, along the western bank of the Río Grande, the Great River known in the Tewa language as P’osonghe. She came to be called Rina and was one of several siblings. Young Rina gradually absorbed the spirit of the Tewa World into her own consciousness to the extent that she became one with place, kindred to all she beheld. She became intimate with hidden crannies of Santa Clara Canyon that score the piedmont of More >

Heritage, Adobe Architecture and Grief: Learning from Rina Swentzell


Tom Guthrie


Rina Swentzell was one of the most amazing people I have ever known. Her life story is fascinating, her family remarkable. I first met Rina in 2003, and over the years she became my teacher and my friend. I am grateful that, this past summer, Rina, my wife and I were able to go on a hike at Tsankawi. We found shade and ate a picnic lunch under a juniper, near the edge of the mesa. Together, we marveled at the landscape.

Rina was an accomplished scholar and writer, and I first encountered her through her writing. She opened my More >

Remembering Tewa Pueblo Houses and Spaces

Excerpt from The Multicultural Southwest: A Reader (1990), University of Arizona Press


Rina Swentzell


Santa Clara Pueblo was a wonderful place to grow up. I was a child there in the 1940s and remember the incredible sense of well-being and containment—both socially and physically. From the plaza or bupingeh (literally, the middle-heart place) of the pueblo, we could see far mountains encircle our lives—the growing of clouds and the bringing of that movement and water was initiated. We continually watched those mountains to see the clouds form out of them and to know on which of the valleys or summits the sun would More >

A Quiet, Fierce Intelligence


Chris Wilson


When Rina Swentzell spoke to a large audience, her voice was often so soft that you had to lean forward to hear. And as everyone did, she enthralled us with her quiet, fierce vision. Through her eloquent essays, books, lectures and media appearances, she brought a Tewa Pueblo world view to life for a wider audience and, thereby, made an invaluable contribution to the deepening of American cultural pluralism.

Rina Swentzell grew up speaking Tewa in her grandmother’s house on the Santa Clara plaza in the 1940s. People looked forward in those days to spring when they could again sleep More >

Oh Thou Incomparable Cielos!

Dedicated to the Memory of Rina Swentzell


Alejandro López


When, through lack of vigilance, I allow modern life’s challenges and vicissitudes to ruffle my feathers, I quickly reach for my time-honored medicina. For nada will bring me back to center so effectively as a walk or run through the nearby montes and arroyos behind my home. At the end of the trail, the act of saying a few words of thanksgiving for our spectacular living planeta tierra and its continuous outpouring of gifts always deepens my experience of this self-prescribed ritual.

It also helps reawaken in me a profound recognition of the miraculous nature and incomparably grand More >

Tewa Women United Receives EPA Grant for Healing Foods Oasis Garden


Beata Tsosie-Peña


The New Mexico–based nonprofit, Tewa Women United (TWU), located in Española, has received a $30,000 Environmental Justice grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in support of a demonstration garden project that will be planted in Váldez Park, on a hillside behind Española City Hall. The hillside is currently a barren slope with erosion problems.

The Healing Foods Oasis, a partnership between TWU and the city of Española, will be accessible to Española residents, as well as to the surrounding tricultural communities of the northern Río Grande Valley. In addition to growing food, it will provide opportunities to learn about More >

The Rail Yards Market – Barelas, Albuquerque


Alex Paramo


Located in Barelas, a historic Hispanic neighborhood in the South Valley, the Rail Yards Market (RYM) is among the must-experience venues in and around Albuquerque, although not easily classifiable. This community-run, volunteer-powered organization is as much of a meeting place as a market. Every Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the site is a vortex of sights, sounds, aromas and tastes. Patrons can shop from local growers, listen to local musicians, partake in guided stretching exercises, learn from dedicated educators and be exposed to cutting-edge art of all sorts.

The idea of repurposing this unique, abandoned rail yard structure was More >

Española Opens Food Venture Commercial Kitchen


Alejandro López


A throng of people awaited the arrival of Governor Susana Martínez outside of the Food Venture Center commercial kitchen in Española for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The festive mood resembled an old-time community celebration. The people gathered on this sunny October day mingled and shared stories centered on how this working-class community of 10,000 had succeeded through a process of collaboration to reopen this important community resource as part of the emerging Northern New Mexico Food Hub.

In her speech, the governor highlighted that intensive agriculture together with small businesses that turn agriproducts into delectable foodstuffs represent an area of the state’s More >

Delicious New Mexico

The Gift of Local Food


Celerah Hewes-Rutledge


This holiday season, many of us have two things on our mind: shopping and food. While we are continually subjected to pleas from national retailers to spend money with them, take advantage of sales and get holiday shopping done earlier and earlier in the year, I would like to suggest that you stop! Take a deep breath, and think about food. We spend much of the holiday season sitting around the table with loved ones, shopping for ingredients, whipping up traditional family foods in the kitchen and, of course, eating. Why not consider how you More >

Maurice Dixon Jr. Recovers the Artistic Legacy of Higinio V. Gonzales


Alejandro López


The Artistic Odyssey of Higinio V. Gonzales, published by the University of Oklahoma Press, is an account of a 19th-century New Mexican hojalatero, poet and songwriter, written by Maurice Dixon Jr. of Santa Fe. It is an intriguing work of scholarly research as well as a work of art in and of itself. Based on seven years of investigation, rendered in beautiful prose and profusely illustrated, the book restores a forgotten artist to his rightful place in New Mexico history.

In her foreword, Santa Fe writer Carmella Padilla states, “The historical record brims with accounts of larger-than-life accounts of Anglo-Americans whose More >

Newsbites – December 2015


Risk to New Mexico’s Water Supplies

A peer-reviewed journal, Environmental Research Letters, has published a study that looked at more than 400 river basins in the Northern Hemisphere and how they may or may not meet future water demands. The Río Grande and Colorado River basins, which supply water to farmers, water managers and wildlife in New Mexico, were identified as among the most vulnerable as a result of the risk of decreasing snowfall and rainfall in the coming century.

The study’s authors looked at population, how water demands are currently being met, and multiple climate models that project future warming.

Two uncertainties More >

What’s Going On? – Albuquerque – December 2015


Dec. 2, 5:30-7 pm

Green Drinks

Hotel Andaluz, 125 Second St. NW

Network with people interested in doing business locally, clean energy alternatives and creating sustainable opportunities in our communities. Presented the first Wednesday of each month by the ABQ and Río Rancho Green Chamber.,

Dec. 2-5


Returning the Gift 2015

Hotel Blue, IPCC and Various Locations

Native American & Indigenous Storytellers and Literary Festival. Workshops, discussions, resource sharing, book signings, films, poetry slam. Keynote speakers: LaDonna Harris, Diane Glancy. $40-$150. 505.843.7270,


Dec. 3, 6 pm

Holiday Stroll for Climate Hope

Gather at Triangle Park, corner Monte Vista and Central

Stroll up Central to Carlisle and back carrying More >

What’s Going On? – Santa Fe – December 2015


Dec. 2, 11:30 am-1 pm

Green Lunch

SFAHBA Offices, 1409 Luisa St.

What’s coming up at the Roundhouse? Presentation by State Reps. Brian Egolf and Matthew McQueen, who have recently proposed ethics reform legislation. $15/$20. Reservations: 505.982.1774. Presented by the SF Green Chamber of Commerce.


Dec. 2, 12 pm

Leslie Poling-Kempes

NM History Museum, 113 Lincoln Ave.

Lecture on the book Ladies of the Canyons: Remarkable Women of the SW. Free. 505.476.5090


Dec. 2, 2 pm

Fracking in the SF Natl. Forest

465 St. Michael’s Dr. (Medical-Dental Building west of hospital) Rm. 201

Discussion of opposition to the leases that have been awarded on over 20,000 acres.


Dec. 2-6

SF Film Festival

Various More >