January 2016

New Mexico’s Pressing Challenges


To kick off 2016, this edition of Green Fire Times is focused around interrelated “Visions for the Future of New Mexico.” The lead article is from former U.S. Senator Fred Harris, and we are featuring excerpts from the recent book he edited, New Mexico 2050 (UNM Press).

New Mexico continues to be identified at or near the bottom of many lists—from education to poverty to unemployment—at the same time that many positive things are happening here. New Mexico is a wonderful place to live, except for those who find themselves at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder. That sector is automatically More >

New Mexico Can Do Better

Fred Harris

Unlike the nation or the states that surround New Mexico, our state is a long way from “recovery” from the recent Great Recession. And there is a lot we must do about that. New Mexico needs a jump-start!

But first, we must put New Mexico’s situation into context and deal with the fact that the national economic recovery itself has been dramatically uneven. There is a terrible—and worsening—inequality of income in this country.

Here’s a quick recitation of today’s bald facts: For the three decades after WWII, the top 1 percent of American earners got between 9 and 10 per cent More >

Book Profile: “New Mexico 2050”

Edited by Fred Harris University of New Mexico Press, 2015, 352 pages


In this book, edited by former U.S. Senator Fred Harris, some of the state’s most noted and qualified policy experts answer two vital questions: New Mexico 2050—What can we be? What will we be? Through a collection of essays focusing on economics, environment and water, education, healthcare, politics and demographics, and transportation, they describe the state’s present situation, prescribe recommendations to adjust course and predict what successes could occur. The book sets a policy agenda for pulling the state through a future of increased drought, rural-urban divides and sharp income More >

Excerpts from New Mexico 2050

Edited by Fred Harris, UNM Press, 2015


NEW MEXICO ECONOMY – Lee Reynis and Jim Peach The Federal Presence in New Mexico Clearly, Los Alamos helped put New Mexico on the cutting edge in terms of technology, as did the addition of Sandia National Laboratory…and the Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base. These research institutions have large procurement budgets and have been sources of funding for many New Mexico suppliers and other businesses. And there is technology transfer from these powerhouse laboratories; patents are licensed and find commercial applications; private companies partner with the labs and develop new products, and More >

Visions For New Mexico

Alan Webber

I am convinced that New Mexico’s future is hiding in plain sight.

It is a future with unlimited potential built on our unique qualities as a state and our strengths as a people. The keys to achieving that future are bold ideas and strong leadership.

Here’s what I see when I look at our state’s future:

A state with unmatched quality of life. The land, the sky, the climate, dark nights and clear days are New Mexico’s gift. For that reason, our future should be based on this goal: We will be the most sustainable state in the country. We will make sustainability More >

New Mexico Visions for the Future: A Testimonial from 2065

Paula García

Introduction: Creating visions for our future is about expressing hope and commitment, realizing that articulating a vision also commits you to manifesting that vision through a lifetime of collective work. We should all be encouraged to share our visions with one another in the hope of creating inspiration and resolve to affirm our values and challenge those things that need to change. This is a testimonial from 2065 in the voice of one of our grandchildren.

Fifty years ago, New Mexico with all its beauty and rich history was in a time of crisis. For many years, New Mexico had More >

Creative Programs and Policies Encourage Farming into the Future

Pam Roy

The culture of food and the practices of farming and ranching in New Mexico are at the core of many livelihoods and traditions. Farmers, ranchers and the many businesses and agencies involved in food production, processing and marketing contribute to the state’s fourth-largest economic sector. While more than $4 billion in sales of agricultural products and more than 97 percent are exported out of New Mexico, opportunities abound to grow in-state market options for products to be sold and exchanged.

New coordination, advocacy and support programs have evolved over the last decade to provide more of these options. Fruit and More >

The New Mexico Environmental Law Center’s Top 10 Issues to Watch in 2016


There are a lot of environmental issues on which New Mexicans will focus in 2016—drilling near Chaco Canyon, coal-fired power plants and wildlife issues to name a few—but here are the top 10 issues that the attorneys at the New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC) will focus on in the new year:

1) New Mexico Copper Rule. This Martínez-era regulation, written by the Freeport-McMoRan copper company, allows all copper mines in New Mexico to pollute groundwater above water-quality standards. The Supreme Court is currently considering challenges by the NMELC and its clients, Amigos Bravos and the Gila Resources Information Project, as More >

Averting Dystopia


Jack Loeffler


Arid New Mexico, where distant mountain ranges mark far horizons that encompass vast living emptiness, where major ecosystems are easily distinguished one from the other, where waterways are modest in their yield and thus recognized and valued as the life-giving source, where the sky is an upturned bowl of blue wherein clouds dance over mountains and refine human imagination, where wind passes through the grasses and rustles the boughs of mountain pines, where the greater chorus of the biotic community sings praise to existence—this is homeland so powerful as to grab the undivided attention of those with the consciousness More >

Book Profile: Two Percent Solutions for the Planet


Two Percent Solutions for the Planet 50 Low-Cost, Low-Tech, Nature-Based Practices for Combatting Hunger, Drought, and Climate Change By Courtney White, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2015, 240 pages

Two Percent Solutions for the Planet profiles 50 innovative practices that soak up carbon dioxide in soils, reduce energy use, sustainably intensify food production and increase water quality. The “two percent” refers to the amount of new carbon in the soil needed to reap a wide variety of ecological and economic benefits; the percentage of the nation’s population who are farmers and ranchers; and the low financial cost (in terms of GDP) needed to get this work More >

An Unprecedented Future


Courtney White


Some years ago, Craig Allen, an old friend, stopped by the office to catch up. He’s a forest ecologist stationed in the Jémez Mountains of northern New Mexico, and his career mirrors how ecological research has changed, as well as its likely future trajectory.

When I first met Craig more than 20 years ago, his focus was on the interlocking variables of ecological function, historical use and plant and animal community dynamics, in order to understand more clearly the condition of the region’s forests. And what he discovered was worrisome. Specifically, he worried about forest “thickening” due to decades of More >

A Vision of Intense Engagement with the World and with One Another

Alejandro López Let there be an opening to the quiet that lies beneath the chaos, where you find the peace you did not think possible, and see what shimmers within the storm


  In our current world, it is easy to remain a passive observer of the state of things and simply turn on the television and reach for a beer. Or, worse, a weapon, as is apparently becoming increasingly prevalent in the United States, New Mexico included. It is much harder to dig through the massive amount of information available and figure out what is happening at our own front door, More >

My Hopes for the Future of My Community


Juanita Jaramillo Lavadie I love my hometown. Although I was away for 10 years, I returned to teach for two more years and am now in my second year of retirement. As I get back into the broader social swing of events, through all the different societal layers, I note a great many newcomers in my neighborhood. But I often run into vecinos I have known since the days of my youth.

Taos has always been somewhat separated from downstream communities by beautiful but challenging terrain. Over generations, as a result of this isolation from the lower Río Grande Valley, my ancestral More >

EVERYDAY GREEN: A Spiritual Business

Susan Guyette

Ngodup Dorjee, a Tibetan immigrant living in Santa Fe, is developing a new business form based on what he calls a spiritual business model. Through persistence, trial and error and hard work, his model, guided by community values rather than individual profit, is succeeding. More than 40 vendors are served through a cooperative structure at Blessings, his business at DeVargas Mall. Here, Dorjee explains the concept, why it works well as social entrepreneurship, and its potential for other businesses in New Mexico.

SG: How did you come to the idea of a spiritual business?

ND: I came from East Tibet to Nepal in More >

Breaking Big Money’s Grip on New Mexico and the Country


Bruce Berlin

Any serious observer of government in America knows that, for the most part, Big Money controls our elections and public policy. In the beginning of my new book, Breaking Big Money’s Grip on America: Working Together to Revive Our Democracy, I state the following premise:

While some individuals would argue that climate change or income inequality are the great challenges of our time, the chances of our successfully resolving them, or any other major problem, are virtually zero unless we break Big Money’s grip on our government. In fact, according to one bipartisan political organization, 74 percent of all voters agree More >

Newsbites – January 2016


Economic Diversity in New Mexico

A diverse economy can help a state weather economic downturns. According to the Labor Market Review, released in August 2015 by the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, New Mexico has one of the least-diverse economies in the country, ranking 45th among states. That is a score that does not indicate a balanced economy generally associated with economic stability. New Mexico has a large government workforce and a large mining and energy sector.

The Hachman Index location quotient is a calculation of a specific employment sector’s size relative to total employment. A 1.0 means a sector’s employment More >

What’s Going On? – Albuquerque – January 2016


Jan. 4, 16, 20

Indian Pueblo Cultural Center Events

2401 12th St. NW

1/4, 11 am – 12 pm: Traditional Farming, Wellness & Recipe Exchange. Aaron Kie (Laguna/Isleta) will speak about the connection between traditional farming and wellness; 1/16, 1-2 pm: Bean Pot Cooking Demo with Therese Tohtsoni (Picuris). Cooking in a micaceous clay pot; 1/20, 5:30 – 7 pm: Wellness, Healing & Traditional Foods. Joseph Brophy Toledo (Jemez) will share his perspective as a medicine man. All events are free. 1.866.855.7902, www.indianpueblo.org


Jan. 6, 13, 20, 27, 9-10 am

One Million Cups

Fat Pipe ABQ, 200 Broadway Blvd. NE

Network with local entrepreneurs and hear their More >

What’s Going On? – Santa Fe – January 2016


Jan. 1-31

Tree Seedlings

The Natural Resources Conservation Service, in cooperation with the NM State Forestry Division, is offering applications for low-cost tree seedlings. Applicants must own one acre of land or more and plant seedlings for windbreaks, reforestation, Christmas tree sales or wildlife plantings. Sponsored by the Santa Fe-Pojoaque Soil and Water Conservation District. 505.473.0410, ext. 3 (M-F, 7:30 am-4 pm)


Jan. 2-9, 2016, 6 pm

IAIA Winter Writers’ Festival

IAIA Campus Library, 83 Avan Nu Po Rd.

Public invited to free nightly readings, which include published authors such as poet Joy Harjo along with Institute of American Indian Arts students. Film screening features such More >

What’s Going On? – Here & There – January 2016


Jan. 14, 5:30-7 pm NM Solar Energy Ass’n. Chapter Meeting Little Toad Pub backroom, 200 N. Bullard St., Silver City, NM Every second Thursday. 575.538.1337, scgreenchamber@gmail.com


Jan. 6

King’s Day Celebrations

Honoring of new pueblo tribal officials. Most pueblos open to the public. Picuris Pueblo: various dances; Nambe Pueblo: Buffalo, Deer and Antelope dances; Sandia Pueblo: various dances; Taos Pueblo: Deer and Buffalo dances; Santo Domingo Pueblo (Kewa): various dances


January 7 – March 9

Resilience in NM Agriculture

Locations around NM

Farmers, ranchers, processors, distributors, market organizers, policymakers and advocates are invited to participate in a discussion about creating a strategic plan for NM’s food and agricultural system. Presented More >