June 2011

NM Ranks High for Clean Energy Leadership

The Land of Enchantment ranks seventh in the nation in clean energy leadership, according to the research firm Clean Edge’s annual U.S. Clean Energy Leadership Index, the industry’s most comprehensive and objective analysis. 70 different indicators from both municipal and private data sources were considered, including total electricity produced by clean-energy sources, hybrid and electric vehicles on the road, clean energy venture and patent activity, policy regulations, workforce development and financial incentives.

New Mexico scored 57 out of a possible 100 on the index. The No. 1 state is California, which scored a 95.3. California’s clean-energy industry attracts more venture capital More >

Luján Introduces Bill to Support Clean Energy Job Training

Congressman Ben Ray Luján has introduced legislation to help community colleges provide clean energy workforce training. The Community College Energy Training Act of 2011 would provide grants to support the training of technicians to work in the wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass energy sectors. The bill also covers other energy-related occupations, including energy-efficient building construction and retrofitting, recycling and waste reduction, water and energy conservation, and sustainable agriculture. The legislation has 24 cosponsors.

“If the U.S. is going to be a leader in renewable energy, we have to have a skilled workforce that is trained and ready to get to work,” More >

June Newsbites

State Environment Dept. Now More Effective – For Industry

Newly appointed Environment Secretary David Martin has shifted four regulatory civil servants in the state Environment Department out of their areas of expertise. The shake-up includes Mary Uhl, Air Quality Bureau chief, who is being transferred to Occupation Health and Safety; James Bearzi, who, after 12 years of leading the Hazardous Waste Bureau, is headed for the Surface Water Bureau; Steve Zappe, who has been monitoring the Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP) near Carlsbad for 17 years, is now in the food inspection office; and Marcy Leavitt, a 20-year veteran, mostly in More >

Don Bustos Receives Food and Community Fellowship

The Institute for Agricultural Trade Policy has announced its 2011-2013 Food and Community Fellows. Out of 560 applicants, Don Bustos was selected as one of the 14 new fellows. Bustos, a certified organic vegan farmer, is also the Program Director for the American Friends Service Committee-NM, where he provides training to farmers and works on land and water rights issues.

The fellowship provides a stipend, communications support, trainings, and travel opportunities as part of a program intended to increase the strength of local food systems and community health. The fellowship is funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Woodcock Foundation.

Bustos More >

New Study on Bees

A careful new study from Switzerland by Daniel Favre, published online in April, seems to demonstrate the effects of cell phones on honeybees.

More than 80 sound recordings were taken from five different hives during February through June 2009. A cell phone was place in the hives near the bees. When the phone was off or on standby mode, the bees were not disturbed. When the phone was turned on, the effect was dramatic: within 25 to 40 minutes the sounds made by the bees increased in intensity and frequency, producing the “worker piping signal,” which is usually produced by bees More >

What’s Going On!

WGO – JUNE 2011 GFT – Final

ALBUQUERQUE

Through Sept. 17

Beekeeping Workshop Series

Open Space Visitor Center, 6500 Coors Blvd NW

Certification classes with Les & Heather Crowder held on the Saturdays. Cost: $675 or $100 per class. 505.897.8831, www.fortheloveofbees.com, www.cabq.gov/openspace/visitorcenter.html

June 1, 11:30 am – 1 pm

Tapping Into Ground Source Energy

MCM Elegante, 2020 Menaul NE

USGBC luncheon speaker Matthew Higgins, Energy Engineer. $25 members, $30 non-members, $18 Emerging Professionals. Open to the public. www.usgbcnm.org.

June 8, 14, 11:30 am-1 pm

Energy & Atmosphere Webinar

USGBC-NM series. LEED EB O&M. Earn 1.5. CE hrs. $10 members, $15 non-members. More info: karenr@dpsdesisgn.org. Register at www.usgbcnm.org

June 9, 6-7:30 pm

‘Burque Bioneers

Natl. Hispanic More >

Villa Alegre – Green Affordable Multifamily Housing

Santa Fe Civic Housing Authority (SFCHA) is about to welcome residents to Villa Alegre, Santa Fe’s first LEED Platinum affordable multifamily housing development. Villa Alegre is the second LEED Platinum housing project in New Mexico and the first to be developed by a civic housing authority.

The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an internationally recognized green building certification system. LEED provides third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed to maximize energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, stewardship of resources and sensitivity More >

To Bee or not to Bee

An avid bee steward’s guide to learning, acquiring and keeping bees healthy in these changing times

Melanie Margarita Kirby

There are more beekeepers among us these days! A very good thing. However, there are several things to consider for those interested in learning how to become beekeepers (or better put: bee stewards) and integrate their interest into their surrounding communities in a healthy and respectful manner. Bee stewards can promote honeybees and native bees, which include bumbles, sweat bees, leaf-cutters, Blue Orchard bees and the many hundreds more. Bee stewards do not necessarily have to have their own bees – they can More >

Social Justice within a Food System Change

Don Bustos

The subject of food and growing food is very political, and has social and cultural impacts. In New Mexico, although there are a number of organizations working on issues related to food systems, few have had the awareness to include social justice in their mission or to fully take into account the impact of their work on ranchers, farmers, distributors and consumers.

Over the next few months in a series of articles in Green Fire Times, I will explore this volatile subject: our traditional food systems vs. the predominant food system, within the context of sustainable agriculture. There are several More >

Shareholder Power for a Better World

Kim Keil

Money holds power. To the dismay of many social investors, this is still a true statement. To their delight however, there is a key component of Socially Responsible Investing or Sustainable Investing as it is now often referred to, that brings light to that power. That is the power of the proxy vote. By leveraging the economic influence of the more than $3 trillion invested by regular people like you and me, we can be a major catalyst for change.

Back in the ’80s we saw the force behind the deconstruction of apartheid in South Africa when millions of investors More >

Sangre de Cristo Youth Ranch near Questa demonstrates a new model for passing on old wisdom

Sustainability Education: Self Reliance through Interdependence

Daniel Hutchinson

There is new life springing forth from two essential but beleaguered systems: education and agriculture. Farm-to-school, edible classroom, service learning, place-based curriculum and ecological education are among the concepts brought to life in a quiet renaissance within some of our nation’s more progressive educational institutions. Ultimately, these radical reforms are nothing new. They are simply a reaffirmation of what humans have engaged in over the eons. And on one mountainside in northern New Mexico, children at the Sangre de Cristo Youth Ranch (SCYR) are learning their place in nature’s community.

At its core, education is More >

My Own Garden – Humans and Nature: Connecting in Our Gardens

Susan Waterman

“Human beings are not different from Nature, we are part of Nature. Our very existence on Earth depends on nature. In truth, it is not we who protect Nature, but Nature who protects us.”

– Sri Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma)

How often does the question arise: “What can I do to help our planet, to help humanity through these arduous times?” In reflecting on the recent earthquakes and tsunamis, and the massive flooding around the globe from Australia to the southern and midwestern U.S., unprecedented for most of us, I can’t help but feel that the Earth is reacting and giving us More >

USGBC 2011 GreenBuilt Tour • June 11-12

Each year the GreenBuilt Tour provides opportunities to learn the latest in green techniques and savings. People can visit newly built and remodeled homes. Each property will have a flyer highlighting its green features. Signs will be placed to draw attention to particularly noteworthy elements. Guidebooks are available electronically at www.usgbcnm.org, in print at La Montañita Co-op and Whole Foods, and at each home on the days of the tour.

Organized by the nonprofit US Green Building Council – New Mexico Chapter, the 12th annual tour will take place on Saturday, June 11th, and Sunday, June 12th from 10 am to More >

The Unicopia Center: Ongoing Educational Outreach

Faren Dancer’s GREEN TALK

Unicopia, a nonprofit organization, was founded in 1987 to raise public awareness of our interconnectedness with the natural world. The name was derived from:

UNI (Unity): as in oneness, emphasizes the fact that all of Earth’s citizens are unified in a common experience. This awareness, coupled with applied scientific knowledge, helps support the movement toward true sustainability and planetary stewardship. Unicopia’s goal is to empower others to become active participants in our sustainable future.

COPIA (Abundance): Each citizen of the planet shares the common desire to experience fulfillment, joy and prosperity. This pertains to material realms and to our More >

The Genízaro Experience: A Living Legacy

Seth Roffman

On May 10th, as part of its commemoration of the 257th Anniversary of the Abiquiú Land Grant, the Abiquiú Library and Cultural Center hosted a public event: “The Genízaro Experience: A Living Legacy and Celebration of History.” A panel of both academic and traditional elder scholars had a spirited discussion about this little known part of New Mexico history.

It is a history of Native American women and children, between 1693 and 1880, who were stolen from various tribes through war and raiding to be ransomed to the Spanish and Pueblos. These captives were renamed by the Spanish as Genizaro More >

First Planting

Fresh AIRE: Agricultural Implementation, Research & Education

Miguel Santistévan

I remember coming into agriculture through my participation with the organizations of the Atrisco Land Rights Council and Tonantzín Land Institute in efforts to preserve the sacred sites associated with the petroglyphs on the west side of Albuquerque. We were trying to prevent the Paseo del Norte extension through the petroglyphs, a struggle that was eventually lost. But in the process of trying to preserve those sacred sites I was able to work with many teachers of ceremonies and talking circles. I became aware of the concept of belonging to the land, subsisting More >

Face the Enemy

Iginia Boccalandro

What if Earth lovers, organic food growers, gardeners, social activists, community gardeners, Greenpeacers, Farm-to-Table advocates, sustainability educators, eco-villagers, environmentalists, Permaculturists, traditional and native agriculturists, recyclers, land trust managers, composters, local farmers, local energy proponents, timebankers, land stewards, zero-waste practitioners, progressives, celebrities and ecological “do-gooders” would reach out to somebody NOT like us?

I am suggesting doing this in the name of diversity and the power that comes from polarity to engage in a meaningful conversation with another so that it empowers them to tread more lightly on Earth. Imagine a tea partier, an arms dealer, a sheik, a petrochemical CEO, More >

EnergyPlex Conference – “Uranium Fuel Cycle 2011” – Long-Term Sustainability Policies Questioned

Gerald B. Ansell, Ph.D.

About five years ago, a farsighted, much needed, economic development and energy resource concept, to be entitled EnergyPlex, was conceived for the U.S. Southwest regions of New Mexico and Texas. Its proposed Energy Corridor was to center around NM’s Hobbs, Eddy and Lea counties and nearby Texas communities. It was well supported by the vast majority of both states’ political representatives, surrounding industry, agricultural interests and the public in general. During the ensuing years, the EnergyPlex concept has directly improved economic and housing conditions in the region. It has also, at least short-term economically and environmentally, successfully More >

Ending Coal

Mariel Nanasi

The time has come to secure a future for New Mexico without coal. Important national trends and unprecedented local actions all indicate that this crucial transformation is within reach for our energy sector, our economy and our environment. After years of hard work, organizing and advocacy, we have reached a fundamental tipping point. The economic, health and environmental costs of using coal to generate electricity irrefutably outweigh the benefits.

While coal’s pending demise represents a great triumph, we must maintain pressure on polluters and regulators to ensure that this transformation proceeds expeditiously. We must also work to ensure that the More >

Everyday Green – Real Employment

Susan Guyette

The economy is improving, right? Maybe. It might be getting better but it’s likely not improving equitably. New Mexico, it seems, is still struggling with high unemployment and under-employment. As major corporations continue to garner most of their growth overseas, conventional indicators such as the stock market are not reflecting local prosperity, and actually hide local economic decline.

If you have a gut level feeling that the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer and the middle class is disappearing, the discrepancy between information from the media and reality may seem more like a chasm than a gap.

Sustainable More >