June 2014

Pueblo Feast Days


Matthew J. Martínez


The sharing of food among family, friends and guests is one of the oldest practices of Pueblo people. Prior to European contact in the 1500s, there existed 100 villages. Indigenous peoples of the Southwest planted crops of corn and squash and hunted deer, elk and antelope, to name a few. Daily activities centered on praying for and cultivating good crops, so that all life would be healthy. These are some of the original forms of observances that the Pueblo peoples of New Mexico continue to practice as a way of life. Due mainly to warfare and disease, many More >

The Mystery Stone


Karin Stangl


It is a mystery in the desert hills near Los Lunas, New Mexico. It has puzzled experts for more than 50 years. It has been referred to by many different names, including Ten Commandments Rock, Mystery Rock, and the Los Lunas Decalogue Stone. But it is most commonly known as the Mystery Stone. It is located on state trust land.

Each year about 50 applications are submitted for recreational access permits to the State Land Office by school groups, hikers or the general public to visit the Mystery Stone. It is the most visited site on state trust lands.

The More >

Sustainable Tourism Ignites the Hearts and Minds of Northern New Mexicans


Erin Sanborn


A strong commitment to tourism that has a net-positive impact on people and places was evident among the participants in the Sustainable Tourism: Infrastructure for a Solid Path Forward conference, held in Taos on May 19. Organized by the Taos and Santa Fe chapters of the New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce, the conference highlighted a collaborative, inclusive dialogue among business owners, elected officials, and community members from Santa Fe, Española, Taos, Chimayó, Angel Fire, Red River, Chama, Costilla and Amalia.

The conference began with a presentation by Cabinet Secretary Monique Jacobson of the New Mexico Tourism Department, herself a northern New More >

EVERYDAY GREEN: Increasing Sustainability in Tourism


Susan Guyette


Sustainability, in essence, is about interdependence. Balance in cultural, economic and ecological relationships is central for maintaining harmony. And hospitality—sharing food, appropriate information, and cultural arts—coming from a genuine respect for tradition, indicates the wise use of resources. When well planned and managed, cultural tourism can foster retention of those diverse cultural traditions so precious in New Mexico.


In the sustainable development process, local level planning is important for reducing negative impacts and increasing positive benefits, such as job creation. Planning and development involves the community, visitors or potential visitors, as well as local government, to create a direction More >

Santa Fe Hosts the Western Adaptation Alliance’s Exploration of Food Systems and Urban Water Management


Katherine Mortimer


Just as the federal government was releasing the 2014 National Climate Assessment (NCA) on May 6, Santa Fe was hosting 13 communities that make up the Western Adaptation Alliance (WAA) for a gathering to explore the interrelationship of regional food systems and urban water management. Santa Fe’s team included both city and county staff, as well as community members involved in range of food and water organizations. The NCA response section summarizes strategies to reduce emissions (mitigation) and to adapt to a changing climate. Adaptation is an emerging specialty within the larger climate-change planning field. The WAA is a More >

Sustainable Santa Fe Monthly Update


The Sustainable Santa Fe Commission works to implement the Sustainable Santa Fe Plan, passed by the Santa Fe City Council in 2008, through policy recommendations, progress tracking and community engagement campaigns and initiatives, including the annual Sustainable Santa Fe Awards. Starting this month, you’ll be hearing from the commission through our monthly column, as we provide updates and articles about our community’s efforts to reduce our carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, reduce our ecological footprint and promote social equity throughout Santa Fe.

The Sustainable Santa Fe Plan was created through a series of public forums in collaboration with local experts in More >

Santa Fe to Compete in Georgetown University Energy Prize


John Alejandro


The newly created Santa Fe Alliance for Clean Energy (SFEACE) has announced its intent to compete in the Georgetown University Energy Prize on behalf of the city of Santa Fe and Santa Fe County. The prize is a national, multimillion-dollar competition that challenges cities and counties with populations between 5,000 and 250,000 to create and implement energy-saving strategies to reduce their per capita consumption of gas and electricity over two years.

During the current phase of the competition, SFEACE will work with residents, businesses, city and county government officials and energy-efficiency and clean-energy experts to develop a long-term, energy-efficiency and More >

Op-Ed: “Sunstainable” New Mexico


Gary Vaughn


You may have heard that Arizona basks in more solar energy than any other state, and that poor old New Mexico comes in second. And that’s true if you only count total sunshine. But there’s more to solar energy than “raw” sunshine. The wind blows from high-pressure areas (highs) to low-pressure areas (lows), just like the weather reports talk about. Unequal heating on the surface of the Earth causes those highs and lows, and that heat comes from the sun. So wind energy is really solar energy—in disguise.


Arizona has relatively poor wind resources, while New Mexico is More >

Earth Care’s Youth Leaders Champion Southside Santa Fe Sustainability Efforts


 Valeria Gómez


Forty-mile-an-hour winds couldn’t stop our determination or conviction. Though at times it felt like the crosswinds might knock us off of our bikes, every single one of us 52 Bike-a-thon riders successfully made our way from Railyard Park in downtown Santa Fe to Earth Care’s offices at Zona del Sol on the south side of town in celebration of Earth Day. The ride was 10 miles long on one of the windiest days of the year, and many of us, mostly teenagers, had never ridden our bikes for transit, let alone across the city. But it was worth it.


When More >

Earth Care’s AmeriCorps Food Cadre Receives Federal Grant


Last month U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico announced that Earth Care, a Santa Fe-based nonprofit, will receive a $191,034 grant award from the Corporation for National Community Service for its 2014–2015 Food Cadre AmeriCorps Program. The grant will support 27 AmeriCorps national service-member positions. Earth Care is now accepting applications for the positions, which range from 300-hour internships to full-time placements for 11 months. Their work will focus on increasing access to healthful foods for low-income families, health education and environmental stewardship.


Food insecurity in the County of Santa Fe is higher than the national average. AmeriCorps member More >

Santa Fe’s Green Lodging Initiative, Phase II

Savings for Businesses and Tangible Benefits for the Community


Ashley Zappe


Like the people who run them, many businesses in Santa Fe would like to go green but don’t know where to start and are intimidated by the idea that going green takes $green$. And yet, what we’re learning, as we begin to shift our economy toward more environmentally and socially conscious practices, is that huge savings emerge when we tighten up the efficiency of our operations and reduce waste.


A shining example of this is the Santa Fe Watershed Association’s Green Lodging Initiative, which just wrapped up 18 months of hard More >

A Concert in Consort with the Earth…and Heaven


Alan Hutner


Green living, sustainability, low-carbon emissions, reducing footprints, living in harmony with nature—all good, active approaches to help save humanity from the potentially devastating impacts of the changing climate. Ancient wisdom tells us that underlying and most essential to our activism is that it be instituted with love. One way to understand and experience this is by opening the heart and quieting the mind through the unified field of bhakti yoga and kirtan, devotional chanting with its multidimensional mantras of love, spirit and power.


Krishna Das (KD) has been called yoga’s “rock star.” With a remarkably soulful voice that touches More >

Direct Public Offerings and Capital Raising for Your Business


 Drew Tulchin and Jenny Kassan


Many entrepreneurs, even those gaining traction through sales, can get stuck in a holding pattern, wanting to grow their business but lacking sufficient cash flow to get ahead. Many are challenged to go outside the company for capital due to barriers to investor financing. For others, bank loans are difficult to get, entrepreneurs worry about taking on debt, and/or offered interest rates are high. Many are interested in investors or the right type of outsiders, but lack understanding of how to go about raising this type of capital—particularly the rules, regulations and costs involved.


So, what are More >

North Central Regional Transit District Links New Mexico Communities


In 2003, the New Mexico State Legislature authorized creation of regional transit districts as an incentive to reduce dependence on personal cars. Four such districts now exist throughout New Mexico.


The North Central Regional Transit District (RTD), headquartered in 2012 in what had been an old, dilapidated building that was completely renovated into an architecturally smart, contemporary business center in Española, has become one of that city’s largest employers. The district’s board recently approved a sustainability plan that aims to transform RTD within five years into one of the greenest companies in the Española Valley.


The district’s bus service covers 10,079 More >

El Agua es Vida, the Acequias of New Mexico

An Exhibit at the Maxwell Museum, UNM Albuquerque


Alejandro López


El Agua es Vida, the Acequias of New Mexico, an exhibit that opened May 3 at the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, is, without a doubt, a “must see” for every New Mexican. It is indispensable because acequias, together with our land’s endless vistas, its searing sun on the horizon, its hills, orchards and chile patches, constitute essential parts of our landscape. Indeed, this landscape, against which we contemplate one another and our activities, is the cosmic stage upon which New Mexicans are privileged to live out our More >

A Dynamic Duo Do for Earth y Comunidad


Alejandro López


Dora Pacías and Lorenzo Candelaria of the South Valley of Albuquerque do a phenomenal job of demonstrating what two highly motivated, energetic individuals can accomplish in the seventh decade of life, having chosen to focus their energy on one (multifaceted) thing. In their case it is traditional organic agriculture—cultural and community renewal through holistic farming—two sides of the same coin.


Depending on the time of day or year, you might find them feeding chickens and gathering eggs, tending several acres of chile and maíz azul (blue corn), building hoop houses, filling out FDA forms, manually grinding several hundred pounds of maíz More >

EVERYDAY GREEN: Backyard Foraging


Susan Guyette


Before you pull up those backyard “weeds” for disposal, consider this: a rich healing potential may be at your fingertips. Whether these plants are viewed as an invasive weed or medicinal powerhouse is highly related to cultural worldview. These plants can be considered edible landscaping—plus, by not destroying the plant, you are actively saving the variety for future generations.


There are hundreds of edible and medicinal species in the Southwest. This article focuses on four, some of which are endemic to the Southwest while others are species introduced from other continents. All are nutritionally dense.


The Plants All Around Us


Purslane (Portulaca olearacea) More >

The Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument


On May 21, 2014, Carrie Hamblen, executive director of the Las Cruces Green Chamber, was invited to speak at the signing of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument designation at the Department of the Interior in Washington D.C. She was the only speaker from New Mexico, taking the microphone with Council on Environmental Quality Acting Chair Mike Boots, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, and President Barack Obama. Below are her remarks.


Thank you President Obama, Secretary Jewell, Senator Udall and Senator Heinrich, and many of the distinguished individuals here today that brought us to this point.

There are three things More >

Op-Ed: Our Land Is Worth More Than That


Ursula Beck


The Taos Tax Assessor’s office recently held a public forum attended by 300 people to explain its current adverse rulings impacting some of our precious agricultural lands. This was an opportunity for the community to voice its concerns and put a human face on just what a tragedy this truly will be unless a more humane way forward can be found.


One couple stood up and said that, without any warning or communication of any kind, their taxes had gone from $300/year/acre to over $3,000. They simply received a formal notice stating that unless they paid this new amount More >

OP-ED: Board of County Commissioners to Decide the Fate of La Bajada Mesa


Diane Senior


La Bajada Mesa, that prominent tabletop 15 miles south of Santa Fe along I-25, is still under threat of a proposed gravel strip mine. The mine application requires approval of the Board of County Commissioners and will be decided at a special hearing on Wednesday, June 11, 4 p.m., at the Santa Fe Convention Center, 102 Marcy St.

This strip-mine proposal met with massive public opposition at the County Development Review Committee (CDRC) hearing in March. An overflow crowd spilled into hallways and conference rooms, where television monitors broadcast the proceedings to spectators and to those awaiting their turn to More >