November 2012

Clearing the Air Around Clean Energy

 

Allan Oliver

 

Probably the best laugh line in the third and final presidential debate came when President Obama joked about “way too many commercials.” What’s less humorous is that this daily saturation of attack ads has left objectivity as its first casualty, especially in the area of energy. So it’s time to clear the air around clean energy in New Mexico.

 

Myth: The closure of Schott spells the end of the solar sector in New Mexico

 

Not even close. While intense competition for module sales and resulting low prices contributed to Schott’s decision to exit the soar market, other NM manufacturers are thriving More >

Op-Ed: Concerns About Our Water

 

Raphael Weisman

 

Do you realize that the hamburger we buy from a fast food joint required 600 gallons of water to produce? Our morning cup of coffee requires 74. On average, in the USA and Canada, we each use about 150 gallons a day per person. The average Kenyan uses only three gallons.1 Ever so often I catch myself (and notice others) running unused water from the faucet while multitasking in the kitchen! It is crucial to re-evaluate and change our water use habits. Robert Redford writes in the foreword to Blue Planet Run: “Many people in the developed world still assume More >

Santa Fe Water Use Among Lowest of Western Cities

 

Laurie Trevizo

 

 

The National Weather Service recently confirmed that the 24 months between August 2010 and August 2012 were the hottest and driest since recordkeeping started in the 1890s. Despite two years of persistent and severe drought conditions pushing peak daily demands to all-time highs, Santa Feans used an average of 107 gallons per-person per-day in 2011, well below the national average of 150, and lower than the amounts used in most other similar western cities. The gallon-per-capita-per-day, or GPCD, calculation includes not only residential, but also commercial, industrial, institutional and irrigation water use. Santa Fe residential indoor use accounts for More >

Slow the Flow, Spread the Nutrients

 

Earl James

 

Over-grazing. Flooding. Erosion. Fire suppression. Words that conjure up the thrice-told tales of woe in New Mexico and the greater Southwest, with our rivers and creeks morphing from life-giving, nurturing streams of clear, nutrient-rich water to eroding, muddy flashes that throw riparian ecology out of whack and destroy small-scale local economies that depend upon a healthy river.

It’s not that no one has been paying attention, or that no one cares. In fact, even though it rarely makes for news headlines, protecting, managing and restoring our precious waterways is a major industry, and for years environmental advocacy groups have been More >

The Land Quilt

 

Jack Loeffler

 

Imagine that you are aloft, gently drifting in an early autumnal breeze a half mile above the Earth, the jagged scarp of the watermelon mountain to the east, the dark finger of the Southern Rockies pointing from the north, the great super volcano of the Valles Caldera profiled to the northwest, another volcano known to the Navajo as Tsoodzil rising from the west, the broad stretches of high-desert flatland that cradle these ranges extending endlessly to the south, this flatland bisected by a long ribbon of riparian lushness nurtured by the muddy waters of the Río Grande. You stand in More >

Feeding Nine Billion People Without Destroying Nature

 

Courtney White

 

According to the United Nations, there will be nine billion people on the planet by 2050, which raises a serious question: How are we going to feed them without destroying what’s left of the natural world, especially under the stress of climate change?

Australian farmer Colin Seis has an answer: intensify food production by managing land in nature’s image. That might sound like a mouthful, but consider the heart of this issue. If humans can’t find enough food, fuel, fiber and fresh water to sustain themselves, they’ll raid the environment to secure them, pushing all other values that we More >

Southwest Women in Conservation

 

Event Honors New Mexican Activist Nadine Padilla on 50th Anniversary of Silent Spring

 

Staci Stevens

 

On a sunny September morning at the Randall Davey Audubon Center and Sanctuary in Santa Fe, more than 100 people gathered for the annual Southwest Women in Conservation conference, hosted by Audubon New Mexico. The crowd was composed mostly of women from varying backgrounds, all brought together by a common purpose—to celebrate the accomplishments of women in the conservation movement.

Now in its third year, Audubon’s Southwest Women in Conservation event was established as a platform to recognize and honor the diversity of work being done by women in the field More >

FRESH AIRE

 

The Energy of Agriculture: Calories and Community

Miguel Santistevan

 

The growing interest in renewable energy often overshadows the most basic relationship we have with energy: the energy that comes from our food. This is the energy that ultimately provides the wherewithal for us to even think about renewable energy, develop its infrastructure and advocate its application. Our current national food system provides the “low hanging fruit” for understanding and addressing our energy consumption patterns. As all of us have to eat, through the food choices we make we can lower our “ecological footprint,” or the impact our food choices have on the More >

New Solar Technology in New Mexico

 

Rural Water Pumping

 

What if we could create a local photovoltaic industry in rural communities?

 

Robert G. Hockaday

 

Our engineering company, Energy Related Devices, has developed and patented inventions to be incorporated into the home: solar water pumping, solar skylights, attic vents and insect repellants. In December 2011, because of an invitation from the city, we moved from Los Alamos to Tucumcari, New Mexico to get closer to our customers: ranchers and farmers.

Ranching and farming in NM, because of the 13-plus -year drought, has been devastating. Our community needs to adapt and diversify. This may seem like an economic development dream, but More >

Santa Fe Indian School Programs Promote Native Sustainability

 

School Wins Fruit Orchard Contest

 

Anthony Dorame Jr.

 

In modern society, the concept of sustainability and ideas about being “green” have become buzzwords used by people to suggest a “new” way of thinking about the ways we interact with the world around us. For Pueblo Indians, principles of sustainability have always informed the way in which we live our daily lives. Pueblo ways of understanding make it clear that we are only a small part of a complex system of relationships. The foundation for this understanding is sustainability on all levels.

This philosophy is being used at the Santa Fe Indian School More >

Battling Youth Nature Deficit Disorder

 

By Ernesto Prada and

the Santa Fe High School Advocacy Journalism class

 

Nature deficit disorder (NDD) isn’t something you can be diagnosed with or take medicine for. Although it is linked to rising rates of childhood obesity, attention deficit disorder (ADD) and type 2 diabetes, it’s not a medical condition. NDD is linked to the lack of spending time in the natural world and especially to a sedentary lifestyle.

Eighty percent of youth under 21 spend an average of 6-8 hours in front of a screen, mostly indoors—be it a TV, cellphone, computer or iPod. Many teens who have heard about More >

Converting Your Home to Solar

 

Craig O’Hare

 

 

Tired of dirty, climate-disrupting coal-fired electricity coming into your home every day? Go solar! Solar is a lot less expensive and a lot more cost-effective than most people realize.

 

Today there is a “perfect storm” of solar systems costing as much as 50 percent less than they did just five years ago, combined with the continued presence of substantial financial incentives. A 30-percent federal and 10-percent state income-tax credit (both good through 2016), sales tax exemption, and a PNM solar production incentive are all in effect.

 

Just a few years ago, rooftop solar panels were primarily the domain of the relatively More >

RECYCLE/ENERGY NEWSBITES

 

Santa Fe Volkshouse Wins 2012 EcoHome Design Award

Mojarrab Stanford Architects was honored last month at the Builder’s Choice Awards in Washington, D.C. by EcoHome, a magazine of the American Institute of Architects. The Santa Fe firm’s VOLKsHouse, the first certified Passive House offered and sold in New Mexico, was awarded a Grand Design Award in the national green-building magazine’s annual design competition.

The award highlighted VOLKsHouse for its energy and cost savings and praised it as “a viable example of how production housing might move affordable into the realm of net-zero energy.” The home is one of only about 15 Passive More >

Social Enterprise Gets Real

 

Vicki Pozzebon

 

What do you get when you bring together some earthy do-gooders, a few old hippies, some social entrepreneurs, a group of investors, some amazing locally grown food in a setting deep in the British Columbia woods on a remote island that requires four forms of transportation to get to? A Social Venture Institute experience like nothing you’ve ever seen.

 

Social Venture Institute (SVI), produced by Renewal Partners from Vancouver, British Columbia is an annual gathering (now in its 17th year) of all of the above—people who make things a little better in the world through social enterprises, nonprofit work or putting More >

But, This One Goes to 11

 

Scaling Your Social Venture” by author Paul N. Bloom

 

Book Profile by Drew Tulchin and Sean Dehan

 

 

Just like an athlete must have his or her body fit and healthy to attempt a new challenge, a social entrepreneur must have a sound and healthy program or idea that is poised to be rolled out, not something that is shaky or untested.”1

 

Chances are you know, are a customer of, or have a friend who works for a social enterprise in New Mexico, but had never (until now) considered this term.

 

Social Enterprise” denotes the use of market or commercial strategies to maximize improvements More >

Faren Dancer’s… Unicopia Green

Future Memory… Revival of the Common Sense

 

In taking the liberty to stargaze into a future that currently poses more question marks than knowable answers regarding the wellbeing of Planet Earth and its countless inhabitants, a satisfying sensation is aroused when aligning with the potential that doomsday, as a prediction of our demise, is merely a fear-based program easily replaced with an uplifting picture of human and planetary evolution.

Given exploding population, the thrust of countless undeveloped countries longing to acquire the materialistic benchmarks of Western society, the maddening pace of resource exploitation and the accompanying greed at the cost of More >

Newsbites

  Map Monitors Emissions Down to the Building Level

Policymakers have a new useful environmental engineering tool to help reduce carbon emissions. High-resolution software developed by Arizona State University allows researchers to map carbon emissions at a by-the-building level.

The US is the largest producer of carbon emissions in the world. According to the World Bank, in 2008 the US produced almost 5.5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, nearly one-quarter of the global total. Since 2008, however, carbon emissions in the US have fallen to the lowest point in 20 years. This may be attributed to the economic slump following More >

What’s Going On? – Albuquerque

  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. Indianpueblo.org/100years

 

Nov. and Dec.

Retrofitting for Energy Efficiency Classes

UNM Continuing Ed. Div., 1615 University Blvd. NE

Daytime and evening courses cover building analysis, resources, measuring costs, savings and how to write a retrofit plan. $99-$149. Some scholarships available. For schedule, email jkare@unm.edu or 505.842.1462.

 

Nov. 4, 1-4 pm

Citizens Climate Lobby Training

The Source Albuquerque, 3538 Anderson Ave. SE

With CCL Exec. More >

What’s Going On? – Santa Fe

  SANTA FE

 

Nov. 2, 5-10 pm

Day of the Dead

Lucky Bean, Sanbusco Center

Procession, gathering (5 pm), shrine to women, music, vendors and more until 10 pm. 505.988.9244

 

Nov. 2-4

Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival

SF Community Convention Center, 201 W. Marcy

14th annual event includes Trash Fashion & Costume Contest (Fri., 7 pm – tickets $15-$20: 505.988.1234, ticketssantafe.org), juried adult & kids art exhibit, kids make & take recycled art activities, and art market for eco-gifts (Fri. 5 pm-9 pm – $5.), Sat. 9-5, Sun. 10-5: free). www.recyclesantafe.org

 

Nov. 3

TEDx AcequiaMadre

The Screen, SFUAD

Highlighting innovation in technology, entertainment and design, featuring local speakers. Intended to engage northern New More >

What’s Going On? – Here & There

 

HERE & THERE

 

Nov. 16 Application Deadline

No. Rio Grande Natl. Heritage Area Grant Funding

Eligibility: Tribal and local governments and other local and private entities working to conserve cultural, historical, archeological and natural resources in Rio Arriba, Santa Fe and Taos counties.

Info or application package: riograndeoffice@windstream.net, 505.753.0937, www.riograndenha.org

 

Nov. 3-4, 9 am-5pm

Dixon Studio Tour

Art & Craft. Meet the artists and see examples of their work at the Collected Works Show: Nov. 2, 5:30-7:30 pm at the Toolshed (1/2 mile from the hwy. 68/75 intersection). 505.579.4671, www.dixonarts.org

 

Nov. 9-11

Move to Amend Southwest

Denver, Colorado

End corporate rule. Legalize democracy. Regional gathering of activists and supporters. Carpools available. More >