September 2016

Newbites – September 2016


UNIFY FEST – September 22-25 at Las Golondrinas

Nathan Crane is an award-winning author, filmmaker and inspirational speaker who is motivated to help people experience healthy, sustainable, meaningful lives. He is a passionate advocate for collaboration among eco-conscious leaders, organizations, families and activists.


Crane has focused his heart, mind, energy and resources to produce UNIFY FEST, a four-day “transformational” festival dedicated to sustainable living. The festival will feature renowned musicians, speakers, workshop teachers, yoga instructors and indigenous leaders conducting ceremonies. The event will offer family, adult and children’s activities. Camping sites will be available.


In addition to inspiring people to live in harmony with the planet, Crane’s intention is to use funds raised from the festival to build a nonprofit community eco-school in Santa Fe where permaculture, organic food production, collaboration and self-reliance are at the heart of the curriculum. “We want to teach these important sustainable living skills to children and families so we can lead by example,” he says.


The festival is also intended to be an amazing multicultural party. Thousands of people from all over the world are expected to attend. Hundreds of volunteers will be trading their time for access to the festival. Local businesses will share products and services. Organic, vegetarian, vegan, raw and plant-based food options will be available for purchase.


UNIFY FEST will take place at Las Golondrinas, a historic ranch and living history museum in La Ciénega, south of Santa Fe. Detailed information and tickets to the alcohol-free event are available at


Center for Wisdom Healing
Qigong Opening in Galisteo

Qigong is an ancient Chinese health care system that integrates physical postures, breathing techniques and focused intention. It is related to tai chi.


This past spring, Mingtong Gu, a renowned qigong teacher and healer, bought the magnificent Vista Clara Ranch and Spa in Galisteo, New Mexico, and will be opening it as the Center for Wisdom Healing Qigong on Oct. 1. The new center is the manifestation of Master Gu’s long-held vision: a healing retreat center where people from around the world can gather to awaken and heal the body, mind and heart through daily practices and teachings of Wisdom Healing Qigong.


Inaugural festivities with Gu begin Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. at Santa Fe Community College. Admission is $15. A grand opening ceremony in Galisteo with speakers from various holistic healing backgrounds, local luminaries, music and dancing is open to the public at no charge from 2 to 5 p.m. on Oct. 1. That will be followed by a full-day workshop on Oct. 2. The center will offer a healing intensive retreat from Oct. 7 to Nov. 3. Detailed information about the grand opening weekend is available at or by calling 707.347.6489 or emailing


San Augustín Plains Water-Transfer

Plan Revived

A controversial proposal to pump more than 17 billion gallons of groundwater from west-central New Mexico will have public hearings. The State Engineer’s Office has asked the Augustín Plains Ranch, LLC, the commercial venture behind the water-transfer plan, to, within 60 days, publish notices of its application to pump and transport water. The notices will require a comprehensive study and public hearings.


Augustín Plains’ first application was rejected two years ago, when the State Engineer said that the proposal was vague and its effects could not be evaluated. The application was met with fierce opposition from ranchers and residents who think the “water theft” would render their wells useless. They consider the proposal too speculative and have vowed to fight the new application.


The developers propose to drill 37 wells on 17,000 acres they own near Datil. Water from the aquifer would be pumped via a 140-mile pipeline to municipalities in central New Mexico and eventually discharged into the Río Grande. They compare the plan to the San Juan-Chama project and tout it as “a sustainable source of water for generations of New Mexicans while securing habitats for protecting endangered species and creating economic benefit to local communities.” Project director Michel Jichlinski also said the project would make New Mexico a leader in innovative water-resources development technologies. Jan Pelz, director of the wild rivers program for WildEarth Guardians said, “This project is just another way to exploit our rivers and underground water resources in the same manner that has occurred for the past century.”


Up to 10 days after the notices are published, the public can file objections by writing to the Office of the State Engineer, 5550 San Antonio Drive NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109-4127.


NASA Study Identifies Four Corners
Methane Leak Sources

According to a new NASA study, half of the Delaware-sized cloud of methane that hangs over the Four Corners region is primarily coming from 250 sources, including leaking well pads, storage tanks, pipelines and gas processing plants. Moreover, the study reveals that the worst 25 sites alone are responsible for a quarter of the pollution. The findings refute industry claims that ruminant animals such as cattle, along with landfills and natural seeps, are largely responsible. But in a prepared statement, an industry representative said the study “addressed a limited set of methane sources” and more research is needed.


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released rules for newly constructed oil and gas sites. The EPA also has begun a process to regulate methane emissions from existing oil and gas sources. Forthcoming regulations from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will require the industry to stop venting, repair leaky infrastructure and monitor emissions on public and tribal lands.


Methane from the Four Corners is allegedly having global and local impacts. The greenhouse gas is 87 times worse for the climate than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period. Local health impacts range from nosebleeds to nausea to asthma and long-term medical problems. Methane leaks also hurt the industry’s bottom line. An estimated $227 million in natural gas is wasted each year, just on federal lands.


One Woman, One Case, Once A Year

The Southwest Women’s Law Center (SWLC), in collaboration with the Women’s Bar Association and New Mexico Legal Aid, has developed a project that provides New Mexico licensed attorneys an exciting way to satisfy their pro bono requirements with the State Bar while supporting their communities. Supported by a grant from and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the One Woman, One Case, Once A Year project’s goal is to get at least 300 attorneys to help at least one woman access the legal system in a case that will advance women’s economic security and social justice. Examples of relevant cases include equal pay for women, fair workplace practices for pregnant workers, equal access to healthcare and access to domestic-abuse leave when necessary for a woman’s safety.


Women earn approximately 79 cents for every dollar that a man earns. Thirty percent of the children in New Mexico live in poverty, and 14 percent of those children live in extreme poverty. One way to improve the well-being of children is to improve the economic security of single-parent households headed by women.


In 2013, SWLC advocated for a strong Fair Pay for Women Act in our state. After the act became law, SWLC educated communities about the act. As a result, women who work for state agencies who claim they are not being paid equally filed several cases. The lead case, Lucero v. Department of Corrections, is currently before the New Mexico Court of Appeals. The department is taking the position that employees cannot seek relief in court because the state has not waived immunity to be sued under the act.


A group of attorneys, in collaboration with SWLC, have agreed to use their pro bono hours to write an amicus brief. The final determination will have a wide-reaching effect on the economic security of women in New Mexico. For more information, call 505.244.0502, or visit




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