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News & Views

from the

S u s t ai n abl e S o u t h w e s t

B e y o n d 2012: W i s d o m

from the Origins The Mayan Calendar and the Future of Humanity

G reenbuild C onference • G ifting L ocal The Río Grande Returns • A Garden of Change December 2012

New Mexico’s Fifth Largest Circulation Newspaper

Vol. 4, No. 12


Green Fire Times • December 2012

Vol. 4, No. 12 • December 2012 Issue No. 44 Publisher Green Fire Publishing, LLC

Skip Whitson

Managing Editor Seth Roffman Art Director Anna C. Hansen Dakini Design Copy Editor Stephen Klinger Contributing Writers Emigdio Ballon, Charles Bensinger, Mark Chalom, Nikki Garcia, Susan Guyette, Earl James, Dr. Japa K. Khalsa, Jack Loeffler, Kevin Lynn, Glenn Aparicio Parry, Vicki Pozzebon, Seth Roffman, Elizabeth Sanchez, Drew Tulchin

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Contents BEYOND 2012: Wisdom from the Origins – The Mayan Calendar and the Future of Humanity . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. 5 LUCA’s Dream. . .. . .. . .. . ... . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . ..8 Saved in Time - Book Review. . ... . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 11 A Report from Greenbuild 2012.. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 12 The Big Gorilla . . .. . .. . .. . . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 14 Have Your Money Go Local This Holiday Season. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. 16 Everyday Green: Gifting Local . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 17 The Río Grande Returns . . .. . . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 18 Overcoming Greed . . .. . .. . ... . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 19 The Tesuque Pueblo Seed Bank. .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 21 The Local Voice: Urban Farming in the Heart of Santa Fe. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. 22 Declaration of Commitment to Indigenous Peoples . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 26 Nutrition and Wellness Tips. . ... . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 26 Newsbites . . .. . .. . .. . .. . ... . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . ..15, 35, 37 What’s Going On. . .. . .. . .. .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 38


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From the Editor


s author and “aural historian” Jack Loeffler says in his LUCA’s Dream article in this edition of Green Fire Times, “We who reside in the landscape presently known as New Mexico live in a state of grace. Biodiversity and cultural diversity abound. Indigenous mind, scientific mind, artistic mind, musical mind, sustainable mind, conscious mind live in overlapping cultures of practice that invigorate a level of cognitive diversity unique on our planet… We are presently the keystone species,” Loeffler says. “But for how long?” And so, with all the interest and anxiety around the rumors that the world will end on Dec. 21, 2012, when a 26,000-year cycle known as the Long Count in the Mayan calendar comes to a close, it is fortuitous, if not surprising, that some important Mayan elders and spokespeople, as well as other Indigenous elders and internationally-known futurists came to New Mexico in September to participate in a conference on the subject. Glenn Aparicio Parry’s report and reflection on the Wisdom from the Origins Conference is featured here, starting on page 5.

As these visionaries attempt to prepare us to come into a state of readiness for a new era and to co-create our future, you will find other relevant articles within these pages. Santa Fe architect Mark Chalom’s report from the international conference Greenbuild 2012 has many potential applications for New Mexico and beyond. In the interest of slowing climate change, The Big Gorilla, by Charles Bensinger, asks us to consider some of the challenges of transitioning to a Renewable Energy Economy that we don’t often take into account. There are also articles on investing locally and “shopping with your values.” And in terms of food security, Vicki Pozzebon’s Local Voice looks at an urban farm project, which may well become the norm in our cities. Of course, as the Tesuque Pueblo Seed Bank article reminds us, this approach is nothing new to the Native cultures around the world.

– Seth Roffman

COVER: The Old Alvarado, Albuquerque, N M 1940 © Douglas Johnson • Obsidian Mountain, Abiquiu, NM • Green Fire Times is not to be confused with the Green Fire Report, an in-house quarterly publication of the New Mexico Environmental Law Center. The NMELC can be accessed online at:

December 2012 • GreenFireTimes



Green Fire Times • December 2012

Beyond 2012

Wisdom from the Origins

The Mayan Calendar and the Future of Humanity Story by Glenn Aparicio Parry • Photos by Seth Roffman


ecember 21st, 2012 is the end of time—the end of the world! But then again, it may only be the beginning of the next world—or the next cycle. Which is correct? Are we in the end times as prophesized by certain religious beliefs—or are we at the precipice of a new age—a golden age of peace and harmony? One thing is for certain: with a rash of weather events such as hurricanes Sandy and Katrina, the tsunamis in Japan and Indonesia, and political turmoil all over the world, something is shifting—even if we don’t know what it is. Seeking clarity, The SEED Institute think tank sponsored a large conference this past September called: Wisdom from the Origins: The Mayan Calendar and Other Prophecies on the Future of Humanity. SEED’s board and conference organizing committee convened a group of more than 35 pre- Woman Stands Shining (Dine) and grandmothers (l-r) Mona Polacca, Agnes Baker Pilgrim and Flordemayo senters, including six members of the International Council including Barbara Marx Hubbard. “We are part of the Noosphere, or thinking of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers, Don Alejandro Cerilo Oxlaj Pérez (head of the layer of Earth,” she told us, and she herself was grateful for “having lived long Maya Council of Elders of Guatemaenough to see the noosphere almost ready to get its collective eyes.” Continuing, la), Mayan seer Ac Tah, Maori wisdom she urged us to “imagine for a moment that a critical mass of humans are conkeeper Dr. Rangimarie Turuki Rose nected to consciousness, in spirit, in love of each other and of Mother Earth” … Pere, Western visionaries Gregg Braden, and that “the birth of consciousness of all humanity, of all life on Earth, is conBarbara Marx Hubbard, Marianne Wilnected in consciousness.” liamson, James O’Dea and others, joined by 400 attendees at the Marriott PyraThe conference was expected to introduce a great variety of approaches—hence the mid in Albuquerque. This momentous name Wisdom from the Origins (plural)—but at the same time, the Mayan calgathering offered many pearls of wisdom endar was selected as a central theme. With all the brouhaha and misinformation and insights, as this story will attest. But surrounding the Mayan calendar, it was incumbent upon the conference organizers it did not offer final answers, for the rest to formulate a clear intent. We asked all presenters to serve the people in two ways: of the story may depend upon us, the human family—on how we think, act • by helping them prepare to be in a state of readiness for the future and relate with all who share this Earth • by helping them remember how to live in rhythm with the Earth during this critical time. The last point is crucial, because it underlies how we see time. And how we The so-called end of the Mayan calendar see time is implicated in shifting paradigms of what it means to be human, and all that may entail was a principal prophecies on the future of humanity, paradigms of consciousness, nature and so theme, and Don Alejandro and Ac Tah forth. Our perception of time is an important key to understanding the Mayan addressed this, as did other Mayan repcontinued on page 6 resentatives, Grandmother Flordemayo, Tata Pedro Cruz, José Jaramillo, and Don Gaspar Xiu, the latter a legitimate heir of Mayan kings. As it turned out, Mayan seer Ac Tah the Mayans collectively refuted the idea st that the world might end this Dec. 21 , but they did offer guiding principles for living in tune with the energies of the day and all our relations according to their calendar. The conference went far beyond the Mayan calendar, ultimately, featuring a wide variety of cultural views of the future of humanity, specific cultural prophecies on future events, and new paradigms of consciousness from both the presenters and attendees. In truth, the event was not only a conference, but also “an activation of consciousness,” as Sharry Shipe, one of the key volunteers, opined. Her sentiment was quickly echoed by Sequoyah Trueblood, who spoke early on about “the knowledge that was in him for a long time before he realized it was there”—clearly implying that those who were listening had the same opportunity to awaken to what he succinctly named “Great Thanks, Great Peace, Great Love.” Many others spoke about the unique opportunity that exists at this time in human history,

Futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard

December 2012 • GreenFireTimes


W isdom

from the

O rgins continued from page 5 “wisdom from the origins,” or “Original Instructions” for how to live in harmony and balance with the ecosystemic changes of the Earth.

It was then that I realized what had created the divide between Western and Indigenous consciousness. To Western consciousness, the meaning of “original” has become bound up with time and progressive forward movement. Although it can still refer to a place of origin, “original” has increasingly come to represent something new that has not existed before—which is completely divorced from “origin.” The Western view of origin is about the beginning of time, not place, but to Indigenous consciousness, a divorce from origin has not occurred (at Maori wisdom keeper Dr. Rose Pere (standing) responds to Marianne Williamson (r) least not as much, for when it does occur, in a very real sense that person ceases calendar and much of the cultural diversity of the conference. This is both why to be indigenous, which literally means “connected to the Earth,” connected to I led a concluding dialogue on the subject at the conference and what I want to place). A Native understanding of origin is much more of a place than a time. delve more into now. The primary reason It is important to realize at the outset that our current concept of time as linear is why the West has so not the way humanity (even Western humanity) has always thought of time—and it much trouble underis also not the only way we can or necessarily always will think of time. The way we standing the Mayan think of time is never a given; it is always a cultural choice. calendar is not only that our way of thinkI first began to give due consideration to the subject of time during SEED’s Laning about time is comguage of Spirit conference, which began in 1999 and continued for 13 consecupletely different than tive years before giving birth to the Wisdom from the Origins conference. The the Mayans—it is also purpose of those gatherings was to bring together Native and Western scientists because we assume our to explore the underlying nature of the cosmos in extended dialogue sessions. way is correct. But the In the inaugural conference, Leroy Little Bear, a Blackfoot elder and moderator, Mayans are the real posed a seemingly innocent question. He asked: “Is it possible to have an original timekeepers, and I thought?” mean “real” because A curious thing happened at that moment. The Western people in the room, what they measure is with rare exception, tried to think of something brand new, something that had real nature. They keenly Uqualla (Havasupai) participated in a youth group session never been done before or said before. The Indigenous people, on the other hand, observed the patterns of took the question as an invitation to reconnect with a deep place of origin, as in nature to be composed of a myriad of recurring cycles on Earth and throughout the cosmos. In other words, time is a circle—something once universally understood, even in the West. In reality, the Mayan calendar can never end because Birthing a New Era time, as the ancients understood, unfolds in the energy of a circle, emergent from n Dec. 22, 2012, millions of people around the world are expected to take a particular origin and radiating outward, much like the rings of a tree or ripples part in a rite of passage marking the end of a 26,000-year cycle reflected in in water. the prophecies and calendars of many spiritual and Indigenous traditions. They


will celebrate the birth of a new era for humanity—“day one” of a planetary shift into a solution-oriented sustainable future. They believe that this event will lead to innovative social and technological efforts in 2013 focused on positive change.

Author Barbara Marx Hubbard and many other well-known futurists have been engaging people in the movement. Says Hubbard, “We will either move toward a more sustainable, compassionate and creative global system, or we face the real possibility of devolution and destruction of our life-support system and much of life on Earth—within our children’s lifetime. This dangerous reality is motivating us to enter into what I call the first age of conscious evolution—that is, evolution by choice and not by chance. It is a great wake-up call for the maturation of humanity.” Hubbard’s new book, Birth 2012 and Beyond, explains the vision in detail. Learn more at The global shift celebration in Santa Fe will take place on Dec. 22 from 1-5 pm at 505 Camino de los Márquez. There will be a live video stream of the Birth 2012 event in Los Angeles. For information, email

What happens when you take a calendar based on natural cycles of change and then try to convert it to one based on an entirely different premise—that time is linear? You can’t do it, and here’s why. Linear timekeeping assumes that events occur in a sequence independent of the observer. Time is abstract—something that happens apart from our direct involvement. But for the Maya, the essential message of the calendar is that we are one with the cycles of the cosmos— that time is within us as much as outside of us. We smugly think our way of thinking is superior without ever realizing how similarly we once thought to Indigenous peoples, and how recently we have adopted our current view. It was only in the Renaissance that we adopted a new way of thinking of time and space, specifically with the invention of linear perspective in art. It was only then that a linear view became the conventional or “realistic” way to look at the world. The lines of perspective literally represent the future, which is off in the distance; in other words, the future is facing forward—made up of the distance between objects in a visual field. What is between the objects is called empty space. continued on page 24


Green Fire Times • December 2012

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December 2012 • GreenFireTimes


LUCA’s Dream

Jack Loeffler


he Earth has circled around the Sun about three-and-a-half billion times since that special molecule evolved within the primordial milieu that characterized our planet some 10 billion or so solar years after our Universe blasted into being. This tiny dot of RNA was equipped with a genome. It could replicate itself. It was alive. It was LUCA, the Last Universal Common Ancestor of all life that has spanned time on our now-living planet Earth. We, as the human species, retain elements of the genetic code that resided in LUCA. Metaphorically, LUCA was the seed of life that gradually blossomed into trillions of species, and lately—relative to geologic time—consciousness. LUCA spawned Life and Consciousness, a complex dimension through which the Universe may be perceived, contemplated and partly understood, perhaps a window through which our Universe may perceive itself. We are the recipients of LUCA’s potential. We, and the rest of life on Earth, are the cast of LUCA’s dream. Long may it last. In the Biblical Book of Genesis, creation lasted seven days. It took us a week to get from nothingness to here. Referring to the great Tome of Science, if we symbolically conceive of 500 million years as a day, it took six days for LUCA’s dream to span the planet with small unicellular organisms—and on the seventh day, the Cambrian Explosion burst upon the planet, marking the dawn of the Paleozoic Era when multi-cellular life forms gradually fomented over time into ever more complex organisms, thwarted occasionally by great spasms of extinction, diversity of life always recovering until humanity blinked into being, achieving species-hood only a couple of hundred thousand years ago. Evolution, as interpreted by Charles Darwin and his intellectual descendants, provides a conscious reflection on LUCA’s evolving dream that presently results in recognition of the miracle that exists in our tiny space in the Universe. If life and consciousness prevail here on our planet Earth, con-


sidering that our Sun is but one of 200 billion or more stars in our Milky Way galaxy, and that the Milky Way is but one of 100 billion or more galaxies in the Universe, human imagination still has a very long way to go to grasp the potential that exists in the Universe. And in the great Tome of Science, new pages are being written about the possibility of other concurrently happening universes, perhaps infinite in number.

inclined to pursue accumulating wealth. Some were more successful at this than others, thus social hierarchy became an organizing factor in human culture. Perhaps this is in keeping with humanity’s place in the animal kingdom. Civilizations appeared autonomously around the world. Curiously, evidence reveals that many civilizations waned during periods of extended drought—something to bear in mind as we challenge the elements.

Until we recognize that our ecology is far more important than our economy, we will not arrest the juggernaut of our own invention. This is our glimpse into the Great Mystery available to be pondered at any moment as long as we live, and as long as we survive as a species… Now is not the time to squander our ponderings by focusing on so much that is irrelevant, relative to our continued existence. We are currently engaged in a time of hastening cultural evolution that far outstrips biological evolution. Our collective consciousness is presently offering an extraordinary palette of potential areas of focus. Our species is fragmented into highly diverse cultural systems of practice, themselves having blossomed, withered and re-manifested myriad times over the 15,000 or so years since the final days of the last Ice Age. Then we existed in bands of hunter-gatherers and were concerned that we owned no more than we could carry. Our scale of cultural perspective had yet to expand beyond subsistence necessary for survival. Evidence strongly suggests that we were egalitarians, that social hierarchy was thwarted by the need to practice mutual cooperation within the band and beyond, that tyrannical bullies were kept in check by the advent of weapons that could strike from afar. With the coming of the warming trends of the Holocene, so came the advent of agriculture. We gradually became more sedentary and settled into villages, towns and eventually cities, less inclined to the nomadic ways of our forbearers, more

Green Fire Times • December 2012

Concurrently, spiritual realms crystallized into religions. Many of the gods were taken out of Nature and relocated in heavenly or hellish realms available to human souls only after death. Gradually, much of the landscape was secularized. Human sense of kinship with the rest of life began (and continues) to wane. Thus we perceive ourselves as separate from LUCA’s dream, imagining ourselves to be the reason-to-be in this age we have dubbed the Anthropocene. Indeed, we are presently the keystone species… but for how long? That we as a species have achieved such an evolved level of consciousness is awe-inspiring. No one knows of other planets that are alive, let alone spawning life forms capable of consciousness. Surely we are not alone in the Universe, or even our home galaxy. Certain pages in the Tome of Science reveal that it is possible that billions of solar years hence, the Universe will rip apart, perhaps to re-assemble in a new incarnation. Before then, our Sun will have gone nova, ‘obliviating’ our planet Earth. Other pages reveal possible perspectives that we are but holograms dancing to the delight of elsewhere imaginations. Or that there are parallel universes mirroring our own. Or that the notion that our Universe, though appearing infinite, is rather but one of an infinite number of universes. The truth is, we are here and now. That tiny dot of life known as LUCA of billennia past has resulted thus far

in a level of complexity of life and consciousness and attendant technology and collective lifestyle that we as a species now strain the capacity of our planet to sustain. The last three centuries have been witness to a great rise in human population and industry, extraction and expenditure of non-renewable resources, energy consumption, pollution, scientific data, lengthening human lifespan, tempering infant mortality, medical arts, education, standard-of-living capability, sophistication of media, and now digital technology. The Industrial Revolution set the stage for the 20th century, wherein our human population more than tripled, as did human appetite and consumption. Today we are beginning to perceive the presence of global warming and climate instability. We face grave jeopardy because of our own carelessness and lack of timely response to warnings by James Hansen and other scientists who watched with dismay as CO2 levels continued to rise in spite of their repeated warnings. I personally think that the greatest single problem we must address is our system of cultural attitudes. Until we recognize that our ecology is far more important than our economy, we will not arrest the juggernaut of our own invention. We must achieve a steady state economy and stay further population growth if we are to establish any kind of sustainable balance within our planetary ecosystem. We have allowed economics to become the dominant force that now drives our collective perspective. A certain amount of avarice has crept in—a nasty word for a nasty human characteristic that defines the Midas approach to ultimate disaster. The territorial imperative is now defined in national and other political boundaries that carve the commons into unnatural apportionments, denying rather than welcoming recognition of kinship implied in LUCA’s dream. We are a crisis-driven species in a finite world. Our crises are more than plentiful, each tinged with a cultural bias. The keystone of our species-hood is showing points of stress and potential collapse. No matter where we look, there

we are, each of us surviving as best we can, our spoor in our wake, none of us leaving a traceless passage through life and consciousness—especially in the virtual world of the Internet. Consciousness is our greatest commons. It is filled with what we put into it: our thoughts, the words we utter, our writings, world and local news, documentary films, TV entertainments, arts and sciences, twitters, skypes, facebooks, cell phone calls, radio programs, musical compositions, our poetry, advertisements, spam— the shared perceptions of our senses, intellect, intuitions and emotions. In our “march of progress,” we have largely neglected the presence of Indigenous Mind offered by those of us who yet remain traditionally rooted to homeland, who continue to recognize kinship with all living creatures on our planet Earth that spawned LUCA three-and-a-half billion years ago. We who reside in the landscape presently known as New Mexico live in a state of grace. Biodiversity and cultural diversity abound. Indigenous mind, scientific mind, artistic mind, musical mind, sustainable mind, conscious mind live in overlapping cultures of

practice that invigorate a level of cognitive diversity unique on our planet. Almost all of us can look beyond our windows into the exquisite habitat in which we share membership. Every creature, every plant is kindred. Each of us is part of the flow of Nature that sustains our planet Earth, our solar system, our galaxy, our Universe from the microcosm to the macrocosm. That is the most significant concept that we can both digest and plant as a new seed so that we may grow to maturity from the grassroots and continue to evolve. We are part of LUCA’s dream. i Jack Loeffler is the author of numerous books, including Healing the West: Voices of Culture and Habitat. Jack Loeffler and Celestia Loeffler are contributors and co-editors of Thinking Like a Watershed, a recently released anthology of essays published by the University of New Mexico Press. For more info, visit

December 2012 • GreenFireTimes


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Green Fire Times • December 2012

Book Review

�aved in Time By Estella Leopold and Herb Meyer 2012, University of New Mexico Press Saved in Time by Estella Leopold and Herb Meyer, with contri-

butions by John Stansfield, is a wonderful account of the preservation of the Florissant fossil beds in Colorado. “In this small area (6,000 acres) are preserved in readily available form more species of terrestrial fossils than are known anywhere else in the world” (Entomology Department of American Museum of Natural History). The book describes that period within the Eocene epoch of 56 to 34 million years ago when the fossils were formed and preserved due to volcanic ash sedimentation that resulted from nearby Guffey Volcano. Great fossilized stumps, meters in diameter, fossil pollen and spores, and 1,700 insects and spiders are among the species immortalized at Florissant.

During the 19th century, tourists were lured there, and many fossils were pirated away. In the 20th century, Walt Disney himself purchased and relocated a magnificent stump that he presented to his wife on their 30th wedding anniversary. The fossil beds came into high jeopardy in the 1960s when real estate developers wanted to build houses on the habitat. Saved in Time reads like a mystery thriller wherein a handful of committed environmentalists (including Estella Leopold, younger daughter of Aldo Leopold) take on Park Land Company and a dozen or so private landowners to forestall the destruction. Should they win, the fossil beds would become a national monument administered by the National Park Service. Should they lose, Florissant would be ripped asunder, thus depriving the world of a gateway into an earlier time whose own story contributes greatly to the understanding of evolution of species. This tale is a splendid presentation of collaborative efforts between scientists, grassroots activists and forward thinking-attorneys. This was one of the most significant environmental battles waged in the American West, and one of the earliest, taking place just as the modern environmental movement was burgeoning. Saved in Time brings to mind John Nichols’ Milagro Beanfield War and Edward Abbey’s Monkey Wrench Gang. This true story with a happy ending (unless you’re a real estate developer) includes descriptive science and environmental ethics and harkens back to Aldo Leopold, who re-introduced conscience into the continuum of humankind’s relationship to homeland.

– Jack Loeffler

December 2012 • GreenFireTimes


A Report from Greenbuild 2012

© Mark Chalom

Mark Chalom

the roof cultivate fresh food and help build community. The elementary school integrated into the project has gardens that allow children to learn, grow their own food and be outdoors. Prefab wall sections minimize costs and maintain quality control. Multilevel apartments include an ingenious system of interlocking individual dwellings with operable windows on at least three sides of every unit. This maximizes natural ventilation and minimizes the use of air conditioning. There are also gardens on individual balconies. Mixed-use includes a food cooperative, wellness center, various retail spaces and healthcare facilities.


n mid-November I took a trolley car up San Francisco’s Market Street. Built in 1948 for another city, the trolley had been purchased by San Francisco, refurbished, and it is still operating as an electric-powered vehicle. It took me to the Mosconi Convention Center, where Greenbuild, the world’s largest international green building conference and expo, was being held. All three buildings were filled with exhibitions, education and poster sessions—and about 17,000 people. Greenbuild is presented by the US Green Building Council, which, along with the World Green Building Council, is responsible for researching, developing and promoting LEED

Green building is the new normal. (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building standards. LEED’s impact on communities, cities and human health has grown exponentially worldwide. It is now not only being utilized in homes but also in office buildings, schools, healthcare facilities, new construction, retrofits and historic renovations. All of this was showcased and discussed at the conference in a series of programs that spanned three days, with 15 tracks going on simultaneously. They dealt with issues of energy, how-to tools, research, performance, green jobs, finance, policy and social responsibility, among others. I was able to participate in 12 sessions, as well as the opening and closing plenaries. The day before the conference, there


was a pre-conference with a jobs fair and National Summit on Affordable Green Homes and Sustainable Communities. I was pleased to see a Santa Fe-based architect, Jamie Blosser, mentioned for her beautiful and successful housing project at Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo. Green housing builds green communities. “Rebuilding cities in a sustainable way is for everyone, and it is everyone’s right,” said Jean Quan, the mayor of Oakland. Affordable housing for $50/month rent makes no sense if the utility bills are $200/month. John Parvinsky, director of Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, presented various low-cost housing projects that are very successful in combining energy efficiency, clean air quality, local transportation, on-site healthcare, community centers and community gardens. Most of their projects develop infill and brownfield sites to minimize urban sprawl. Building near transportation, public schools and retail areas makes communities very pedestrian-friendly. All of the projects incorporate a large percentage of on-site electrical generation, solar hot water, rain harvesting and a 50 percent reduction in energy use over the typical building of that type. This organization has developed over 1,000 affordable green units in the Denver area. One project that particularly impressed me was Via Verde in the Bronx borough of New York. It is a large mixed-use, affordablerental and mid-range-cooperatives housing project. It started with a design competition and ended up with two international

Green Fire Times • December 2012

Photo courtesy USGBC

San Francisco, as seen from an early morning ferry commute to Greenbuild

Thousands of people crowded the Mosconi Center to learn about green building.

architectural firms working on the project. Via Verde terraces up from the south to maximize solar potential and daylighting, creating multiple interconnecting flat-rooftop accessible spaces. Diabetes and obesity are a large problem in that area. Access to healthy food is minimal and expensive. Community gardens and a fruit orchard on

Stairways are open and well lit, promoting exercise rather than elevators. This project received LEED Gold. The housing summit covered financing for green buildings, high performance standards, case studies, social interaction, new development, retrofits and greening of historic preservation projects, a very challenging task. I was overwhelmed by the advances made in green affordable housing. And this was the day before the conference officially opened!


The opening plenary set the stage for the entire conference. Rick Fedrizzi, president and CEO of USGBC and current chair of the World GBC, was upbeat and inspiring. There was no doom-and- gloom global-warming rhetoric. He presented the green movement as a force to bring equality to the world, promote jobs and safer, healthier environments for all. Via Verde, an affordable mixed-use project in the He correlated the green movement Bronx, New York.

Photo courtesy Via Verde

Sustainability is good for business, leads to better products, footprint reduction, employee satisfaction and productivity.

to other movements such as women’s suffrage and civil rights. “Like them,” he said, “we are going to succeed. Why? Because ‘We Are Right.’” This mantra rang out as strongly as Martin Luther King’s “I’ve climbed the mountain.” Said Fedrizzi, “We are part of an evolution. It’s not perfect; it will continue to evolve and improve. It’s an interdisciplinary movement— from corporations to radicals. The green movement will bring back our economy and provide better learning and work environments. It is our human right to know our buildings are safe and healthy, and they can go way beyond net-zero [energy generation]. It is our responsibility now to push our government to move toward a green economy.”

Gov. Pataki talked about how New York City has had hybrid buses that came out of performance-based standards. They didn’t tell companies how to solve the problem; they left it to companies to step up and suggest solutions for the city. Mayor Booker spoke about how green saves in many ways and has a multiplying effect. Green investments lower the cost of government and healthcare. All agreed that high goals need to be set on carbon emissions, standards need to be set to

© Mark Chalom

The next speaker was Rachel Gutter, director of the USGBC’s Center for Green Schools. She spoke of the many

Brezinski. They interviewed panelists such as Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, former NY Gov. Pataki, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, of California, David Kohler, president of the Kohler Company, and Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter. All talked about their understanding of the values of green building and the interrelationship between buildings and the world.

An electric car at Greenbuild 2012

exciting projects that are happening in schools. She said that they are safer, healthier, cleaner, and that children are learning. Teachers are showing up more and enjoying their work more because of green buildings. Students and communities are now demanding green high-performing buildings because they know they help lead to high-performing students. Gutter cited a number of case studies. Green schools also save money that can be put toward other educational needs. We Are Right. The opening plenary concluded with a series of panels moderated by MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika

drive up efficiencies, and information is needed to make better judgments and to educate consumers so they can make better choices. Biz Stone spoke about technology, communications and how Twitter allows for two-way conversations to advance the citizens of the world. The world is shrinking. We are now in the digital world, and we can use it to amplify voices, promote human rights, defeat hunger and inequality and assist in basic survival. David Kohler stated that sustainability is good for business, leads to better products, footprint reduction, continued on page


December 2012 • GreenFireTimes


The Big Gorilla

why slowing climate change is a much greater challenge than we’ve been willing to acknowledge Charles Bensinger


ecently I experienced a revelation, but it was a really unwanted revelation, one that I wish I had never had. Yet it was strangely liberating because it explained everything about why it will be so challenging to prevent climate change from overwhelming the Earth’s present biosphere. Here’s what happened. I thought to myself: What if certain devices actually exist that are, in fact, able to generate non-polluting energy, using universally available non-toxic substances and non-traditional physical properties of matter? Let’s propose that such devices might be relatively inexpensive to build and could render centralized coal- and gas-burning power plants and liquid and gaseous fossil fuels unnecessary. On one hand, this would be wonderful news. It would offer a bright ray of hope that we and our children might escape the worst agonies of catastrophic climate change. On the other hand, these devices would likely never become commercially deployed on a global scale, given the deeply entrenched and embedded nature of the fossil energy industry in our present global financial and political matrix. This is the potential showstopper that I don’t think we’ve been willing to seriously address.

Let’s just consider why the switch to a non-fossil energy future will be so difficult. Let’s mentally map the vast network of men, machines, materials and money that comprise the global empire that is the fossil fuel industry. Consider some of the parts: hundreds of thousands of gas stations and gas station vendors, fleets of tanker trucks, thousands of miles of transcontinental pipelines, hundreds of refineries and ocean-going tanker ships, tens of thousands of oil rigs and huge global companies such as Exxon Mobil, BP, Shell, Chevron and all their workers. Then there are coal miners, trucks, equipment and railroads that haul the coal, power plants that burn coal, and the electrical transmission systems. And consider the natural gas drilling rigs, pipes and equipment, fracking liquids, trucks, tanks, workers, meter readers, utilities, etc. That’s the industry side. Then there are the state governments, which make 12 cents to 15 cents on every gallon of gasoline or diesel fuel, while the federal government gets another 15 to 18 cents per gallon. These excise taxes generate hundreds of billions of dollars annually, which go to pay for roads. Do we think the state and

federal governments want to lose that money? No way. And at the top are the investors and banks that finance the industry. Do we think they would be willing to forgo the potential profits from selling the $7 trillion worth of fossil fuel resources not yet extracted from the ground? This business is so big and so lucrative to all those involved that nobody would dare try to challenge or change it. Yet, and this is the really tragic part, our reliance on the combustion of fossil energy and the environmental impacts of its carbon dioxide emissions, if continued much longer, will take us all down. Without a global transformation in the way we make and use energy—soon—we will create a welldone, toasted planet within the next 80 years…or less. Indeed, according to the meteorologists, 2012 is on track to become labeled as the warmest year since record-keeping began. We can talk all we want about mass transit, riding bikes to work and changing light bulbs, but until we start addressing the big gorilla in the room, by name, we aren’t going to avoid going over the cliff. The Titanic didn’t sink because it had a communication problem; it sank because it had an iceberg problem. In this case the iceberg we’re not fully acknowledging is how the vast fossil energy empire comprises the economic and political bedrock of global civilization. It underlies all foreign policy, determines the viability and economic survival of nations, and fuels not only our lives but the global financial system as well. So what, if anything, can we do about this? Is there any historical precedent to transforming such a vast and firmly entrenched human reality? Two hundred years ago slavery was an accepted form of economic development and commercial activity. Indeed, much of the economy of the southern part of our new nation would not have been viable without the free labor provided by millions of kidnapped Africans. But moral men and women found this notion of human slavery unacceptable, regardless of the economic value of the economic institution. Consequently, courageous men and women fought doggedly and


Green Fire Times • December 2012

To have a chance to slow climate change and its potent disastrous impacts, we need to confront the full reality of our dependency on fossil fuels.

determinedly for a century to rid the nation and the world of this appalling human practice. And very unfortunately, part of the cost of this transformation in the United States was the Civil War. Will similar struggle and human sacrifice be required to free humanity and other planetary life forms we enjoy and depend on from slavery to the fossil energy paradigm? Will the cost of fossil fuel freedom someday be compared to the long, hard fight for human emancipation? I believe that to have a chance to slow climate change and its potent disastrous impacts we need to confront the full reality of the economic, social, financial and political dependency that our Faustian bargain with fossil fuels has created. We need to begin a serious global dialog on the ramifications of an intentional and phased disassembly of what is a vast, interwoven global network of infrastructure and economic/social/political dependency. It will not be easy and it will not likely be pretty. However, humans are a resourceful lot, and evolution favors those who learn to make the necessary changes and reinvent themselves in a timely manner. We can lose ourselves in succumbing to our perceived limitations, or we can strive to envision a fossil-fuel-free future. But the latter will require a prodigious effort rarely demonstrated in the course of human history. Perhaps we can draw strength from the fact that good men and women were able to fundamentally change the social, economic and political course of history once before. The challenge this time is not just winning the freedom of one class of humans, but ensuring the future viability of Earth’s great multitude of life forms. i Charles Bensinger is Biofuels Program Director at Santa Fe Community College. newworld@

Climate Change Impacts on Santa Fe Predicted

A preliminary assessment that looks at how projected climate change impacts may influence some of the key natural and human systems in the Santa Fe watershed has been released. The assessment also explores possible adaptive actions and details ongoing activities that will have a positive impact on the watershed and mitigate effects of climate change. Claudia Borchert, city hydrologist, and Dangar Llewellyn, from the Bureau of Reclamation, helped write the draft report, which says that climate change is predicted to have profound impacts on the watershed. “The degree to which we gracefully weather and adapt to the impacts will largely be determined by the preparations we engage in today,” the report says. According to studies, higher temperatures, earlier spring melts, reduced stream flow from diminished snowpack, increased evaporation, drier mid-to-late summers and more potentially catastrophic fires with subsequent flooding are already happening and are expected to increase. “These are things that will be the new normal,” Borchert says. Recommendations from a climate-change workshop that city, county and federal officials held in March include establishing technical advisory committees, including consideration of potential climate change impacts of all future government decisions, design and material usage considerations for roads and bridges to handle higher intensity runoff, water harvesting and increasing water system storage, installation of solar panels over parking lots to reflect heat and produce energy, establishment of a municipal energy system, improving ecosystem diversity, and a monitoring system for climate change. To read the report, visit

SF to Pilot New Sustainability Ratings System

In November, Santa Fe became one of the first of 29 US cities to test the new STAR Community Rating System, the first national system for assessing the sustainability of communities. The pilot program offers participants the chance to evaluate indicators of sustainability and set specific goals for improvement. This is the latest initiative pursued by the city to implement the Sustainable Santa Fe Plan, which includes goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing energy efficiency and local food systems, and improving the ability of the ecosystem to adapt to environmental change. The plan was adopted by the City Council in 2008. Bianca Sopoci-Belknap, chair of the Sustainable Santa Fe Commission, which drafted the 2008 plan, believes the program will allow the commission to expand its efforts in the community: “One of the first goals of the SSF Plan is to determine the current level of greenhouse gas emissions in Santa Fe. With the STAR Index, we will finally have a way to set those baselines and accurately measure our progress.” The new rating system is unique in its emphasis on comprehensive, community-wide assessment. Based on the “triple bottom line” principle that advocates “people, planet, and profit” as the three pillars of success, the system’s 45 objectives aim to capture the specific economic, environmental and social factors of sustainability. Some of the factors measured: energy efficiency in buildings, public transportation, job quality, wages and recycling. Students from Santa Fe Community College will assist the commission with data collection and input for the yearlong pilot. Participating in the program will allow the team access to innovative reporting tools, training opportunities and expert support to complete the assessment and set appropriate targets. They will also be able to collaborate with other progressive sustainability programs, including those in Portland, Ore. and Austin, Texas. Ratings assigned by STAR Communities can be used to attract tourists and green businesses. Says Sopoci-Belknap, “With this pilot, we have a real opportunity to ensure a healthy, sustainable future for Santa Fe. As we see more and more unprecedented weather events like the super-storm devastating the East Coast, it is critical that we respond by reducing impacts and preparing our community for the effects of climate change.” For more information, contact Katherine Mortimer, Sustainable Santa Fe Programs Manager at 505.955.2262, Santa Fe’s sustainability plan can be found at The STAR sustainable community program can be found at

December 2012 • GreenFireTimes


Have Your Money Go Local This Holiday Season

shop with your values Drew Tulchin and Kevin Lynn


oliday season is upon us, and— along with it—the annual spending spree. The National Retail Federation predicts Americans will spend over $586 billion, coming to a grand total of about $750 per person spent on gifts, holiday cards, décor and other holiday expenses. It’s difficult not to get swept up in the season of giving. This year, however, let’s all stop for a moment while we’re deciding what to buy for our loved ones and think: Does this purchase reflect my values? It’s easy to see how buying organic, fair trade or “all natural” food can be an expression of our values. But, how do we put our money where our mouth is, so to speak, for items beyond food and clothes?

national campaign to get our money out of big banks and into community banks and credit unions. To date, they have mobilized more than half a billion dollars. In 2010, the NM House of Representatives voted to move all of the state’s money into credit unions and community banks, recognizing that these local institutions are financially sound and actively work to generate wealth within their communities.

Money (www.moveourmoneyusa. org) has a tool that lists all the community banks and credit unions in your area. But why is moving your money to these institutions important? These localized institutions are the true “job-creators” of our local economy, but they can’t underwrite loans to small businesses without our capital. Give the gift of financial stability to your community by having your money go local.

Every dollar spent, whether it be on goods and services, or on your credit card, mortgage payment or auto loan, builds capital which finances our economy. It is your choice where those dollars go and whom they benefit—local small businesses or international corporations.

Buy local

Have you visited local bookstores, clothing stores, hardware stores, local artists and others? Don’t know where they are? There are lots of ways to find them. One option is Think Local’s local business search tool: www. . The NMGCC has a business directory. The Santa Fe Chamber highlights its members as well.

Move your money

Where is your money creating wealth for others? Is it in the hands of a multinational corporation, or in a community-centered institution? If it’s the former, maybe it’s time to move your money. Move Our Money USA is a


One of the earliest and most famous forms of time exchange is Ithaca, NY’s ‘Ithaca HOURS.’ These HOURS are actual printed scrip that many local businesses accept as an alternative form of currency. Over $100,000 worth of HOURS are in circulation. Sound like an interesting idea? Join the Santa Fe Time Bank, whose mission is to “strengthen our community by matching unmet needs with untapped resources and honor individual contributions by using Time Dollar Exchange.” Learn more at www.

Your money does make a difference

Here are three ways to make a local difference this holiday season. The benefits of shopping locally are well documented. According to the NM Green Chamber of Commerce (NMGCC), for every $100 spent locally, $45 will circulate throughout the community. However, if you had spent that same $100 at a national chain, only $14 would stay.

concept is simple: for every hour of your time you give, you receive a Time Dollar credit. That Time Dollar can be banked and spent when you need an hour of your neighbor’s time. TimeBank USA’s founder, Edgar Cahn, calls this “community weaving.”

They are FDIC-insured, so your money is safe. Local examples include LANB and State Employees Credit Union. Credit unions are member-owned and -controlled cooperative banks. Qualifying for membership in most of our local institutions is easy. Del Norte Credit Union and the Guadalupe Credit Union are two northern-NMbased options, and the Permaculture Credit Union accepts any member who believes in the values of Permaculture. Nearly 100 million people have accounts at credit unions, with over $800 billion in deposits. And, 2012 is the UN Year of the Cooperative. Want to see all your options? Move Our

Green Fire Times • December 2012

Exchange your time

What if instead of time equaling money, time just equaled time? Across the country, time banks are becoming more and more popular as communities recognize the value of traditionally overlooked and unpaid work. The

Whether you spend $1 or $1 million this holiday season, your choices are important. We can’t all make our own gifts, eat free-range organic turkey and use homemade gift wrap, which we share with our loved ones. However, we can choose how we spend our money. It can be a gift to your community, neighbors, friends and to yourself. Imagine how much good could be done—how many small businesses funded, how many jobs created, how many families sustained—if everyone were to have their money go local in at least one new way this holiday season. i Drew Tulchin and Kevin Lynn are with Social Enterprise Associates, a consulting firm helping businesses, NGOs, governments a n d f o u n d a t i o n s a ch i e ve f i n a n c i a l performance, social impact and environmental sustainability. Visit

How it is possible

Local solutions are possible and being considered. According to John Katovich of Cutting Edge Capital, the amount of money held in all bank accounts of all the people living in Alameda County is enough to fund the total small business requests in the US three times over. In other words, if all of the individuals in just that county were to move their money into institutions like credit unions and community banks that work to generate wealth in their communities by actively lending, small businesses across the country could afford to buy new equipment, upgrade their systems and hire new workers.

Local Economies


Gifting Local Susan Guyette

This holiday season may bring out our inclination toward hoarding versus generosity. The choice is ours to see scarcity or abundance, isolation or awareness of our relations in nature. The words of Rebecca Adamson, the Cherokee economist, point the way. Maintain the stance of abundance through tough times and through good times by having a spiritual base and good values—by caring about something other than yourself. That’s how you maintain abundance. Abundance comes not from stuff. In fact, stuff is an indication of non-abundance. Abundance is in the sacred; it’s in the connection of love. We will find abundance through hard times when we find each other.


Choosing to buy locally is not only gifting to your friends and loved ones but also to local producers. It is a gift to the community—as the future economy is being created with each local purchase. Instead of being caught up in the hecticness of the season, engage in compassion through gifts from our regional ecosystem.

Local purchases keep both land and traditions alive.

Celebrate the sacredness of the land and learn to take only what we need. This is a way to connect to true meaning. Food is a gift of nourishment from Mother Earth. Here are some of the handmade local items you can find at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market (Sat. and Tues. 8 to 1): ristras, wreaths, baskets (pine needle, red willow), beauty products, chicos, piñones, lavender sachets, mustard, pecan honey, red chile, green chile, almond garlic, cheese jarred in olive oil, apple cider, hand-knit hats, herbed vinegars, pinto and anasazi beans, salsa mixes, raspberry jam, ginger jam, red chile ginger, local honey, apple chips, cornmeal, atole, dried stew mixes, sage sticks,

candles, homemade soaps, lip balm, sheepskins, beaded feather fans, dried herbs and tinctures. Some of these items are artistically grouped in gift boxes. If you include a recipe or local history with your gift, the product will be transformed into an especially meaningful New Mexican treasure. The Artists’ Market on Sundays at the Farmers’ Market Pavillion (1 to 4 pm) features local authors’ books, teas, jewelry, paintings, photographs, aprons, scarves, hats, ponchos, tinwork and toys. In addition, the Farmers’ Market Gift Shop is open both Saturdays and Sundays during market hours. Santa Fe’s art markets are renowned worldwide and bring in thousands of tourists every year. Art shows abound during December—featuring New Mexico pottery, Native American arts, traditional Hispanic arts, weaving, paintings, photography, sculpture and contemporary arts. Here are a few:

Santa Fe Artists’ Market (Saturdays, 8 to 2) Manhattan at Market St. Dec 1-2: Winter Spanish Market, SF Convention Center, Dec 4: Last Minute Tin Gifts, Santa Fe Community College Dec 7: Poeh Winter Show (4-7 pm), Poeh Center Pojoaque Pueblo Dec 7-8: Contemporary Hispanic Winter Market, SF Convention Center, Dec. 8-9: Artisan Market Holiday Show (Sat., 4 to 8; Sun., 10 to 4) SF Farmers’ Market Pavillion Gallery art shows are listed online at events and to_Do/Winter or on’s calendar of events. A gift to local organizations helps keep both land and traditions alive. Consider the Santa Fe Farmers’ Institute, Center for Southwest Culture, Río Grande Return (gift packs support conservation efforts), Santa Fe Watershed Association, Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship, Bioneers, Nature Conservancy, Quivera Coalition, Rural Community Assistance Corporation, Audubon Society, Trust for Public Land, New Mexico Land Conservancy and People for Native Ecosystems. Some of the locally owned stores featuring NM traditional and contemporary products can be found in the following directories:,, www., and www.americansworking. com/nm

© Seth Roffman (4)


onnecting is the gift of life. As the seasons change and we celebrate ways to appreciate Mother Earth, the harvest and each other, opportunities to support local efforts expand. Before picking up a catalog or making the rushed trip to the big box, consider an outing to the farmers’ market, artists’ market or seasonal arts shows. Locally owned stores, roadside vendors and entrepreneurs often provide the uniqueness of northern New Mexico products.


The holidays are an opportune time to become attuned to life by the seasons. As beings in nature, we too are a part of nature. Eating mindfully during this time restores and replenishes the immune system and continued on page 33

Local and regional gifts from the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market and (top) Los Ojos Handweavers (

December 2012 • GreenFireTimes


The Río Grande Returns

Earl James


he Río Grande Returns—a deeply evocative phrase that vibrates the harp strings of our imagination, calling forth a reassuring image of a mighty river unleashed from its dams and ditches, flooding the bosques with nutrients, hosting great flocks of migrating snow geese and Sandhill cranes in the winter without the human-engineered interventions we now must use, like crutches or walkers, for the once-grand river. Of course, the imagination is one thing, and current on-the-ground reality quite another. It’s far too late in the history of human habitation of planet Earth to imagine that, left to itself, the Río Grande, or the Pecos, or the Gila or any of New Mexico’s rivers, or for that matter any forests, rivers, oceans, grasslands, and virtually any species alive on Earth today, will recover their former grandeur or numbers on their own. Since we have overwhelmed the planet’s resources with our consumptive ways, now it’s up to us, all of us, to return the favors we have received from the planet by managing its recovery, and that includes the Río Grande. What greater goal can there be than restoring the Río Grande—the lifeblood of New Mexico—to a healthy and life-sustaining state, even if with less mythic grandeur and lower flows than in our Hollywood version of its history? What is needed is more of an equal partnership with the river, a truly symbiotic relationship. With that in mind, Alan Hamilton, Conservation Director for the NM Wildlife Federation, decided to take on the task of imagining and restoring sustainable, river-honoring ways of life in the Río Grande watershed. As a conservationist and psychologist, he values both the power of on-the-ground action and the power of the imagination to move us to greater goals. This has given rise to an innovative approach to restoring the Río Grande: establishment of a nonprofit initiative that markets locally grown food products, beautiful coffee-table books about the river and artisan farming, and supports restoration projects. The Río Grande: An Eagle’s View is a new large-format book with more than 185 aerial photographs.

The organization is called Río Grande Return. It’s an online market, where $15 from each sale of a basket of locally produced food products goes toward funding projects to:

• restore or preserve the Río Grande watershed; • promote and protect traditional agricultural lands, farming practices, native seeds and products in the Río Grande watershed; and • promote new ways of educating people about the importance of protecting our agricultural lands, our rivers and the cultures that have historically developed in relation to the Río Grande and its waters. The balance of the sale price of each food basket goes to the local farmers and beekeepers that produce the goods. Río Grande Return has the added virtue of funding the organization’s work without depending upon the traditional sources from outside the communities. Perhaps most importantly, it is a tool that enables local farmers along the Río Grande to own the responsibility of caring for their own small stretch of the river and its watershed. Hamilton has recently been engaged in developing a coalition of 20 partners and 16 land tracts to apply for a $1 million grant from the North American Wetland Conservation Act. The grant was approved, and funding will begin flowing in 2013 to establish five conservation easements and one fee acquisition that protect in perpetuity 850 acres of palustrine emergent wetlands [non-tidal wetlands substantially covered with emergent vegetation], forested wetlands and upland buffer. An additional 1,007 acres of wetlands will be restored and enhanced on five tracts, including the Río Grande Corridor at Buckman, Santo Domingo Pueblo and the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. In total this con-


Green Fire Times • December 2012

tributes 1,857 acres of protected, restored and enhanced palustrine and forested wetlands, irrigated agriculture and wetland-associated uplands. This is only the first phase of a project with a goal of protecting and restoring between 8,000 and 10,000 acres of wetlands and buffers along the Río Grande. Critical funding for contracting a bird biologist to write many of the technical aspects of the plan and grant proposal came from Río Grande Return. In other words, from people like you and me who recognize the many values of becoming part of this unique and creative giving circle. With this important grant in place, Alan now plans to devote part of 2013 to building Río Grande Return into a much larger and more impactful entity. But even at its current level of operation, Río Grande Return has funded a number of other projects, including a restoration plan for the old Buckman town site west of Santa Fe, one of the few places in Santa Fe County where the public can access the Río Grande; enhancement of a spring in Diablo Canyon near Santa Fe, with the long-term goal of reestablishing the bosque through the principle of induced meandering and floodwater storage, and a project to restore a sacred spring of Zia Pueblo that had gone dry. There are several video clips on Río Grande Return’s website with Pueblo members talking about the importance of this work in the context of global warming. Which brings us back to sustainability. If there is any truth to the recent announcement from Los Alamos National Laboratory that NM and the greater Southwest is in the beginning of a 4050 year mega-drought, nurturing some form of livable river communities and agriculture along the Río Grande will be a major challenge. But restoration of the Río Grande is of central, singular importance to any vision of re-creating a sustainable regional economy in NM. Just try to imagine NM, historically and in Helping restore a spring at Zia Pueblo the future, without the Río Grande flowing through it—a completely dry riverbed from Taos to El Paso, perhaps filling slowly with discarded refrigerators and junk cars. You can’t really believe that would ever happen, can you? continued on page 20


Overcoming Greed

Nikki García and Elizabeth Sánchez Santa Fe High School Advocacy Journalism Class


merica has become attached to a consumer cycle. We buy. We sell. We waste. We feel empty. We repeat. Why? How can our greed be satisfied? Other countries are changing their ways, while we remain trapped in this dungeon of consumption, dragging the chains of want and “need.” The word is repeated so often that its meaning has become linked with overindulgence. In the UK, Canada and Australia, Buy Nothing Day has arrived! Each year it is celebrated the day after Thanksgiving. There are even public service announcements on national television. Buy Nothing Day was started by the culture-jamming group, AdBusters, the same group that helped start the Occupy movement last year. Teens are finding fun ways to spend Buy Nothing Day together and give back to their communities. Check out the youth-created videos on YouTube! Here in the US, where those PSAs are banned, you have the chance to give worthwhile gifts, while helping our natural and social economy (that means the Earth and our social lives among family, friends and neighbors). Usually, the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, we wait in lines and

stomp all over each other for items on sale. In the last few years there have even been incidents of guards, store employees and even a pregnant woman being trampled to death! Is a half-price X-Box worth a human life? Why can’t we share our love by hand-making something or by giving certificates of a promise to spend time together instead of buying something expensive that will later be thrown away for the next shiny new toy? We are living in a world of poverty. We should be helping out others less fortunate by donating time and money to programs such as Santa Fe’s Food Depot, St. Elizabeth’s shelter, or distributing supplies at Adelante. If we all just experienced even one day of buying nothing and realizing what we can actually accomplish with that money, maybe we wouldn’t be so deep in poverty, financially and spiritually. Every day we are overwhelmed with advertisements. They reach out to us through bus stop windows, coffee mugs and magazines—each screaming for us to desire more pointless stuff. Teens are constant victims of such media pressure. We crave only the latest and greatest. Fashion trends are constantly pushing old styles back in

time and to the back of a closet. New inventions are only desirable for brief moments in time. It is not enough to have last year’s iPhone but, rather, the new version, which usually only has slightly improved features. Adults and young children also play a major role in this consumer cycle by constantly using bribery of material goods to get what they want from each another. Our “First-World” country often forgets that other parts of the globe exist, and not only could they use some of our “garbage,” but that they often suffer in the process of manufacturing a lot of that stuff we consume. Here in the US, restaurants serve large portions, which end up wasted or thrown in the back of the refrigerator in Styrofoam; forgotten until the smell reaches past the milk carton. Buy Nothing Day inspires us to reach out and understand that the true spirit of the holidays does not involve materialistic items but, rather, being around those we love. One may be able to volunteer, lend an ear (or shoulder), and step outside into the Real World, knowing that a single voice truly can make a difference. Here are some resources you can google to learn more:

Buy Nothing Day, AdBusters, Free Range Studios, The Story of Stuff, The Story of Electronics, The Cost of Cool, Merchants of Cool. Here are some alternatives to do on Buy Nothing Day: • Spend time with family and friends •M  ake handmade presents for the upcoming winter holiday break • Type up and decorate fancy certificates of service (hugs, housecleaning, a walk together) • Take a hike in one of our wonderful outdoor places •C  ook food together, make adobestyle gingerbread houses •M  ake music together, take photos, play, laugh, frolic • Meditate on having a Zen Holiday! i Nikki Garcia is a senior. She plays of the varsity basketball team, f ixes cars and is interested in becoming a journalist. Elizabeth Sánchez, a sophomore honor student, has read her poetry at Poets in the Schools fundraisers, the Santa Fe Riverfest and at other events. She is dedicated to creating positive change in the world.

December 2012 • GreenFireTimes


The Río Grande Returns continued from page 18 And yet this central feature, this absolutely indispensable gift to the landscape we call NM and to its rich cultural history and traditions, is more or less treated as your average kitchen water faucet. Turn it on and out comes water. From where, nobody thinks about, assuming it will always be there and some distant authority will always make it so, leaving us free just to consume at will, with no responsibility to return the gift the river gives us. But Alan Hamilton knows that arrangement can’t last, and it’s not a healthy arrangement in the first place, for the health of a community is reflected in the way that it treats its local landscape and water sources. The more detached you are from your river, its care and protection, the less healthy—physically, emotionally, psychologically—you and your community become. Hamilton’s involvement in river conservation and restoration issues began as a board member of a small family foundation that was giving to the now-defunct Alliance for Río Grande Heritage, a coalition of seven or so environmental organizations attempting to protect the river. This experience showed him that environmentalists were not fully trusted by all elements of NM’s population, people

Just in Time for the December Giving Season From coffee-table books to body and spa packages to piñon coffee and gourmet salsas, there are 17 gifts from NM’s river culture to choose from at Río Grande Return. One of my favorite packages is the Sweet and Spicy Twosome: two jars of jams and preserves from Heidi’s Organic Raspberry Farm in Corrales and from Cibolo Junction in Ojo Sarco. Or, if you like, the Bee Box #2 offers blue corn and white Corn beeswax candles and delicious honey, from Sparrow Hawk Farm in Sabinal. Currently there are eight other packages of culinary delights at their online store, including, of course, red and green chile sauces. Sweet Dulcinea—Piñon Coffee, Senor Murphy chocolates, Chocolate Maven coco.

whose involvement and support were necessary to the success of the venture. He wanted to understand contemporary New Mexicans’ views of the Río Grande, in order to understand how to engage them in this huge project. What he discovered after conducting dozens of interviews of parcientes, mayordomos, soccer moms, environmentalists, public officials, chamber of commerce types—all mixed age and gender groups from Taos to El Paso—is that very few New Mexicans have any actual relationship with the river, partly because it has become physically cut off from easy access or from any immediate role in our daily lives. There was more of a mythic view of the river than a real understanding of the condition or role it plays today. One of the recommendations of the study was to find ways to get people more involved by creating more access to the river, making it more of a destination with nature centers, picnic grounds and river trails. When I asked Hamilton what the trigger was for establishing Río Grande Return, he said: “Foundation money for wetland restoration or riparian conservation was drying up, and it became apparent that the whole funding paradigm for environmental work needed to be re-imagined in some way. Río Grande Return is a funding source that’s not coming from foundations but is generated by people giving gifts to each other. Right now, a minimum of $15 is given to Río Grande Return’s restoration fund from each food package sold and up to $50 from book sales. It’s a para- Jose Lucero with his Santa Clara Pueblo blue corn digm that has proven itself in its first four years. People appreciate and understand it. It hasn’t yet generated a lot of money. I refer to it as slow money, so I’m very strategic and careful about what I’m using those moneys for, because it’s coming from the community.” In scaling up the program, Hamilton hopes to find ways to offer fresh produce in addition to processed foods like jams and honey, but he will need partners and new relationships to develop significant funding. He says that he welcomes suggestions and ideas from the Green Fire Times community. Are we aware enough of the crisis that our river faces to respond with great creativity and commitment? The human imagination is capable of great things when pushed by existential crises. Highly creative thinking is needed when we talk about restoring our relationship to the Río Grande. We can learn to love and enjoy our old Río Grande again. But if we remain only takers from the river and don’t give back, we are diminished in direct proportion to the degree the river is diminished. Its condition is a mirror image of ours. When we say that river gives life, we don’t mean just the water required for plants and animals (including Homo sapiens) to physically survive. People working to rebuild and restore land and water resources of their community are people who are also healing themselves. What a gift this grand river is. We must learn to give back. i Alan Hamilton can be contacted at: Earl James is a nonprofit fundraising consultant and the author of the award-winning eco-novel Bella Coola: The Rainforest Brought Them Home. Read excerpts at and contact him at

To go shopping at Río Grande Return:


Green Fire Times • December 2012

The Tesuque Pueblo Seed Bank

Emigdio Ballon


he seed is very important to Native people in South, Central and North America. For thousands of years we have planted, collected and preserved seeds that have given us the ability to grow our own crops and share the seed with other Indigenous communities. As part of surviving through farming we developed techniques that can be applied in current times. To preserve seeds we used small clay containers and cylinders, which kept the seeds cool without the expenditure of energy. Next, we came up with safe and secure places to store the seeds, with the goal of providing future generations with food security. With this history in mind, the Pueblo of Tesuque’s Department of Agriculture took the initiative to build a seed bank. This was made possible through the support of former Gov. Mark Mitchell, current Gov. Ramos Romero, Lt. Gov. Louie Hena and the 2011 and 2012 Tribal Councils. We also need to thank the Christensen Fund and the McCune Foundation. Enormous planning and work has gone into the seed bank to accomplish this wonderful project. It was built with recyclable materials such as tires, pallets, straw bales and adobe. One of the most important aspects of the building’s construction was that it was built by the hands of people from the Pueblo of Tesuque, using their traditional techniques, with guidance from architect Alfred von Bachmayr and his assistant, Amy Lynn. Seeds are a source of life. Seeds contain millions of years of biological and cultural evolution, and they are the future. Seed freedom is the basis of food freedom because seeds are the first link of the food chain. Seed freedom is threatened by genetically engineered seeds. These seeds contaminate our farms and threaten the freedom of farmers. It is important to recognize the importance of seed preservation, which the traditional Native teachings have left us. Our ancestors not only left us the techniques to preserve seeds, they also left us the message to respect the life of each organism. And they left us the seed, which in turn can provide us with food and a sustainable lifestyle. i Emigdio Ballon (Quechua) is a plant geneticist from Bolivia. He has been Agriculture Director at Tesuque Pueblo, near Santa Fe, New Mexico, since 2005. Photos by Seth Roffman

December 2012 • GreenFireTimes


The Local Voice

A Garden of Change

Urban Farming in the Heart of Santa Fe Vicki Pozzebon


hat is your theory of change?” a friend and colleague asked me recently. The question caught me so off guard I paused for several seconds to form a thought. Well, localism, of course. I’d localize everything if I could: keep money in the community, the region, in the state so that we could be a healthy and wealthy state with good jobs. Utopian? Maybe. Walking into Gaia Gardens where Poki Piottin farms, composts, hosts potluck events and trains young farmers feels a bit like that utopian idea. The day I arrived to talk with Poki, I was greeted warmly by a group of women picking what was left in the field after the early October frost. The three women all stood to shake my hand, smiling and seemingly beaming from the hard work at hand.

Classes are planned in building skills; there’s a pottery studio on the property, and of course you can learn more about worms than you ever wanted to know. Every first Monday of the month Gaia Gardens hosts a potluck dinner and community celebration that includes art and music.


Clockwise (top right): Poki Piottin with farm stand customer; harvesting cauliflower; compost piles; teaching planting techniques; a section of Gaia Garden in October

That generous landlord also provided a small loan from which Poki was able to buy his supplies, plot out a garden and begin growing. In just one season with a farm stand along the bike trail, a booth at the farmers’ market, plus deliveries to local restaurants, the urban farm has netted over $10,000 in sales. Not bad for a first year urban farm start-up.

in the fun of picking food for the farm stand or to attend a workshop on composting. Volunteers can take some food home, of course. The invitation to participate is so inviting, you could easily show up with no skills and just hang out to learn a few things.

The idea behind Gaia Gardens—to be a model for a regenerative urban foodgrowing enterprise, a place for the community to gather, learn to grow food and participate in the local food system—is not new. But it is a concept that is booming right now. What’s new about Poki’s approach is that it feels more accessible than any farm I’ve ever seen, including my own family’s farms. Gaia Gardens is like a big hug welcoming you to join

So what’s the theory of change for Gaia Gardens? It seems to be about creating community. Jump back to the moment I arrived at the garden plot: three women picking vegetables, laughing and conversing about something so intriguing they barely hear Poki and me approach. They are in community in that moment, and suddenly I want to be with them too. I want to hang out with these people who love food but

Green Fire Times • December 2012

© Seth Roffman (5)

We sat down to a conversation at an outdoor table where Poki had prepared tea at an outdoor kitchen. His idea to start Gaia Gardens came more out of necessity than anything else. He was living in a three-bedroom, three-bath house and wanted to share his space, plant a garden and create a community. The landlord told him no, you can’t have three people in here. Poki packed it in and searched for a place to combine his passions and interests. That place is Gaia Gardens, a rolling compound perched next to the bike path between Yucca and Camino Carlos Rey in a residential Santa Fe neighborhood. It is owned by a generous man who said, “Take my land, please.”

don’t take farming too seriously and instead are giggling in a patch of tomatoes. While we are talking under the shade tree sipping tea, Brian Skeele—local developer of community living spaces— approaches with a grin from ear to ear. I think he just got the Gaia Garden hug, too. He came for tomatoes and left with an armload of squash and chard. “I love

this place. My mother lives on the property,” he says to me. In the next breath he announces: “Hey, I’m building a dehydrator.” From there the conversation turns to how he might build one for the gardens and how they could start a dehydration business. This is what intrigues me about Gaia Gardens’ model: they are looking at revenue streams that include selling at farmers’ markets, their own farm stand, classes and workshops, and creating food businesses. It’s sociallocal-community-enterprise in action. “We delivered fresh basil to Joe’s Dining down the street, and traded with a couple other restaurants,” Poki says. “It’s a good market and the bike-path farm stand went from $48 of income on the first day over to $200 the other day. People are buying.” Chef/Owner Roland Richter of Joe’s Dining, a long-time supporter of local products’ agrees. “It was really good to have a consistent supply of basil, and the garden is so close,” he says, gesturing with this hand in the direction of the neighborhood behind his restaurant. The women in the garden are from all walks of the foodie world. Dominique Pozo, Poki’s partner, lives on the grounds and is the second-in-command. She is a strong supporter of the vision. Kaylyn McClellan is a farmhand and self-proclaimed “farm jester,” likely the one telling a funny story in the tomato patch. She’s traveling her way around the US to work on farms and learn as much as she can because “it doesn’t have to be work, and we just need it right now— the awareness, education and inspiration “of getting back to our food source.” Sansi Coonan, a volunteer, believes that giving her time to Gaia Gardens is “like medicine, but now it’s time to collaborate across cultures and on all levels, to share and collaborate.” For Kathy Morse, a recent transplant to Santa Fe with experience starting community gardens in Washington State, Gaia Gardens gives her the opportunity to learn about gardening in the high desert. “There’s a lot you can do just by example,” she says. She stumbled upon Gaia Gardens while on a walk along the bike path. What they all agree on is that it’s a group effort and a community mentality that has made the garden a success so quickly. But Poki is quick to deflect the praise onto his volunteers. “This,” he waves his hand across the field, “is about all of us.” By “all of us” he means the neighbors, kids, families, bike riders, people wanting to learn building trades or how to

plant their own food, or caring enough about the environment and food to pitch in and help sell at the farm stand. There’s more to Gaia Gardens than meets the eye, though. Coffee grounds and juice pulp from local restaurants are collected and composted here; trade with other food vendors keeps the volunteers and core team fed (they trade for eggs, dairy and bread). Skills are traded too. Poki describes an afternoon after a windstorm when the shade structure fell apart and an intern wanted to rebuild it but had no idea where to begin. Instead of taking a break from work in the heat of the day, Poki taught the young intern how to build a structure that would withstand the wind and upcoming winter elements. The long-term vision for Gaia Gardens as a permaculture hub of activity might not last long, however. The property is currently in foreclosure, but Poki and his crew are hopeful. The plan is to work with the bank to buy time and create a land trust so that the property remains a community urban farm. It’s a vision that includes showing how a solar residential and commercial compound lives in harmony with an urban garden. Perhaps the theory of change for Gaia Gardens looks more like a land trust. Can the community come together to preserve what has quickly become a central learning place for sustainable living, farming and community? Could the utopian idea of living in harmony with land and people through the growth of food in the middle of a city be less of an idea and more of a realization if the land were placed in a trust for future generations to create their own community? Urban farms are the future of cities looking to change how land is used, how to create jobs and secure more food for their own citizens. It’s not utopian if you buy into the idea that it is the future, and the future is here and will welcome you with a big hug. i Check out Gaia Gardens online: http:// Vicki Pozzebon is the owner/ principal of Prospera Partners, a consulting group practicing bold localism. Visit www. prosperapartners. org. Follow her on Twitte r : @ VickiPozzebon

December 2012 • GreenFireTimes


Wisdom from the Origins continued from page 6 Earth back to the clouds. We can generate this energy by using the wisdom of our ancestors. …We [the Maya] have a mathematical system, a geometric form, and it has frequency and sound. When the wisdom of the Maya was ending, the knowledge expanded. It was brought to Asia and Europe. This knowledge was divided. We are now beginning to reintegrate it. Why? Because this is the way we recuperate our essence of God. The world will not change if we do not change ourselves. We all here at this conference are generating a frequency that has not existed before. We can’t continue to think that the world will end because your body moves all of reality. If you think about negativity, then something negative will happen. …We need not feed the fear. Rather, use this wisdom to become more in line [with the wisdom of the ancestors]. Don Alejandro had a similar message, asking people to understand values in life and the importance of loving one another. Mostly, he shared that pollution and corruption were the worst things happening right now. He mentioned that we are at the end of the 5th Sun cycle, which happens every 26,000 years. He said:

Jerry Honowa (Hopi) explained the Life Plan on Prophecy Rock

Before the advent of perspective, we immersed ourselves in living nature, and why not? We are as much a part of any ecosystem as any other creature. Moreover, our physical bodies are made of the same elements that exist throughout the cosmos, as all creatures are. We are the light, the air, the water and the earth; in fact, we are 70 percent water, just as the bodies of water on Earth. This is why Native people celebrate all our relations—which means everything else, including the elements. But, with a perspective-based view, we remain detached, not in relationship, and this inadvertently sucks the life out of nature and out of us. The way we perceive is important to think about precisely because we almost never do. Our habitual way of perceiving dismisses the vital energy of nature, leading us to think that we are somehow separate from the pulse of energies that govern the universe. But of course we are not separate; we are completely one with the energy of nature. Our very existence, our vibrational essence, is connected with the planet’s vibration, beginning with the Sun. Mayan and other prophecies speak of a shift in vibration now upon us. And with this shift, beliefs and perceptions are now changing, often confirming the wisdom of the ancients. Here is what Ac Tah had to say during the conference: We know that the Sun affects our bodies, and when there is a large amount of energy from the Sun, our production changes. Right now, our production is very limited. Why? Because it depends on our eyes. If there was more energy on the Earth, the center of our eyes would open more. We would realize that there were no empty places on the planet. The space that is in between me and you, from your perspective, it is empty. If you put on x-ray vision glasses, you would see that there is energy between us, and that there are no empty spaces anywhere on this Earth. Actually, it is the concentration of energy that lets our bodies become hard. The energy between us is also matter; it’s just that the vibration is different. We have known this for a very long time. Today, the Sun has increased its vibration, and for this reason, many people are experiencing many perceptions. There are people who see angels. They have visions, and some smell aromas. They are connecting themselves to another world… it is very important to realize a change in perception… Our body is energy and generates sound and vibration. We can generate the solar energy. If you want to generate a great change, you can’t do it if you’re sick. You can’t do it if you’re depressed. You have to have enough energy to generate this great change in consciousness. But how do we generate ourselves with this energy? You should be able to wake up every morning with joy. The Sun is blocked right now. Between our bodies and the Sun there’s a block. TV and radio waves block the Sun’s energy. The majority of the sunshine comes from the


Green Fire Times • December 2012

Now we must understand that the Sun is not an enemy, but a friend that brings the Earth vital energy, as it does to our bodies and makes our own vitality. Coming from fear is only due to lack of knowledge. He made it clear that the Mayans are giving us information, not predicting the end of the world. He said that “the family is the unit of oneness, and we must see each other as that family. This in turn will reflect into the Earth itself, and we can live the way we have always been meant to.” The Western visionaries at the conference had a similar view. Gregg Braden confirmed that one of the key false as- Don Alejandro Cerilo Oxlaj Perez, sumptions of Western science has been head of the Mayan Council of Elders the idea of the “empty space” between ob- of Guatemala jects—that “there are forms of energy that occupy all space.” Braden also acknowledged that the basis of Western thinking of history and civilization is linear, that we are taught civilization begins with the primitive and builds to the pinnacle of (you guessed it) us— Western civilization. Braden respectfully points to the achievements of the Mayan, Hopi and other Indigenous societies as proof positive of its falsity. During his presentation, he spoke about the Hopi “Prophecy Rock” and the stark choices it represented—a return to living in harmony with the Earth or an abrupt end to civilization—and was pleasantly surprised to be interrupted by a Hopi elder, Jerry Honawa, who later addressed the subject in detail in his own talk. The conference was also distinguished by copious amounts of prayer and ceremony. Beginning with all-day ceremonies near Santa Fe and concluding with post-conference workshops, ceremony and prayer were incorporated throughout the conference. One of the benefits of ceremony is that it allows the group to come to one mind in doing an activity in a Mayan blessing ceremony at Tesuque Pueblo

After the Declaration of Commitment to Indigenous Peoples was read, the document was given to the Indigenous Grandmothers.

sacred manner. Each day was embraced as a blessing, beginning with first light ceremonies outside on the hotel lawn. On the last evening, there was an outdoor Mayan fire ceremony that went late into the night. Each morning session inside the hotel also began with a prayer to set the intent for the day, reminding us of the energy on the Mayan calendar for that particular day. Even the regular talks were in a form of ceremony, because the entire room was set in concentric circles of relationship. The same was true for a group dialogue session on the concluding day.

James O’Dea reading the Declaration

One of the most moving ceremonies at the Wisdom from the Origins conference was the presentation of the Declaration of Commitment to Indigenous Peoples, a document (see page 26) that was created through the Shift Network in partnership with SEED. I served on the committee that drafted the document, but the main author was James O’Dea, who read it out loud to the entire conference on the opening morning. Many tears were shed because of the power of the words and the power of those who were hearing them. At the moment the reading concluded, the crowd burst into a loud ovation, holding hands, crying in joy for some time—until the inimitable booming voice of Dr. Rangamarie Rose Pere, penetrated the room. Her song was one of spontaneous celebration, and she needed no microphone as she took over the room, sending chills down my spine. One reason the song was so powerful is that the document was so powerful. It went beyond apology, to include four aspects, of which apology was the first. Apology was followed by Responsibility for past actions, including formulation of truthful historical narratives and educational materials; Reconciliation, which referred to the healing that comes with shared ceremony, as was embodied at the conference, and Collaboration in multiple contexts of health, environment,

sustainable economies and educational opportunities. The presentation of the document was intended to partially fulfill prophecies that spoke of a coming back together of ancient wisdom with contemporary science at this critical time in human history. This coming together of old and new is what we at SEED call “original thinking.” To experience the power of this event, go to: http:// for a 15-minute video produced by SEED board member Joyce Anastasia. To sign the Declaration itself, go to There were many other moments that were captivating at the conference, particularly from the women, who were plentiful and strong. We have already spoken of Barbara Marx Hubbard, who even in her 80s, completely captivated the audience. Other powerful women at the conference included Ohki Simine Forest, Woman Stands Shining, Marianne Williamson, Szuson Wong, Michele Rozbitsky and the aforementioned Dr. Rangamarie Rose Pere. Marianne Williamson, in the heat of the election season, spoke of the need to bring spiritual energy into politics. Ohki Simine Forest spoke of the emergence of feminine energy now coming into manifestation, and Woman Stands Shining specifically addressed the rebalancing of the feminine and masculine energies. Many of the men did as well. This theme was so powerful that SEED intends to use it for the next Wisdom from the Origins conference. A working title is: The Dance of The Sacred Feminine and Masculine: The Evolution of Consciousness Post-2012, slated for fall 2013. During closing remarks, Ac Tah took the opportunity to remind us that it is not enough to love the person next to you at the conference and then go home and act the same way we were acting beforehand. He encouraged us to go home and continue to love our neighbors and all the strangers we encounter as the other you. This was a fitting announcement, as on every conference badge we imprinted the words: “In Lak’ech,” the Mayan way to say: “I am the other you.” i Glenn Aparicio Parry, Ph.D., a writer, psychologist, educator and entrepreneur, is the founder and president of the SEED Institute based in Albuquerque, NM. Parry earned his doctoral degree in Humanities with a concentration in Transformative Learning from the California Institute of Integral Studies. He has organized and participated in conferences that have brought together Native and Western scientists in dialogue since 1999. Parry is the author of the forthcoming book Original Thinking: ReThinking Time, Education, Humanity and Nature. For more information, visit www., call 505.792.2900 or email

December 2012 • GreenFireTimes


Declaration of Commitment to Indigenous Peoples


umanity faces a time in our evolving story when we must harvest our deepest collective wisdom in order to survive and even thrive as a healthy, peaceful and sustainable planetary civilization.

Nutrition and Wellness Tips

Dr. Japa K. Khalsa

In the course of humanity’s journey we have many great achievements to celebrate and honor but we have to acknowledge what has been misguided, damaging to each other and harmful to all life. It is time for healing and a new beginning. Great skill is now needed to reconnect the bonds of our collective interdependence on behalf of all of Earth’s diverse peoples and cultures and to restore an original contract with our planet’s eco-system and its intricate design for all life. We cannot evolve skillfully at this vital juncture in our collective story if we fail to integrate the teachings of our wisdom keepers. Both reason and conscience require that the precious wisdom of Earth’s Indigenous peoples be fully acknowledged. Their skillful ways of living in harmony with Nature and its laws have too often been marginalized and ignored. Humanity has paid a great price for destructive actions committed against Indigenous peoples. In the name of religion, profit and progress, some of humanity’s greatest knowledge about the interrelationship of all life forms has been placed in jeopardy. Increasing numbers of people now recognize the importance of supporting the transmission of this essential wisdom. It is in this spirit of deep recognition and appreciation for the value of Indigenous wisdom that we, the signatories to this declaration, hereby proclaim our commitment to the following: Apology is due to Indigenous peoples for the suppression and violation of their cultures and ways of being. We invite communities, institutions, local authorities and governments to formally and informally offer sincere apology for past actions that resulted in cultural oppression and denigration. Responsibility for past violations, wounding and discrimination must be expressed in truthful historical narratives and educational materials. We recommend the formation of local and national initiatives to take responsibility for the past and explore the nature of Indigenous wisdom. We encourage support for the production of a wide array of accessible media and curricular materials to set the record straight and ensure the accurate and appropriate transmission of Native wisdom teachings. Reconciliation must be sought so that healing may occur between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. We call on representatives of public and private institutions to seek ways to engage in meaningful acts and processes of reconciliation through ceremony, presentations and gatherings. Collaboration in multiple contexts relating to health, environment, sustainable economies and educational opportunities will constitute an essential dimension of expressing sincere apology, acknowledging responsibility and fostering reconciliation. To these ends we encourage collaboration with Indigenous communities and institutions to optimize our collective learning and healing in this pivotal time for all humanity. We, the undersigned, pledge our commitment to these ideals and the promotion of concrete actions to support respect for Indigenous peoples, a shared partnership for life on Earth and the transmission of our collective wisdom:


Green Fire Times • December 2012

Juniper  Berries

While a few sprigs of juniper can add beauty to your holiday decorations, you can also think of these readily available berries as health helpers. Their components have been known to help reduce and balance blood sugar and reduce appetite. However, pregnant women or those with kidney problems should not consume them. Test 10 of these piney, pungent berries, steeped in a cup of hot water as a tea and adjust as needed. Or add a few crushed berries to a marinade to pick up the flavor.  And when the holidays are over, if you haven’t used all the berries from your decorations, be sure to return them to the outdoors for a winter bird feast.

Delicious soups and

an internal spa for you

A super easy cleansing drink and tastier soups all with this easy trick: Save all the vegetable parts left over from chopping and preparing food; just stick them in the freezer in a baggie instead of composting. Then, once a week, boil them for about two hours with a few bay leaves or allspice berries and wow–you have decocted an amazing mineral drink for yourself–a bath for your internal organs. Save it, have a hot cup every morning or use it in a vegetable stew to make all your soups taste amazing.

The Citrus Allergy blast

When allergy season looms, it is great to fortify yourself by increasing your daily Vitamin C intake. When we look at Vitamin C through our Chinese medicine spectacles, it is seen as a warming and invigorating substance that reduces “cold” symptoms. Doesn’t that sounds like a good direction to go in when your nose is running and you’ve got the allergic sniffles? A more Western way of saying it is that

Vitamin C acts as a natural antihistamine. A 1992 study showed that 2 grams a day can reduce allergy symptoms in just one week. You could, of course, always take an extra Vitamin C, but what is the fun in that? How about a pineapple-orange-grapefruit smoothie with a little parsley and garlic thrown in for pizzazz? Try this for breakfast for one week, and if you include the garlic, be sure to bring some breath mints with you or just enjoy keeping the vampires away for the day.

Winter is the time for beets

Just steam them for 45 minutes, let them cool a bit and then rub them under running water so that the skin slips right off. These beautiful gems from under the earth can help build your blood during the winter months, protecting and building your immune system because of their rich vitamin and mineral content. They smooth out troubled digestion and have been suggested for years as a remedy for hemorrhoids, as they are rich in potassium, fiber and antioxidants. For those of you afraid of beets because of those canned ones served years ago at your childhood Thanksgiving, this is to remind you to be fearless and have a go at trying out fresh beets with careless abandon!

Apple Cider

There are apples galore this fall, and so what can we do with the crisp frozen leftover apples still clinging to treetops? Get yourself a tall ladder, harvest a bucketful and chop them up coarsely. Be sure to cut out any worms or dark parts. Then cover your chopped apples with water and add a little cinnamon and nutmeg. Boil for half an hour, then simmer covered for an hour and a half. You will have a delicious apple cider that is golden or even pink colored. Have a cup before going to bed! i Dr. Japa K. Khalsa received a Bachelor of Science f rom Northwestern Unive rsit y and completed her Master of Oriental Medicine at Midwest College of Medicine. She is a Board certified and licensed Doctor of Oriental Medicine, and practices in Española, NM. 505.747.3368, drjapa@gmail. com,

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December 2012 • GreenFireTimes


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Green Fire Times • December 2012

Greenbuild continued from page 13 employee satisfaction and productivity. Pro-environment is pro-business. Green design is good for business in so many ways. Big business needs to step up. The quest for environmental equality leads to prosperity. I then began the educational seminars. Exciting, stimulating, encouraging and informative is a quick summary of what I experienced.

© Mark Chalom (2)

Lucia Athens is Sustainability Director for the city of Austin, Texas. Her topic was Social Sustainability and Green Building. She was proud that Austin is already operating on 30 percent renewable energy and will soon reach 35 percent. Wind power in her community is now competitive with natural gas. Austin has $8 million in its solar loan program, its green standards have been around for 21 years, 38 percent of its homes are now green, and it has a LEED Platinum hospital. It has green schools with solar classrooms, solar curriculums and a kids-out-into-nature program. Austin also demands fair wages and workers’ rights. It’s green economy approach is multidisciplinary and holistic in its attempts to include not just energy and green building but also arts and culture, zero-waste, promotion of healthy food, ending homelessness, wildfire

to be helpful for patient healing, in alleviating pain, reducing medication needs, reducing depression and agitation, and in helping support the circadian rhythms for better sleep. Daylight is also important for the staff. It helps improve alertness, a more positive attitude toward their job, and increases task performance by reducing fatigue and stress. The European code demands daylight for workers, as it is considered a fundamental right. At the session on Eco-Balance and Biomimicry, the lead presenter was Pliny Fisk of Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems, a design research firm in Austin. Fisk was joined by Kathy Zarsky, a specialist in biomimicry and natural systems design. They talked about full-cycle planning (source-resource-process-remediaterepair-restore-regenerate). “Nature is the most elegant design; we need to learn from nature,” Fisk said. Zarsky presented fantastic examples of design in nature, including seed pods and how they protect, change, open, and how leaves move with the sun, provide shade and maximize their ability to absorb sunlight and turn it into food. Kathy stressed the need for biomimicry and biophilia (living systems) designs.

The next presentation was Permaculture: Principles and Practice of Regenerative Design, presented by Jillian Hovey, director of the Sustainable Living Network. Hovey recounted the history, key founders, background and principles of Permaculture, which is a holistic methodolLime Stucco absorbs carbon from the atmosphere and is a design ogy that accesses the great substitute for concrete and acrylic stuccos. intelligence of natusafety and helping animals. The city ral ecosystems and leads us towards promotes art in public spaces, green regenerative design solutions. This tourism and is proud of its large fleet includes holistic site planning, edible of pedicabs. The new Formula One landscapes, permanent agriculture and Grand Prix racetrack is mandated to using principles from nature. Permacdevelop a carbon offset program. Athulture includes care of the Earth and ens discussed how all of this is possiits people. It encourages us to share ble in conservative Republican Texas. any surplus. Everything is connected; every element serves various funcNatural Light for Healthcare Facilitions; every function is supported by ties was the second session I attended. various elements; pollution is an unDaylighting is important in the healused resource; problems can be turned ing environment. It has been proven

Modular and interconnecting systems presentation showing green roofs

in solutions, and designs should be self-maintaining. Various case studies of urban gardens, from large open lots to small apartment balconies were presented. The work of Scott and Arina Pittman of the Santa Fe-based Permaculture Institute was recognized with high regard. The session on Wind Towers and Cool Towers was not to be missed. A wind tower, such as has been used in Iran for thousands of years, traps prevailing wind, directing it down and through the building. Hot air is sucked out through the leeward side of the tower. This maximizes natural ventilation at night when it is cool. In most cases thermal mass is used to store this coolness. If there’s air moving across water or a wet medium, evaporative cooling will take place. A cool tower introduces a wet medium or a spray fog in the top of the wind tower, cool-

ing the incoming air, which becomes denser, enhancing the downward flow. Martin Yolick has done much analytical research on this at the University of Arizona. He has developed design parameters and formulas based on his working model. James Crockett of the National Park Service presented the workings of the cool towers at Zion National Park Visitor Center in Utah. The building is an integration of many systems, including solar hot water, solar electricity, open space planning, use of natural materials, good use of daylighting, Trombe walls, a landscaping plan that uses native vegetation, and a design to save both energy and water. Two cool towers supply moist cool air to the building, as well as an outdoor space that is used for interpretive educational displays. Making some of the outdoor space more comfortable meant not continued on page


Santa Fe Community College Awarded $1 Million for Youth Construction Program

Santa Fe Community College has received a $1.1 million grant to create a program to teach at-risk youth green construction skills while cultivating individual leadership and learning abilities. The US Department of Labor grant will help 60 disadvantaged young people in Santa Fe County learn while working toward an adult basic education GED certificate. Students who complete the program will receive certification in green building construction and an OSHA-30 construction industry card. The program, which starts in January and lasts three years, includes postprogram follow-up services such as career placement and educational counseling. “The SFCC YouthBuild program is expected to benefit the community by increasing the number of skilled workers in Santa Fe’s expanding green and sustainable building industries, providing healthier affordable homes with cheaper operating costs,” said Randy Grissom, SFCC’s Dean of Economic and Workforce Development. “The lower cost of the homes built by YouthBuild participants will be passed on in savings to the homebuyer.” YouthBuild partners include YouthWorks, LANL, the Building Trades Advisory Corporation, Heroes Housing Alliance and the Santa Fe County Housing Authority. Persons interested in the program should call 505.428.1144, 505.428.1641 or email

December 2012 • GreenFireTimes



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Green Fire Times • December 2012

Greenbuild continued from page 29

The session on Dynamic Buildings offered a discussion on movable shading devices that adapt and change with the surrounding environment. Stephen Seckowitz of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory shared with us a free online design resource for this. Movable shading can be very effective and is well worth the expenditure on large commercial buildings. Marcus Zawierta from Austria showed us some very creative and beautiful Europeandesigned systems. To me it was not just about energy savings; these buildings became moving art in themselves. I was amazed at all the different geometric approaches for sun control. The closing plenary started off with Gov. Jerry Brown recounting the many successes of California and how California is leading the nation in the green movement. He wants buildings to be as healthy as being outdoors. California has twice the number of LEED buildings as any other state. California is not waiting; people are making it happen. Gov. Brown is looking for elegance, efficiency and equality through green building. A representative from the USGBC announced the launch of the GBIG (Green Building Information Gateway), which is a very useful online tool for looking up LEED projects around the world. It will show you a building, explain design strategies and what type of LEED points it received. A great way to start a project is to see what has already been done. Then the demigod of sustainable design walked on stage—William McDonough, international architect and professor at the University of Virginia. He is the author of the Cradleto-Cradle Design philosophy and standards. “Our goal is a delightfully diverse, safe, healthy and just world, with clean air, water, soil and power—economically, equitably, ecologically and elegantly enjoyed,” he said.

McDonough’s design standard makes us think about the materials that go into a building, where they came from and what will happen to them when the building ceases to exist. He believes materials are nutrients that can and should be re-utilized. He believes buildings should run 100 percent on renewable energy. “We need to think about water stewardship and social fairness,” he says. “What do we leave behind by design? We are putting toxins in mother’s milk and we need to stop. Is it our intention to poison each other? As we have a right to know what is in our food, we have that right to know what is in our buildings and how those materials affect us.” McDonough sees regulation as a sign of design failure but thinks this can change. Brad Pitt, after Hurricane Katrina, asked McDonough to help design an affordable home for the Ninth Parish. McDonough said no, “Let’s built 50 or more.” A big buzzword in the design world is cogen, something that does two things at once. Said McDonough, “Why not trigen, quadjen, hexigen: something that will do six things at once?” He equated this to a tree. Unlike a building, a tree can even procreate.

Cool towers really work and would be a good addition to New Mexico design. He has taken this philosophy not only to buildings but also to various products, and he has worked with major companies like Steelcase, Herman Miller and Shaw Carpet to develop Cradle-to-Cradle design and material standards that not only works for the environment but also make economic sense to these companies. He is not happy with net-zero buildings. He questions why just zero. He says we must go way beyond zero. “Think molecularly, act galactically.” William McDonough doesn’t just talk the talk; he walks the walk. His projects are way beyond any standard or goals

© Mark Chalom

having to build a larger building. The floor plan showed how cool air was introduced to the building and other interior walls and how placement of displays serves the function of baffles, directing this air in other directions. I can say from personal experience these cool towers really work and would be a good addition to New Mexico design.

There are now many applications of LED lighting, some with some very high style.

set by anyone. His buildings produce more than their energy needs, grow food, make oxygen, clean air, clean water, build community and become reusable and recyclable. One example is the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. A dynamic movable natural light screen transmits daylight, reduces heat gain and mitigates glare. Super insulation provides great energy savings. Operable windows promote cross ventilation, and the floor plan of the working offices promotes teambuilding and collaboration. When cost-effective, Cradle-to-Cradle certified products were used. An external steel framework was utilized to reduce the amount of materials required and to develop the framework for the dynamic daylighting systems. This structure was also chosen for its ease of disassembly and its recycling characteristics. A radiant heating and cooling ground-source heat pump was chosen, as it uses 40 percent less energy than a typical air-handling unit. LED lighting was used throughout, with a sophisticated control system. Energy generation includes solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, solar thermal panels for domestic hot water and a natural gas fuel cell generator. The building generates more energy than it utilizes. Vertical green screens are grown to provide seasonal shade. The most efficient water fixtures were specified. Water cleansing is a big part of this design, as contaminated groundwater near the site is cleaned and utilized for landscape irrigation. Graywater is treated and reused in toilets and urinals. A forward osmosis water recycling system developed by NASA to purify water to drinking quality is available, but California reg-

ulations will not allow it. Drought tolerant native plants are utilized in the landscape. This building has earned LEED Platinum certification and many other design awards. William McDonough is now envisioning cities where waste does not exist, cities that grow food, continually improve, generate their own energy, and create habitat for animals that release clean air and water. He utilizes rooftops for food to be grown in greenhouses year-round vertically and horizontally. Edible landscaping utilizes a building’s sewer treatment system to transform the waste into usable nutrients for plants that clean and purify the air.

Trade Fair/Expo

The trade fair and exhibition had 1,700 companies represented. It took me six hours to move through the large exhibit halls. There was a strong representation of products and systems that dealt with rainwater harvesting, green roofs and LED lighting. Wood has finally made a comeback as a green material to be used. I was very impressed with the company that utilized cellulose fibers to create beautiful forms and even structural components. Eco-stucco is a premixed, quality-controlled lime plaster that can be used both on the interior and the exterior. The lime washes come in hundreds of colors. Lime stucco is a carbon negative product. I hope to see much more of that as a substitute for concrete or acrylic stuccos. Phase change materials are now being manufactured in wall systems to provide thermal storage. What a great addition to our passive solar palette. continued on page

December 2012 • GreenFireTimes



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Green Fire Times • December 2012


continued from page 31

There were many products made from postindustrial or agricultural waste, reprocessed and recycled materials. I finally got to see, touch and better understand heat-pump water heaters that draw heat from the surrounding air and raise it to usable hot water temperatures. It can operate from a PV panel. For every watt of energy put in it will give you almost two watts. It is a good alternative and even substitutes for solar hot water systems. The LightLouver is impressive. It is the best fixed daylighting device on the market. Green building is the new normal. It has taken hold and has proven itself to be good not only for the environment but for the economy, for businesses and jobs. Corporate America has finally realized this and is jumping on board big-time. Green building has proven itself to promote good health, better productivity, better learning, better work environments and social equality. It has given us a better link in our understanding of nature. We are now starting to look at not just green build-

ings but green communities, green corridors and now green cities. What an exciting time. We Are Right. i Mark Chalom is a S a n ta Fe - b a s e d architect (LEED 2.0) who has specialized in Environmental Climatic Design for the past 40 years. He has received a lifetime achievement award for his Passive Solar Architecture and research from the American Solar Energy Society.

Gifting Local

continued from page 17

good health. This can be a cleansing time, preparing for seasonal change, rather than one of excess. Imagine a holiday season of rejuvenation, nourishing foods, true connectedness and joy!

May you enjoy a season of restoration and the sharing of wisdom—through connecting to others while supporting local efforts. Give the gift of compassion, as we learn to pull together in challenging times. Celebrate local! i

Living life by the seasons reminds us of the circle of life. In many Native American cultures, winter is the season of the north, represented by the color white— and winter is a time for reflection, renewal and spiritual contemplation.

Susan Guyette, Ph.D. is Métis (Micmac Indian and Acadian French) and a planner specializing in cultural tourism, cultural centers, museums and native foods. She is the author of Planning for Balanced Development, co-author of Zen Birding: Connect in Nature, and the author of several texts for American Indian Studies.

Local Food Celebration at So. Valley Economic Development Center—Dec. 7-9

A showcase of artisan foods will be part of the grand opening of Delicious New Mexico’s Tiendita at the South Valley Economic Development Center (SVEDC) on Friday, Dec. 7 from 4-7 pm. There will be live music and the Edible Santa Fe Local Food Heroes Awards Ceremony at 6 pm. A holiday market will be held on Dec. 8 and 9 from 12-4 pm. SVEDC’c complex at 318 Isleta Blvd. SW ( includes the Mixing Bowl Commercial Kitchen, where food artisans will offer samples of their wares. Holiday gifts available include products from Delores’ NM Chile Products, NM Pie Company, Heidi’s Raspberry Jam, Tio Franks, Choco Canyon Chocolates, Urban Orchards, Valley Gurlz Goodz, What the Fudge, Nin’s Nutz, Agri-Cultura Network, Salsa La Luz, Chipa Brillante and many others. Delicious New Mexico ( is a new enterprise designed to bring together farmers and ranchers with value-added producers and connect them to grocery stores, restaurants, festivals and consumers. The Tiendita, managed by Delores Martinez of Delores’ Salsa, will showcase NM producers offering a broad range of high quality local artisanal foods. Gift basket possibilities include Delores’ Salsas (red or green), sauces, mustards, honey, biscochitos and much more.

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December 2012 • GreenFireTimes



Green Fire Times • December 2012

NEWSBITEs Court Denies Corporation’s Attempt to Monopolize San Augustín Water

On November 16, a State District Court judge upheld a decision to keep a New York-based corporation from appropriating 54,000 acre-feet of public groundwater per year from the San Augustín basin in Catron County, NM. Augustín Plains Ranch, LLC had filed an appeal seeking to overturn the NM State Engineer’s decision to deny the application.

Santa Fe’s Largest Fire Station Goes Solar

The Santa Fe Fire Department hosted a green-ribbon-cutting celebration last month to showcase the new rooftop solar panels that will provide electricity for the city’s largest fire station, located at 1751B Cerrillos Road.

The NM Environmental Law Center, the organization that led the fight to stop the appropriation, and which represents more than 80 residents from the area, had filed a motion asking the Court to dismiss the application. “The judge’s decision confirmed what 150 years of water law has already established—you can’t take the public’s water unless you have a concrete beneficial use for the water,” said Bruce Frederick of the NMELC. “This corporation is trying to hoard the water until its value increased enough to justify selling it. The decision today is an important step towards protecting NM from rampant water speculation.” The application, first filed in 2007, was originally protested by close to 1,000 individuals, ranches, businesses and government agencies. They have a variety of concerns, including that the application would impair existing water rights, deplete flows in the Río Grande and Gila River stream systems, dry up springs and harm fragile ecologies. The state engineer denied the application for several reasons, including that it omitted basic critical details required by law—how, when, where and in what quantities the corporation intended to use the water. However, D.L. Sanders, lead attorney for the Office of the State Engineer, said that he still sees the proposed water transfer as “innovative,” and encouraged the ranch’s owners to file a new application that meets the state’s legal requirements. “We will continue to work to protect NM’s most precious resource from those who wish to monopolize it,” said Fredrick.

NM Green Chamber Names Santa Fe Chapter Director

The New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce has announced the selection of Glenn Schiffbauer as the new executive director for the Santa Fe Chapter. Schiffbauer, a native New Mexican, received his MBA from the Robert O. Anderson School of Management at the University of New Mexico. He has been a marketing researcher and active in several area nonprofits. “Being part of the Santa Fe business community for 30 years, I have seen how committed this community is to socially responsible business practices,” Schiffbauer said. “Under [Schiffbauer’s] leadership, we believe the Santa Fe Chapter will move quickly to initiate educational activities to help businesses reduce waste, advocate on behalf of renewable energy and support ‘Buy Local’ campaigns,” Allan Oliver, NMGCC’s CEO, said in a news release. The two-year-old NMGCC is a non-partisan association with over 1,100 business members statewide, with other chapters in Las Cruces, Silver City, Albuquerque/Río Rancho and Taos. The membership is comprised of businesses that are committed to the concept of the Triple Bottom Line model, which helps companies evaluate their social, environmental and economic impacts.

Winners Announced for Top Business Recyclers

Thirty-four businesses were honored statewide for their efforts in recycling and waste reduction. The “NM Businesses Recycle” campaign is an annual partnership among the NM Green Chamber of Commerce, the NM Recycling Coalition, the NMSU Institute for Energy and Environment, and the NM Environment Dept. Green Zia Environmental Leadership Program. A panel of experts evaluated each company’s recycling efforts. The businesses selected for statewide recognition are SMG-Albuquerque Convention Center in the large business category and Dapwood Furniture Co. (Albuquerque) in the small business category. Receiving regional recognition for Santa Fe in the large business category is Santa Fe Public Schools; the top small business winner is Positive Energy Solar. Recognized as “Top Recycler” is Gaia Gardens. Honorees in the Santa Fe area also receiving recognition are: Dept. of the InteriorBureau of Land Management, Earthstone International, New Mexico Highlands University-Las Vegas, Restaurant Marin, and the Santa Fe Business Incubator. A compete list of honorees around the state can be found at

The nonprofit New Energy Economy (NEE) and the city of Santa Fe partnered with residential and commercial installer Positive Energy Solar to install 38 panels on Fire Station #3’s roof and an additional 24 panels on a tracking system adjacent to the station. The system will produce approximately 28,000 kWhs of electricity per year, which is equivalent to about what four average homes in NM need annually. Positive Energy Solar crews led the install, providing training to students from Santa Fe Community College and various city and county employees and first responders. “Our firefighters are really proud of these solar panels and the efforts of Santa Fe students, businesses and Mayor Coss that made it possible,” said Fire Chief Barbara Salas. Area high school students, working with NEE’s Sol not Coal campaign, local restaurants and businesses raised more than $22,000. The city, which expects to rely on solar for 20 percent of its municipal needs by next year, matched the funds. The installation will include an interactive kiosk to provide information about solar energy and the amount of power being generated at the station. “These solar panels show that the transition from coal dependence to clean energy is not only possible, but we can do it now,” said Mariel Nanasi, executive director of NEE.

Santa Fe’s Green Lodging Initiative

More than one million tourists visit Santa Fe each year. While they are an important part of the city’s economy, they also put considerable pressure on environmental resources, particularly water. The Santa Fe Watershed Association (SFWA) has been awarded a grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency to partner in a Green Lodging Initiative that will conserve water and reduce pollutants entering Santa Fe’s watershed. The city’s Environmental Services Division, Convention and Visitors Bureau, the New Mexico and Santa Fe Lodging Associations, Green Chamber of Commerce Santa Fe Chapter, and several leading lodging providers are part of the Initiative Working Group. The SFWA has contracted HospitalityGreen LLC, a New York-based firm specializing in environmental and operations consulting services and founder of the nationally recognized Green Concierge Certification™ program to provide technical assistance. The company’s work with the Catskill Watershed Corporation resulted in measured environmental outcomes while simultaneously creating jobs and increasing tourism. Over the next year, HospitalityGreen will provide technical assistance, training, and coaching free of charge to 15 lodging providers. By adopting streamlined practices, these B&Bs, hotels, inns, motels and resorts will save money, while upgrading their facilities to meet growing market expectations. There is a kickoff meeting for interested hotel owners at La Posada at 2 pm Dec. 6. For more information, contact Bette Booth, initiative coordinator at 505.795.5316,

December 2012 • GreenFireTimes


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Please go our website and study the articles presented in the new issue. We welcome your comments and suggestions.


Green Fire Times • December 2012

Public Regulation Commission Indecision Threatens Jobs and Clean Energy in NM

In 2012, one in every 230 new jobs created in the US was in the solar industry, according to the National Solar Jobs Census published by The Solar Foundation. As of September 2012, 119,116 people were solar workers. This growth has been attributed to low prices for solar components, tax incentives and the adoption of Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards (RPS). New Mexico, having excellent solar resources and a RPS requiring 20 percent renewable energy (RE) by 2020, has developed a vibrant solar industry that has created jobs for electricians, technicians and construction workers, as well as economic stability and clean energy for the state. State Public Regulation Commission (PRC) indecision threatens to put a halt to this bright spot in the economic landscape. In the Reasonable Cost Threshold (RCT) and Solar Diversity Target case, the PRC is considering allowing utility companies in NM to not meet RE mandates in the state law, and to achieve only half of the mandated RE percentage. RE advocates say that this would result in heavy job losses and negative impacts on health and the environment. The Attorney General and the NM Industrial Energy Consumers are proposing to delay the decision into next year; a case has already dragged on for over a year. Further delay means uncertainty for local solar and renewable energy companies who will have to reduce hiring and local investment. It would also be a failure of the PRC to implement the will of New Mexicans. A bi-partisan poll conducted this year showed that 66 percent of New Mexicans favor solar energy development and want more of their energy to come from the sun rather than fossil fuels.   The NM Green Chamber of Commerce has issued a call to action for New Mexicans to contact their PRC commissioner right away, demanding that the PRC hear this case before the end of their term, and uphold the requirements of the state law by voting on the RCT rulemaking process and maintaining current solar targets.

Wind Energy Tax Credits May Expire

A new report from Environment New Mexico’s Research & Policy Center says that NM’s current power generation from wind energy displaces as much global warming pollution as taking 232,000 cars off the road per year, and that wind power saves enough water to meet the demands of 11,600 New Mexicans. The report also says that wind energy now powers nearly 13 million homes across the country, and is delivering results for public health in NM by avoiding 1,830 tons of smog-causing pollution and 340 tons of soot pollution. The report was released late last month as Congress was considering whether to extend federal incentives for wind power—the renewable energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) and the offshore wind Investment Tax Credit (ITC)—before they expire at the end of the year. Without these credits, many planned wind farms in NM will not be built. Fossil fuel interests and their allies in Congress are vigorously opposing the credits. “New Mexico has at least 13,000 megawatts of commercially-viable wind power waiting to be developed that could be providing clean electricity to homes and businesses across the Western US without harmful emissions and without consuming our precious water supplies,” said NM Public Regulation Commissioner Jason Marks at the announcement of the report’s release. “A multi-year renewal of the PTC is a key component for realizing this potential.” Marks was joined by Albuquerque-based pulmonologist Dr. Dona Upson, who said, “With so many New Mexicans suffering from respiratory diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the clean air benefits of wind power can help improve and save lives.” For more information, visit

December 2012 • GreenFireTimes


What's Going On! Events / Announcements

Dec. 12, 9-10:30 am Agriculture Collaborative Meeting Mid-Region Council of Governments of NM, 809 Copper NW

Topic: Agritourism survey results. 505.724.3617,


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.

Dec. 5. 5:30-7:30 pm Green Drinks Hotel Andaluz, 125 Second St. NW

Networking event. Live and silent auction. Bid to win presents/gifts for family & friends. Light fare. $20 donation includes drink and raffle ticket. Free parking with hotel validation. 505.244.3700,, http:/

Dec. 5, 5:30-8 pm Green Tie Party Location: TBA

US Green Building Council-NM annual event brings together chapter members and non-members for socializing, networking and recognition of the year’s accomplishments. Food, entertainment. $15-$20. Open to the public. 505.277.0474

Dec. 7, 4-7 pm Holiday Jubilee-Open House So. Valley Economic Development Center, 318 Isleta Blvd. SW

The Mixing Bowl’s value-added product showcase, Delicious NM unveils the new Tiendita of locally-sourced products, Edible Santa Fe’s Local Food Hero awards. Live music, food and gift sales. Free.

Dec. 8, 9 am-4 pm NM Pueblo Fiber Arts Guild Show & Sale Indian Pueblo Cultural Center 2401 12th St. NW

Celebrate the revival of Pueblo textiles. Meet Louie Garcia, his students and other Pueblo fiber artists. Demonstrations of weaving, embroidery, spinning, basketry and more. Info: 505.363.1294 or 4akatl@gmail. com

Dec. 9, 12 pm NMSEA 40th Anniversary Celebration South Broadway Cultural Center 1025 Broadway Blvd. SE

The NM Solar Energy Association’s new television series Renewable NM will be premiered, and memories and stories from years past will be shared. Reservations: or 505.246.0400,

Dec. 14 Deadline Bernalillo County Strategic Plan

Public comment through 12/14. Covers various issues, objectives and acquisitions. Visit “Bern Co View” on the county website:

Jan. 9, 9-10:30 am Agriculture Collaborative Meeting Mid-Region Council of Governments of NM, 809 Copper NW

Topic: Marketing for Local Growers. 505.724.3617,

February 15-16 NM Organic Farming Conf. Mariott Albquerque Pyramid North

Presented by Farm-to-Table (, NM Dept. of Agriculture (, NMSU Cooperative Extension Service (www.aces.nmsu. edu). Registration: $100 (2-days) or $65 (one-day). Info: 505.473.1004, ext. 10 (Santa Fe); 505.889.9921 (Albuquerque)

Daily Degrees of Change: NM’s Climate Forecast NM Museum of Natural History & Science, 1801 Mountain Rd. NW

With a focus on NM and the SW, this exhibit reveals current and predicted impacts on humans, landscapes and ecosystems. Tickets: $7, $6, $4. Info: 505.841.2800,

Xeriscape Guide Available

A comprehensive list of plants and trees best suited to the climate and soil of the Middle Río Grande region including the East Mountains. Revised by landscape designer Judith Phillips. How-to info on garden planting, plant selection efficient irrigation, rainwater harvesting, xeriscape basics, etc. Available at local libraries, nurseries, home garden centers and community centers or by calling 505.245.3133. More info: 505.768.3655.

Southwest Barter Club

Healthcare using Barter Bucks instead of cash or insurance. Access to acupuncture, chiropractic, eye care, fitness and more. 505.715.2889,

Beneficial Farms CSA

Weekly distribution at La Montañita Co-op Warehouse, 3361 Columbia Dr. NE. This CSA works with up to 40 regional farms each year and offers abundant, affordable shares of fresh fruit and vegetables and other local and regionally produced foods year round. All produce is grown with sustainable chemicalfree methods.


Dec. 3, 6 pm Fire in the Jemez Province Hotel Santa Fe

Southwest Seminars lecture by Mike Bremer, forest archeologist. $12. 505.466.2777,,


Green Fire Times • December 2012

Dec. 5, 6:30 pm Ricardo Cate Book Signing SF Public Library – 145 Washington

Cartoonist from Kewa Pueblo talks about his work and signs his book Without Reservations. 505.955.6788

Dec. 5, 9:30 am-12:30 pm Green Gifts Workshop Susan Todd Studio

Hands-on gift making. Impressive necklaces, scarves, jewelry and more from recycled t-shirts. $45. Info: 505.955.9043

Dec. 6-7, 8 am-4:30 pm Neighborhood Law & Policy Conference SF Community Convention Center

Featured presenters: Sen. Peter Wirth and SFPC Superintendent Joel Boyd. Tuition: $325. Breakfast and lunch included. Public can attend for free or $25 with lunch for both days if space allows. Pre-registration required. Co-sponsored by the city of SF and the SF Neighborhood Law Center. www.

Dec. 6, 2 pm Green Lodging Initiative La Posada Hotel

Representatives of the hospitality industry are invited to hear Evadne Giannini, founder of HospitalityGreen LLC, EPA Administrator Ron Curry, Mayor David Coss and Felicity Broennen, SF Watershed Assn. Executive Director. Info: 505.795.5316 or ebooth13@

Dec. 8, 9 am-4 pm IAIA Holiday Art Market 83 Avan Nu Po Rd.

More than two dozen Institute of American Indian Arts alumni, faculty, students, staff and other Native American artists will sell artwork. 505.424.2300

Dec. 8-9, 9:30 am-4:30 pm Regenerative Agriculture Workshop SF Community College

Darren Doherty’s workshop will deal with increasing land fertility through managing water with precise earthworks, permaculture design, animal husbandry, polyculture edible forests, and more. $175/day or $300/2-days, 505.819.3828,

Dec. 9, 10 am Rooted Lands-Tierras Arraigados Screening The Screen, SFUAD

Acclaimed documentary film. Preview:,

Dec. 9 Opening New World Cuisine: The Histories of Chocolate, Mate y Mas Museum of International Folk Art

Dec. 6, 5-7 pm Future SF Grantee Reception 501 Halona Street

SF Community Foundation community event. Celebrate 2012 grantees Chainbreaker Collective, Bridges Project for Education, Santa Fe Time Bank. Hear about their work. No charge, but advance registration requested. 505.988.9715, foundation@SantaFeCF. org

Dec. 6, 6:30 pm IAIA Student Films IAIA Auditorium, 83 Avan Nu Po Rd. Short film project screenings. 505.424.5716,


Dec. 6-10 Santa Fe Film Festival Multiple Locations

A celebration of independent world cinema. Over 60 screenings, panels and “artists in conversation.” 505.988.7414,

Dec. 7, 3-7 pm, Dec. 8, 9 am-3 pm SF Clay Open House and Sale 545 Camino de la Familia

Studio members, students, teachers and staff will sell their work. Over 20 artists. Food, entertainment, demos. 505.984-1122, www.

Dec. 7, 7-9 pm Regenerative Agriculture Lecture SF Community College, Jemez Rm.

Darren Doherty lecture prior to weekend workshop. $10. Info: 505.819.3828, www.

This exhibit explores how foods around the world developed from mixing the old and the new, and how many tasty dishes and desserts came to be associated with NM. Admission is $6 for NM residents, $9 for non-residents. Youth under 16 are free. Runs through Jan. 5, 2014. 505.476.1200,

Dec. 10, 2-3:30 pm Stories of Old Santa Fe Museum of Spanish Colonial Art 750 Camino Lejo (Museum Hill)

Storytelling by Forest Fenn, William Field and Jack Loeffler. Free to Spanish Colonial Arts Society members; $10 non-members. Reservation required. 505.982.2226.

Dec. 10, 6 pm Evolution of Life and Land in 365 Days: A Geologic Year

SW Seminars lecture by vulcanologist, field geologist, expedition leader Dr. Kirt Kempter. $12. 505.466.2777, southwestseminars@,

Dec. 11, 6-7 pm SF Arts Commission Presentation Community Gallery,SF Convention Cntr.

“How Can I Participate?” The Arts Commission recommends awards to arts organizations, initiates innovative community programming

and provides technical assistance to individuals and organizations. Info: 505.955.6707,

Dec. 11, 6 pm NM Environmental Law Center’s 25th Anniversary Center for Contemporary Arts 1050 Old Pecos Tr.

World premiere of NMELC short film from Emmy-winning filmmaker Debra Anderson, award presentations, Milagro Beanfield War screening. $10 suggested donation. Tickets: 505.982.1338. Info: 505.989.9022, shelbie@

Dec. 12, 10 am-4 pm Seton Gallery and Archives 133 Seton Village Rd., Seton Village

Public visiting hours at the Academy for the Love of Learning. Gallery features original art, books, artifacts and archival material from Ernest Thompson Seton’s personal library. 505.995.1860,

Dec. 13, 11 am-12 pm Learning Landscape Tour 133 Seton Village Rd., Seton Village

What’s taking root at the Academy for the Love of Learning? Join landscape designer Christie Green for a brisk walk. Discussion following tour. Bring a sack lunch. Suggested donation $10. RSVP required. 505.995.1860 or

Dec. 15-16, 9:30 am-4 pm Young Native Artists Show/Sale NM History Museum Meem Community Room

Children and grandchildren of the Palace of the Governors’ Portal artists. Free through Washington Ave. door. 505.476.5200

Dec. 15-28, 11 am-3 pm Handmade/Homemade Lucky Bean Café in Sanbusco Center

Pop-Up Holiday Shop. Gifts by local artists. Jewelry, ornaments, ceramics, drawings, t-shirts and more. Info: 505.424.5050 or http://sfaiblog. org/2012/11/14/2012-pushpinclothespin-show

Dec. 15, 7 pm Sacred Music, Sacred Dance James A. Little Theater, NM School for the Deaf

Performance by the Drepung Loseling Monks of Tibet. $20. Adv. tickets: Ark Books (133 Romero St., 988.3699), Project Tibet (403 Canyon Rd., 982.3002) and at the door.

Dec. 16, 11 am Water Management for the SF Area Collected Works Bookstore 202 Galisteo St.

Journey SF presents: Lessons from Dutch Water Management for the SF Area. A conversation with David Bacon and landscape planner Jan-Willem Jansens, exploring solutions for current and anticipated water management challenges.

Dec. 18, 5:30 pm Water Matters Lecture Randall Davey Audubon Center Upper Canyon Rd.

Amigos Bravos presents Nicola Ulibarri on the global water crisis and the potential for humans to live sustainably. Info: 575.758.3874, 505.983.4609

Dec. 22, 1-5 pm Global Shift Celebration 505 Camino de los Márquez

Co-hosted by the Center for Spiritual Living and Agents for Conscious Evolution Santa

Fe with students of Barbara Marx Hubbard. Music by SF Harmony Center. Live video stream of Birth.2012 event in Los Angeles. Info:

Dec. 28, 1-4 pm Green Holiday Craft Making Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Education Annex, 123 Grant Ave.

Create crafts from recycled materials. Bottlecap magnets, pendants, mobiles and more. A holiday family program. Free. 505.946.1033

December 31, 4:30 pm Entry Deadline Remodeler’s Council Awards

Annual showcase for remodelers, architects, associates and green builders for exceptional designs and craftsmanship. Portfolios will be displayed at the SF Home Show, March 9-10. Info: 505.982.1774,

Jan. 11, 7-9 pm Tourism and Sustainable Development SF Community College, Jemez Room

Lecture by Daniel Mirabal and María Boccalandro. $10. Workshop on Jan. 12-13. 505.819.3828,

Jan. 19-20, 2013 Art and Social Transformation Intensive SF Art Institute

A two-day workshop exploring best practices in planning and leading community engagement through creative and artistic practices. Intended for artists, organizations, cultural workers and community members. Facilitated by Molly Sturges and Chris Jonas. Presented by Littleglobe and the SF Art Institute. $125 sliding scale. 505.424.5050,

Tues. and Sat., 8 am-1 pm Santa Fe Farmers’ Market 1607 Paseo de Peralta (& Guadalupe)

Northern NM farmers & ranchers bring you fresh greenhouse tomatoes, greens, root veggies, cheese, teas, herbs, spices, honey, baked goods, Southwestern body care and much more.

Sundays, 10 am-4 pm Railyard Artisan Market Farmers’ Market Pavilion, 1607 Paseo de Peralta

Live music, food and over 30 artists. www.

Saturdays, Approx. 2 pm Meet Your Farmer Joe’s Dining, Rodeo & Zia

A lunch experience. An opportunity to ask questions about farming, enjoy a local meal and meet farmers who grow NM foods. Vendors from the farmers’ market have an aftermarket lunch and meet the community. Info:

Saturdays, 4 pm Unicopia Green Radio KTRC - 1260 am

A weekly show with Faren Dancer. Our culture is requiring a major shift in how we relate to the Earth. Our fossil fuel-based economy is poised for transition to a renewable future. Each show explores the issues, politics, science, and the evolution of consciousness impacting the balancing of life on our planet.

Santa Fe Creative Tourism Workshops, Classes and Experiences

Designing Your Well-Lived Future Workshops

Are you a single, working parent or retiring Boomer looking for community and a simpler, walkable lifestyle? Join a series of planning/design sessions aimed at developing floor plans, shared amenities and cluster possibilities where residents get more from sustainable designs. Tour a cohousing community and develop ideas of alternatives to current suburban choices. For more info, contact Brian Skeele: 505.310.1797, or visit

7 Edition of “Day Hikes in the Santa Fe Area” th

Features 56 destinations, new reconfigured hikes with maps and photos, safety tips, resource guide. Available in local bookstores.

Save A Ton Recycling Campaign

The city of Santa Fe and the SF New Mexican have launched a campaign to double recycling in Santa Fe in one year. Santa Feans score way below state and national averages. For a city with its own recycling facility that envisions becoming a Zero Waste community, we can do better! Find info on the Save A Ton campaign at and click on Green Line or on Facebook. 505.955.2209


Dec. 1-2 Northern NM Birth Summit Northern NM College, Española

This summit will recognize and elevate the sacredness of birth by listening and integrating childbirth experiences from doulas, midwives, mothers and fathers. Explore ancient and modern wisdom from diverse northern NM traditions. Panel discussions, talking circles, music, vendors. Info:; Presented by Tewa Women United: www.Tewa

Dec. 5, 10 am-12 pm Forest Restoration Grant Workshop 208 Cruz Alta Road, Taos

March 2-3 Global Acequia Symposium Convention Center, Las Cruces, NM

“Acequias and the Future of Resilience in Global Perspective” Project partners include NMSU, UNM, Sandia Laboratories and the NM Acequia Association. Info: 505.995.9644

Llama Rescue Adventure Raffle

Contribute funds for unwanted or abandoned llamas. Only 100 tickets available. $100 donation. Win a 5-day/4-night Taos Adventure Vacation Package (value: over $2,000) that includes 3-day llama trekking, 1-night stay at the Taos Inn, 1-night stay at Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort/Spa. Drawing on Jan. 15. 800.758.LAMA, www.

Incubating NM Rural Food Producers

Free one-year project aimed at helping small food producers looking to expand. USDA and South Valley Economic Development Center have partnered to help small food producers in NM gain access to larger markets, receive business training and assistance. Benefits of the program include: Access to SVEDC partners in areas such as marketing, distribution, micro-lending and business assistance; Access to SVEDC retail buyers such as Whole Foods, John Brooks and more. For info, contact Brandom@, 505.301.3689.

Río Grande Return Gifts from the River

Locally produced salsas, jams, honey, chocolates, soaps, lotions, incense and more. Supports local farmers, producers and the conservation of the Río Grande. 505.466.1767, toll free: 866.466.1767,

The Home Farming Revolution for Drylands

Carson National Forest is hosting a free grant-writing workshop. The program provides cost-share grants to collaborative groups working on projects to reduce wildfire threats, improve watersheds and create local jobs. Info: 575.758.6344,

Dec. 5, 10 am-3:30 pm Tucumcari Convention Center Northeastern New Mexico Prairie Partners Meeting

Fourth annual meeting. Topics: Long-term climate trends in NM, hunting regulations on state land, economics of brush control and invasive species, NRCS conservation easement programs, private lands biologists, more. Info: 505.946.2029,

Dec. 7 Taos Feeds Taos Benefit Concert

New book by Zoe Wilcox and Melanie Rubin is now available. A step-by-step guide to help you convert any plot of land into a micro-farm. Email or visit to download the book’s introduction for free. Available at Bookworks in Albq. and online.

Veterans Green Jobs Academy Northern NM College, Española

Workforce training and specific degree programs to support military veterans in fully accredited academic certificate and degree programs in areas of environmental science related to renewable energy, hazardous materials response, forestry, sustainable agriculture, wildland fire science, construction trades and others. A partnership with the NM Dept. of Veterans Services. For more info, call Dr. Biggs at 505.747.5453 or visit

Hosted by Taos band Last To Know and KTAO. Free admission with 5 or more cans of food donation. Info: 575.751.7999, email:,

Dec. 30-Jan. 1 Ancient Practices to Enhance Our Modern Lives Ghost Ranch, Abiquiú, NM

A contemplative retreat that includes simple movement, breathing exercises, stillness, ritual, food as medicine and the role of a holistic lifestyle in achieving a balanced life. Info: 505.685.4333, ext. 4121,

December 2012 • GreenFireTimes



Green Fire Times • December 2012

December 2012 Green Fire Times Edition  
December 2012 Green Fire Times Edition  

Featuring: Beyond 2012: Wisdom from the Origins, The Mayan Calendar and the Future of Humanity; Greenbuild Conference • Gifting Local; The...