Government

Local, State, or Federal Government agencies and issues

Thinking of Trains at Christmas

Vintage Train Christmas card

A model train under the Christmas tree is nostalgic decoration. Actual trains running through New Mexico (like the Southwest Chief and Rail Runner Express) have a definite history, but do they have a future? That depends on decisions made by the NMDOT in the newest New Mexico State Rail Plan. While you're enjoying a holiday break you may wish to send the NMDOT your thoughts supporting rail travel in New Mexico.

This is Why Santa Feans Don't Recycle!

Santa Fe Recycling Flowchart

Santa Feans recycle less than 10% of all possible materials that instead go to a landfill. When the national average for recycling is 34% why is the rate in eco-conscious Santa Fe county so low? Because recycling in Santa Fe is a pain in the ass. To illustrate, a friend created this flow chart for visiting relatives to explain what items could be recycled and what couldn't. At first I laughed, because recycling really is this ridiculously complicated in Santa Fe. Then I had a realization.

Local Power and Clean Energy

Green Power to the People

How can a city shift to renewable energy when the local power utility is committed to fossil fuels? Boulder, CO has decided to "explore ... forming a city-owned utility". The Kit Carson Electric Coop in Taos, NM has a customer-owned solar array and other renewable energy purchase contracts. The City and County of Santa Fe, NM are researching creating their own publicly-owned electric utility.

Recycling for Fun and Profit

Aluminum bale and forklift

Why is it that recycling so often feels like an obligation and not like fun? I've discovered that recycling is a lot more fun when it pays cash. I made a trip to a local scrap metal yard today and exchanged aluminum window trim and a leaky stainless steel tank for cold, hard cash. The line of pickups carrying scrap metal into the yard made it clear that quite a few folks already know about the profitable side of recycling.

A Cabin Full of Inspiration

Aldo Leopold cabin in Tres Piedras, NM

There is something about the Southwestern landscape that inspires people. Whether it's the mountains and deserts, the distant horizon, or the technicolor sunsets I don't know. But, something about this place sparks people's imagination. Case in point - Aldo Leopold. Something happened while Leopold was in Arizona and New Mexico that drove him to write A Sand County Almanac and to think about conservation in a new way.

Charging into Santa Fe

Level 1 Charging Stations at the Santa Fe Railyard Parking Garage

Slowly, but surely, electrical vehicle infrastructure is coming to Santa Fe, NM. There are two Level 1 Charging Stations in the Santa Fe Railyard Parking Garage on the first level. They aren't very exciting to look at, but these are the first municipal 'electric refueling' stations in our town.

Secret Agent Man

Santa Fe County Extension Agent touring Bob's garden

Somewhere in your county, a secret agent stands at the ready. He (or she) is the local County Extension Agent, ready to answer your home garden and landscape questions. County Extension Agents aren't supposed to be a secret but they are lower profile than the 'Double-O' kind of agent. I just met the local Extension Agent and learned quite a lot about the art of growing plants and animals in my county.

Opening the Zia Station

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Few things seem to get people as excited as a train rolling into town. I wouldn't have thought that a public meeting about a commuter rail station would pack a school cafeteria full of concerned citizens. Yet, that was the scene on March 14th as neighbors came to find out more about the possible opening of the Zia Station for the Rail Runner Express.

Baby Steps to Zero Carbon

Baby Steps

There is a big gap between my carbon footprint today and the carbon neutral future I want. Not only is that gap large, our family CO2 emissions just increased with our new child! How can I call myself a climate hawk when my carbon footprint just grew? I'm a pragmatist and temporary setbacks are often a part of making forward progress.

Everything Old is New Again

New Canyon Road Hydropower Turbine installation

Asking one simple question can lead, eventually, to big changes. In 2007 Dale Lyons, a Water Resources Coordinator for the City of Santa Fe Water Department, looked at the decommissioned Canyon Road Hydropower Plant and asked if a hydro-power plant was still feasible in Santa Fe. Dale made a few basic calculations that were promising enough to warrant a full engineering study. That study started a process which has culminated in a brand new hydro-power plant inspired by the original power plant in the Santa Fe Canyon Road Hydro Park.

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