What: 1st International IFOAM Conference on Organic Animal and Plant Breeding Where: Santa Fe Convention Center, Sante Fe, NM, USA When: August 25-28, 2009
The Conference Opening Ceremony and Reception on Tuesday, Aug. 25 at 7 pm, are open to the public at $10 per person. Keynote speakers include New Mexico Agriculture Secretary Miley Gonzalez and Indian food activist Vandana Shiva.
For a state with so much solar potential, New Mexico has realized very little actual solar power. PNM (the major electrical utility in NM) currently has about 1.4 megawatts of solar PV capacity, almost all of which is owned by individual customers. PNM owns two solar facilities, a 25kW solar PV system located in Algodones and a 5kW system in Aztec. With so little solar photovoltaic power in place, PNM's most recent proposal to limit privately-owned, grid-tied solar PV systems has the Renewable Energy Industry Association of New Mexico (REIA-NM) concerned.
What: Native Plant Day, promoted by the Native Plant Society of New Mexico. When: All day Saturday, August 15th Where: Agua Fría Nursery, Payne's Nurseries, Santa Fe Greenhouses, and Plants of the Southwest
Carbon Footprint. Peak Oil. Energy Independence. All of these are different ways to talk about how fossil fuels are a finite resource and supplies are running out, quickly*. Given that crude oil, dirty coal and natural (methane) gas reserves are at, or near, peak production how will you prepare for short supplies and high prices? In other words - Do you move off the grid or stick it out in town? Doug Fine has staked his claim on the Funky Butte Ranch in the backwoods of southwestern New Mexico while I'm here in suburban Santa Fe, NM.
After our tour of National Parks last fall it's good to be reminded that good things come in small packages. We visited friends and relatives in Madison, Wisconsin and among all the usual vacation fun we checked out a local conservation park. Throughout Madison are 14 conservation parks, totaling over 1600 acres, dedicated to preserving native plant and animal life in the metro area. Our 8 year old guide showed us there was plenty of fun to be had, even without a swingset.
Here are a few images from the Owen Conservation Park in Madison, WI.
Could New Mexico be on the path of a new High-Speed Rail Corridor running from Texas to Colorado? Imagine being able to take a bullet train from El Paso, TX north to Denver, CO with stops in between at Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Colorado Springs. You could catch a dedicated, high-speed passenger train instead of spending hours driving by car or trying to book a flight that doesn't connect through Phoenix, Dallas or even further away.
Colorado has just begun a new program to allow rainwater harvesting. Strangely enough, due to the complexities of Colorado's water laws, it had been illegal to catch and hold the rain that fell on your roof! On June 2, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter signed the rain water collection bill into law. While there are many restrictions as to who can harvest the rain in Colorado, it is definitely a good step towards sustainability. Congratulations Colorado, starting July 1st you will no longer have to hide your rain barrels! Next, we have to work on Utah.
Ever wonder what is REALLY in your water? If you drink water from a private well, you should test that water to find out. Santa Fe County, the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED), the City of Santa Fe, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), and the Good Water Company to jointly test private domestic water wells June 23 through 25 at no charge to residents or owners. Water tests will include field and laboratory analyses for approximately 50 chemical parameters, including nitrate, fluoride, heavy metals including uranium, and organic vapor such as from gasoline and degreasing solvent.