Santa Fe bans the bag


By Jessie Emerson, Zero Waste coordinator

Congratulations Santa Fe! It now joins the ranks of enlightened cities Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Austin in
banning single-use plastic bags.

This success story began in 2008, when City Councilor Chris Calvert introduced a resolution to tax plastic bags. It only called for a “fair and equitable program including, but not limited to, an educational program to reduce or eliminate both paper and plastic disposable bag use.”

Nothing much happened then, but seeds were planted.

Geothermal brings jobs to New Mexico

Palinpinon Geothermal power plant in Philippines - courtesy of wikipedia

Guest Column by Land Commissioner Ray Powell

Santa Fe’s Maxine S. Goad honored by Sierra Club

Maxine S. Goad - photo by Haeli Miceli

By Susan Martin, chapter political chair

Referred to as the “godmother of New Mexico’s groundwater” by Ron Curry, former Cabinet Secretary of the New Mexico Environment Department (and now EPA Region 6 administrator), Maxine S. Goad was instrumental in the development of the state’s groundwater-quality protection program, working first as a citizen advocate and then as a state employee to formulate the rules that are used today.

PRC keeps renewables rule — sort of

Solar Home

By Mona Blaber

We asked you to help protect renewable energy in New Mexico, and you responded — in force.

In April, after the Public Regulation Commission agreed to rehear the Reasonable Cost Threshold rule that enforces New Mexico’s Renewable Energy Act, the Rio Grande Chapter asked supporters to submit comments urging the commission not to weaken the rule.

Partners for a Clean New Mexico Launch Statewide Campaign to Combat Illegal Dumping


PRESS RELEASE: Partners for a Clean New Mexico Launch Statewide Campaign to Combat Illegal Dumping
DATE: April 18, 2013 Donna Hummel, Bureau of Land Mgmt., 505/954-2018
Joy Esparsen, NM Assoc. of Counties, 505/820-8111

National Geographic close to going Green for it's paper source

According to Green America's Better Paper Project latest report, (more info click here) the organization has succeeded in getting one of the largest, most influential magazine publishers in the country to admit the benefits of using recycled paper.

The Plastic Bag Debate


By Jessie Emerson, Chapter Zero Waste leader
The National Climate Data Center released a report early January 2013 saying that 2012 was the warmest year on record in the US since it started keeping records in 1895. The Federal government released its crop report January 14th of this year: there have been crop losses caused by the worst drought since the 1950’s.

It is clear that the planet is in a warming cycle that is accelerated by
industralization and carbon emissions, ie. by fossil fuels. Steven davis of
the University of california states,” The only real solution to climate change
is to stop dumping CO2 into the atmosphere altogether.”

This article will focus on how plastic bags contribute to global warming,
environmental degradation and human health problems. We will also
discuss the use of corn plastics.

NASA’s Climate Kids idea: Make your own recycled paper greeting cards—and then plant them!



There’s a fun new activity on NASA’s Climate Kids website. Instead of just emptying the paper-shredder receptacle into the recycle bin, recycle it yourself! Make your own recycled paper greeting cards—and then plant them! This “seed paper’ activity is easy and fun, and produces a greeting anyone would find endearing for Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day. Visit

Check out these great sites for kids:

Zero Waste information and brochure


Zero Waste is a concept based on nature. Nature doesn't generate waste or pollution. What is waste for one organism is food for another.

Zero Waste focuses on reducing waste by reusing products and composting rather than recycling.

The Sierra Club Policy
The Sierra Club adopted a Zero Waste policy in 2008. It addresses not only the qauntity of waste we generate but also its toxicity and its important link to corporate responsibility and climate change.

Dairy groundwater protections in danger

By Dan Lorimier, Chapter Conservation Coordinator and Lobbyist

After almost three years of wrangling with New Mexico’s dairy industry, calling themselves the Dairy Industry Group for a Cleaner Environment (DIGCE), and the New Mexico Environment Department’s Groundwater Quality Bureau, the Rio Grande Chapter saw the Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) implement new regulations specific to the dairy industry early in 2012.

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