You’re making good things happen

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By Camilla Feibelman, chapter director

In the face of so many and such complex environmental issues, focus and strategic action are essential to achieving real, tangible change.

Without focus and strategy we might be paralyzed by the scale of what we are confronting. But if we organize in a way that lets people take measurable action toward change that we can see and feel, we are more likely to be successful.

For these reasons I’ve been working around the state to help our local groups set up Action Teams focused on winning tangible change on single issues that people really care about.

In Albuquerque, the Bosque Action Team unites half a dozen organizations and many individuals working to keep the Bosque natural rather than let it be developed into an urban park, as Mayor Richard Berry proposes.

Team member Sarita Streng formed a Bosquitos subgroup for folks with kids, many of whom participated in the South Valley Dia de los Muertos Procession. Team Member Sandria Cook cut images of bosque animals out of cardboard and had volunteers paint skeletons on one side and abstract representations of the animals on the other side, symbolizing the fine line between life and death in which the bosque exists, winning our group best political message of the parade! Action Team member Ian Mentken took the lead on organizing the Big Bosque Benefit Bash at Tortuga Gallery, which brought out hundreds of people and raised more than $1,000.

In Las Cruces, Action Team members worked throughout the summer and fall to collect thousands of petitions in favor of protecting Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks as a National Monument. When Sens. Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall filed legislation to achieve this end, Action Team members wrote dozens of letters to the editor thanking them for their work.
Though the legislation will hopefully pass the U.S. Senate, it’s safe to say that the House will be a tougher environment, so Las Crucens are also calling on President Obama to use the Antiquities Act to establish the Monument administratively.

One of the chapter’s newest action teams, in El Paso, is working to protect Otero Mesa from oil and gas development. The chapter and other groups have been working to get the Bureau of Land Management to create supplements for oil and gas leasing and Lands with Wilderness Characteristics in the BLM Resource Management Plan for the area that includes Otero Mesa. In good news on this front, the BLM recently announced that it will create the supplements, which means many special lands will be protected from drilling while the BLM surveys them.

The other new Action Team, in Los Alamos, will try to pass a plastic-bag ban for the county and a fee for paper bags. BYOB (Bags not Beer)!

We are also using the Action Team model statewide to address global warming. Twenty-three members of the new team met at the Kewa Pueblo Emergency Center to promote solar energy use, reduce the burning of fossil fuels and develop renewable efforts at the municipal level. Our second statewide Action Team is looking at the issues of dairy and water contamination and has recently coined the slogan “New Mexico families want milk and clean water, too.”

And of course we have much to celebrate this holiday season. The PRC reversed its decision to cut in half the amount of solar energy that utilities are required to produce, thanks in large part to your comments and vigilance. And hundreds of people attended hearings to support better rules for wolf management.

If you are interested in joining one of our Action Teams, just drop me a line at camilla.feibelman@sierraclub.org.

Remember that the best gift you can give to your friends and family this season is a planet that will sustain us for generations to come.

Thanks to our activists, volunteers and donors

This fall we’ve been working to raise funds for our bosque and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks work and have a few special thanks. First, thanks to all of the volunteers that made these events possible. Thanks to all of you who donated. There’s still time at our website.

Fall Bosque Party: Thanks to Sallie and Denis McCarthy for sharing their home. Sage Harrington for charming us with her music ( and Warren Cox and Peggy Norton for donating door prizes.

Las Cruces Meet & Greet with Michael Brune: Thanks to Alice Chornesky for sharing her home and Margot Wilson for coordinating the event and the Borderland Bones for their fine trombone tones (Contact: Lynn Enright 575 521 1290, or Dave Moore 575 528 9139).

Big Bosque Benefit Bash: Thanks to Ian Mentkin at Mim: Music is Medicine, Music is Medicine for coordinating the event. Buy local music at his site for your own price and benefit a cause at the same time. Pax Garcia, Tortuga Gallery, for hosting the event (901 Edith Blvd SE, Albuquerque, 87102, tortuga.gallery.abq@gmail.com) Thanks to musical groups: Sage and Jared’s Happy Gland Band
Strange Magic, Javier Romero of Strange Magic, the Fukien Ministers and Le Chat Lunatique. Thanks to Farina Pizzaria for donating http://www.farinapizzeria.com/. Thanks to Fernando Pizarro and Doña Elias Kitchen (fondadonaelia@gmail.com) for sharing their wonderful Mexican Food. Thanks to Marley Coffee for being there too.