Rep. Townsend Asked: What can a state of 2 million do about climate change? Well, let’s talk about that.

For weeks Retake has been focused on tomorrow…as in the next few days in preparation for the Legislative Session. Today we focus on a more distant tomorrow, asking you to think about and comment about what NM can do about climate change. We include reader comments from yesterday’s blog, a video from a 15-year old activist and more from Kathleen Dean Moore.

If you do nothing more with this post, read the comments from Kathleen Dean Moore at the end of the post and then watch the 2-minute video featuring a 15-year old Swedish girl who answers the question: What can a small country like Sweden do?  She challenges us all and also asks the question What will you tell your children in 20, 30 or more years?  We have much work to do and that work should be informed by the youth and by our young leaders whose future is at stake and who have no patience for our games, our negotiations and our excuses.

Saturday, Jan. 19, 8:30am. KSFR 101.1 FM.  Retake Our Democracy.  Today’s show included a Roundhouse Roundup that covered gun violence prevention and HB 87, a bill that would give judges the power to prohibit those involved in a domestic violence dispute to possess guns. Since gun possession mixed with domestic disputes increases the likelihood of a woman being murdered five times, this is very important legislation and has been assigned its committee path. Action Alerts will go out to those signed up for the Statewide Rapid Response Network on Monday. I also discussed climate change and the three climate change bills currently on our MUST PASS bill list. And, as in yesterday’s blog, it posed the question asked by Rep. Townsend: What can a small state do about climate change, the focus of today’s post? Grab a cup of joe and listen in. And if you miss it live, go to, go to the programs menu, scroll to podcasts and select Retake Our Democracy. Today’s show should be available by Monday.

Saturday, Jan. 19, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Northern New Mexico Women’s March.  Demonstrators will meet at the state Capitol and march to the Santa Fe Plaza for a rally. For more information check out this article from the New Mexican.  The Jan. 19 event — themed #WomensWave — will be a celebration of the women who are stirring change, particularly in New Mexico.

What Can a Small State Do About Climate Change?  Quite a Lot Actually

The post yesterday generated some interesting comments, posted at the end of the blog and comments sent to me in emails and in person. The radio show that airs at 8:30am today also touched upon how we need to work in the moment to get some good climate change bills passed in 2019, bills that can help NM take incremental steps toward 100% renewable energy and a sane, sustainable future. But none of those bills will get us to that sane future.

In prior posts, I have suggested that once the Roundhouse session is over, we need to convene visionaries from all over the state and begin to envision a Green New Deal for NM, one that addresses climate change with an urgency and adequacy that matches the scale of the challenge and threat, while also addressing the morally indefensible level of wealth and income inequality in NM.

We don’t have to wait until the session is over to begin this work as a convergence of climate change visionaries is scheduled for the 28th and 29th.  This post includes information about that Convergence, as well as comments from blog readers and more comments from Kathleen Dean Moore. Today’s post concludes with 2-minute talk by Greta, a 15-year old Swedish girl who frames the situation perfectly: it is adult greed that is robbing her and her children of a future. She closes by asking: what will I tell my grandchildren about you?  We still have time to influence what she will say?

A Just Transition Convergence

January 28th 9:30am – 6pm (followed by dinner and a talk, see below) – January 29th (8:30am-4pm). The Just Transition Convergence, Multiple Sites in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Session 1 is sponsored by New Energy Economy and the remainder of the Convergence is sponsored by a dozen climate change advocacy groups. 

Session I will be facilitated by NEE. The discussion will be attended by a cross-section of activists from all over the state, helping folks in Santa Fe and other big energy consuming communities – understand the imperative to transition from fossil fuels and nuclear and to do so by following the lead of front-line communities. Along those lines, the session will also help define the principles for a just transition as defined by our indigenous communities. They are also inviting community leaders from Pueblo Nations who have been under the thumb of the monopoly utilities but who have great renewable energy potential. The event will kick-off with an indigenous leaders reception on Sunday evening. Details are provided below as to how to RSVP.

Session I.  Unitarian Universalist Church, 107 W Barcelona.  An opportunity to first define our values and priorities and center them on justice and building power and then after lunch to examine New Energy Economy’s 2019 legislative priorities.

  • 9:30-11:30 Centering Justice and Community Power in NM’s Energy Transition
  • 11:30-12:00 Lunch Will Be Provided
  • 12:00-2:00 Legislative Platform Workshops & Report Backs

At 2pm, the Convergence will move one block to Temple Beth Shalom, 205 E Barcelona for the Climate Conference, sponsored by multiple environmental groups, with a training on being an effective climate justice advocate, followed by breakouts for four climate change legislative initiatives.

  • Tax Based Concepts: Carbon Fee and Dividend Bill; Rooftop Solar Tax Credit; Electric Vehicle Tax Credit
  • Utility Based Solutions: Renewable Portfolio Standards; Securitization; Energy Storage
  • Other Electric Solutions: Efficient Use of Energy Act; Community Solar; Solar on State Facilities; Transmission
  • Oil and Gas Solutions: Penalties and Violations; Land Office Royalties; Agency Budgets

At 6pm there will be a casual dinner followed by a talk at 7pm by:

  • Laura Paskus, New Mexico Environmental Reporter
  • Destiny Watford, Goldman Environmental Prize winner for her work in High School to stop a trash burning incinerator in her neighborhood in Baltimore, MD

On Day 2, Tuesday, Jan 29 at 8;30 Convergence attendees will convene at the Roundhouse in Room 326 to be oriented and then to visit legislators to advocate for bills discussed the day before. From 1pm-3pm, Convergence participants will reconvene in room 326 to work together to flesh out what might comprise a NM Green New Deal.  At 3pm, in the Rotunda, Governor Lujan Grisham will address us, discussing her vision for addressing climate change, followed by a panel including Sen. Jacob Candelaria who will present the 2019 version of a Securitization. You will recall that last year, Retake and other advocates successfully killed this bill, essentially a bail out for PNM. Multiple sources have told me to expect a much improved version this year. I sure hope so and we will find out by next Tuesday.

So, when Rep. Townsend asks: What Can a Small State do?  It turns out that from this Convergence it is clear that the answer in both the short-term and the long-term, is quite a lot. I encourage you to join us at the Convergence so we can continue this discussion. Click this link for details and to RSVP. This event requires an RSVP as meals are being provided.

From Retake Our Democracy Supporters & Kathleen:  What Can a Small State Do? & What are We Up Against

From Emmy Kaponen.  A personal perspective on what each of us can do.

Who among us is carpooling? Who among us questions the prescribed burning? Who among us has changed our energy usage since Greta , the 15 yr old Swede spoke?
It is easy to condemn big users but unless we change too we are all living a lie.

From Mary-Charlotte Domandi, Radio Cafe– Who provides some practical ideas for what NM can do.  A good start on a list of to dos.

While I absolutely do not agree with Jim Townsend’s comment, “What we do within our state would have no impact aside from harming our constituents today,” I think there are some important pieces missing from the list of responses above.

The question is, “What can one small state do?”
And the answers, in my view, need to include practical solutions, like:

  • NM can provide vast amounts of renewable energy for our own state and beyond
  • NM can use our scientific / research resources to develop stronger energy storage capabilities
  • NM can be a leader in implementing and teaching agricultural practices that promote carbon sequestration in soil–the greatest untapped carbon sink that almost nobody is talking about (yet)
  • NM can develop not only renewable energy, but also renewable/alternative economic models to fund states that rely heavily on oil and gas revenues to fund their governments. (This is still a work in progress, but it’s a necessity that requires the attention of forward-thinking economists.)

Can readers provide other ideas?  Please comment below.

Mick Nichols– Who offers a more philosophical response but in doing so also examines how people decide and decide to act. Well done, Mick, as always.

Hi Paul and Roxanne. I just answered a survey from the Union of Concerned Scientists, of which I am a member. One part of the survey allowed for “other” responses than the check-the-box format of the survey. Their survey closely reflects the climate change elephant in the room that your post posits. When it comes to the recalcitrant attitude of certain politicians, who would rather hang onto their one bird in the hand than release the gaggle of geese hiding in the bush nearby, my view of the MOs of almost all deniers is as follows.

The fundamental semantic at work in most human decision making is ‘The Death by a Thousand Cuts.’ True learning is a messy business. It must be experiential because humans are unable to grasp any abstract without reliance on drama to give the snake some lines. True knowledge must be personalized so it can be validated, or else it stands in the shadows, invalidating catharsis, the primary driver of any ownership of a true thing.

Climate science is not like the weather (meteorology). Scientific method is not useful during a cloudburst that floats your car and you into an arroyo. If we are very honest with ourselves, we must admit that almost no one in the general public has a clue about how science operates in generating truthful and useful information, let alone using any given phenomenon to extrapolate far back into the past or predict future events.

So for science to use past and present data, even very well documented and verified ad nauseum, to demonstrate a most certain future calamity, has the effect on most in the public of bumping a shin or scratching an arm on a rose thorn. Science is not a friend of the fast brain, which demands rapidly adjudicated outcomes that beg a satisfactory value. And to learn how science works and how to work it oneself in the pursuit of a valuable truth challenges most human’s slow brain, which has an inherent laziness which must be overcome.

Now the truth of the matter is that the Earth’s physical and biological systems are dying via a thousand cuts every microsecond. But most folks never see these, or feel these, or smell these or can point to an outcome that has significant negative impact on them personally. They also cannot easily intellectualize the quantum mechanics that demonstrate that all matter, energy, space and phenomenae are interconnected and wholly intra-dependent.

So few feel, let alone comprehend, how the death of one Monarch butterfly cuts the skin and creates scar tissue that weakens us all. So for a politico to rush to the defense of the oil industry or an economist to question the payout capability of a Green New Deal is, sadly and tragically, the easiest of decisions to make.

As the cuts accumulate, the infections persist, the organism experiences physical and emotional depression and distress prevails, the Thousand Cuts will have the day, and the mythological pipe dreams of the rapture seekers will be devoured by the very science they worked so hard to deny.

Our only recourse is to blast through the accumulating oxidation that entraps the human condition. Maybe we will serendipitously find that 13th Monkey that will save the day. You never know. That is a great lesson of science.

As I see it there is only one unforgivable sin – to choose fear and abandon reverence.

I always appreciate Mick’s perspective and what a fine writer.  His analysis of what motivates us to make decisions and to take action. Any ideas for how to create conditions that force our leaders to accelerate the transition needed? 

From Bouncing with Bud Ryan, KSFR Rock n’ Roll Disc Jockey....I spoke with Bud immediately after recording the Retake show airing today at 8:30am.  His comment was terse.

“It’s capitalism. It demands growth and we can’t continue to grow.”

That capitalism is at the root of our problems has been reiterated many times in this blog. Click here for but one example. But if you are intrigued by this topic, go to our homepage and use the search engine on the right, enter “capitalism” and you will find plenty to consider.

More From Kathleen Dean Moore—Dean Moore artfully captures what capitalist decision making is about and the challenge we face

Let no one think that some sudden moral enlightenment on the part of oil and gas industries or the federal government will save the children. The oil and gas industries now effectively control most federal energy and environmental policy in the United States. Legislators, who might have stopped them, are bought off in a monstrous corruption scandal rendered legal by the Supreme Court in Citizens United. In its frenzy for short-term profit, there is no sign that the oil and gas industry will control itself for the public good, for the sake of the future of life on the planet, or even to avoid inevitable financial ruin not so far down the road.

Men (with almost no exceptions, they are men) shrug into their suitcoats, gather at rosewood tables, and devise fossil-fuel business plans that they know full well will sicken children and destroy the necessary conditions for their thriving. The shame. Men fasten their cufflinks, gather in legislative offices, and create new rules that allow them to filter the toxic gases of their industry through the lungs of other peoples’ children. The moral monstrosity. Men knot their red ties, meet in trailers beside fracking rigs, and plan how oil companies will force, bribe, and intimidate their way into children’s schoolyards.

A black-suited man with a shaved head, spokesman for the American Petroleum Institute, once poked a big finger into my face and said, “Don’t you ever ever ever ever underestimate the power of the fossil fuel industry.” I don’t, truly I don’t. It has become clear that they will not stop until some greater force stops them.

And From Greta Who At 15 Summarizes the Situation with Unflinching Honesty.  A Must View

Categories: Climate Change, Agriculture, Land Use and Wildlife, Personal & Collective Action, racial justice

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2 replies

  1. Our NM State Constitution currently includes Article XX Section 21 (Pollution Control) which is totally ignored. This should be a guide and a shield to all current and future environmental decisions. Under any conservative administration both State and Federal the people of New Mexico and their environment are placed in a subservient position to profits and greed. Our people need an adequate defense to the possibilities and the probabilities confronting them. As a change, or instead of Section 21, or in addition to, New Mexico should seriously consider the Green Amendment as presented below. It includes remedy and Climate Change.

    This is an idea which is in place already in Pennsylvania and has been used successfully in Court. It is being promoted by Author and activist Maya K. van Rossum the Delaware Riverkeeper Author of The Green Amendment, Securing Our Right to a Healthy Environment. This is a much needed environmental tool. It can be done here. When?

    Mike Neas

    505 269-4261

    Sec. 21. [Pollution control.]

    The protection of the state’s beautiful and healthful environment is hereby declared to be of fundamental importance to the public interest, health, safety and the general welfare. The legislature shall provide for control of pollution and control of despoilment of the air, water and other natural resources of this state, consistent with the use and development of these resources for the maximum benefit of the people. (As added November 2, 1971.)

    Proposal Amendment

    a draft version of the Green Amendment

    Article XX, Section 23 to the NM Constitution – NM Environmental Rights Amendment

    Each person has an inherent, inalienable, and indefeasible right to a clean and healthy environment, including pure water, clean air, ecologically healthy habitats, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic qualities of the environment.

    The state’s public natural resources, among them its waters, air, flora, fauna and climate are the common property of all the people, including both present and future generations. The state, including each branch, agency and political subdivision, shall serve as trustee of these resources. The state shall conserve, protect and maintain these resources for the benefit of all the people, including future generations. The state shall not take any legislative or executive action that would cause the unreasonable degradation, diminution, or depletion of the natural environment, either through direct state action or indirectly because of a failure to restrain the actions of others.

    The rights stated in this section are among those rights reserved to the people. This provision and the rights stated herein are self-executing. Each person shall have the right to prevent and remedy violations of these rights through appropriate legal proceedings against any party, governmental or private.

  2. We should recognize that NM has more influence than “a state of 2 million”. Because of the number of tourist that visit NM we have the power to influence people far beyond our physical borders. Imagine the impact on our visitors if they saw every parking lot, every school playground covered with solar “car” ports, like the ones at the VA Hospital. Imagine the impact if building green in NM meant all new buildings had to harvest the sun and the rain. Travel in rural areas of SE Asia and almost every house has large clay pots in the yard that harvest the water from the roof tops.

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