A Look Back and Forward: Water, Power & Legislative Preview

PRC hearing continues, water issues challenge Santa Fe and the state, an inspiring UN initiative to create thousands of Gretas, and what happens when writer’s block and too much climate crisis news converge.

Can You Help Us Out Today?

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Despite a few donations last week, we are still heading into 2020 barely in the black and with a costly legislative session ahead. We anticipate ramping up the printing costs as we press for passage of our priority bills. So, we don’t ask often, but when we do, there is a reason, so please, do what you can, if you can. If you prefer to mail us a check: Retake Our Democracy, P.O. Box 32464, Santa Fe, 87594. Thank you.

Ruminations on Writer’s Block & Hitting the Wall

You may have noticed that last week we produced posts on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and then disappeared until late Sunday afternoon….writer’s block had converged with one too many climate crisis or Donald Trump articles and my brain and motivation froze. So if you missed Sunday’s post, the link is at the end of this post. Below we provide links for all three posts covering the PRC hearing, Santa Fe’s water scarcity plan (and pipeline), and Sunday’s post on an inspiring education entrepreneur who is working with the United Nations to bring climate curriculum and teacher training to every classroom in the world. Read on.

A goodly part of my career was spent writing really, really challenging federal grants. Much depended on how well I did my job, as the grants I wrote were to fund best practice policy and program initiatives in relation to early childhood, behavioral health, criminal justice, housing and homelessness, healthcare, and child welfare reform. While my clients were largely cities, counties, and county agencies, I always felt my real clients were the people who were served by my clients.

Once in awhile, I’d be working on a particularly difficult grant with my client proposing an initiative that was both complex and critically important to an under-served population. At times I would hit a wall, the words wouldn’t come to me for days. When writing grants with firm deadlines you don’t have days to stare at the screen. A few times, I even questioned if I could complete the task. When those moments hit, I would always take a moment to think about those people who would benefit from the initiative I was writing about. I would picture their lives as they were now and how their lives might be transformed with the funding I was seeking. It would help to realize that their lives were far more challenging than mine and that by bucking up, finding the words, sticking to it, I might be able to help address some of their challenges. I never walked away from one of those moments and always found a way to tackle the challenge.

Until now. The past week I’ve had a very hard time identifying a topic I felt was important enough to share with you or even the motivation to do much hunting. That had not occurred over the past two plus years. I found myself staring at the screen. Until Sunday afternoon the muses had left the building. But Sunday afternoon, I viewed an inspiring video of how one person, sticking to her vision, had resulted in a program to develop thousands of Greta’s across the world. And a post was born.

I share this with you only because I’ve spoken with so many who find themselves immobilized by a mix of depression, anger, and fear, paralyzed and lacking motivation. When the world has lost its direction and continues to bring us perilously closer to irreversible extinction, it would be odd indeed not to become depressed. So those moments of deep sadness are inevitable if you are a thinking, caring, human being. We need to sit with that sadness and then give ourselves both space to take a break, but also to reflect on others who are depending on us to stay engaged. There is too much beauty in the world and too much to be treasured and preserved to give up.

And so, this week and next I will be taking a bit of a break as our daughter, Joanna, will be here. But I’ll also begin preparing for the legislative session and preparing you with briefs on bills to come. We are just a month from the session with a very busy 30-day period offering a kind of opportunity and grant deadline for which we must be prepared. Much to be done.

Grandson with His First Protest Shirt

My youngest son, Jesse (age 26), is one clever guy and he had this T-shirt/onesie made for his nephew and our new grandson, Torrey. If I had one, maybe I could wear it at my pre-trial hearing next Friday!!! Maybe not a great idea. Note the hat/scarf made here in NM and purchased from Indigo Baby, a wonderful shop in DeVargas mall in Santa Fe. The owner, Katie took our Retake card and offered to let us have meetings in a lovely space behind her store. The space only holds about 40 people, so maybe too small, but the offer is appreciated. So, if you need a gift for an infant or a young child…..check it out.

When I look at him looking up at the camera, it feels like he is thinking: Keep at it Grandpa!

A Look Back At Last Week’s Posts

Powerful Day of Testimony at the PRC

In last Tuesday’s post, we published a few of the more articulate comments offered in public testimony at Monday morning’s Public Regulation Commission hearing. Given the divide that has emerged between legislators who want to circumscribe the authority of the PRC and activists who support the PRC, commissioners must have felt strongly supported. In addition to ETA critique, there was heart-wrenching testimony from San Juan County coal miners about a future without coal, jobs, or community resources. Several Retake supporters offered their own powerful public comment and this post offered up each of their testimony. It was an inspiring opening day. 

Click here to read this important post.

80 Year Water Plan for Santa Fe, Marred by Amendment to Build a $20 Million Pipeline

While the need for a far reaching water security plan is obvious and the resolution introduced by Council Romero Wirth was applauded by all, the last minute inclusion of an amendment to build a long-debated $20M pipeline was opposed by environmental activists and communities down stream from the proposed pipeline. The issue is complicated and so rather than my trying to distill the issues, I turned to Councilor Romero Wirth and water experts with far more knowledge than I possess. We mounted a call to action and while the Mayor and the City Council still voted to pass the plan with the pipeline amendment, they stated that there would be over 25 permits needed to even begin work on a pipeline, so we will have plenty of opportunities to make our case.

Click here to read the full post.

Inspiring Effort to Teach Climate Change in Every Classroom in the World

Sunday, December 15. This post was quite short and many may have missed it as the blog was published late in the afternoon on Sunday instead of the usual Saturday morning publication time. If you need to boost your spirits the ten-minute video included here is just the tonic. It describes how Melanie Harwood, an education entrepreneur and self-styled ‘disruptor’, has partnered with the United Nations to educate teachers about climate change. The video tells the story of her plan to create an army of Greta’s… and boy do we need them. Working with the United Nations, she has developed a curriculum with a goal of training teachers across the globe in the curriculum. The video shows her in schools implementing it and then also shows a series of students even younger than Greta who are motivated and articulate. I especially recommend watching toward the end when one young girl who was so inspiring that Harwood offered to bring her to the IPCC and meet Greta in person. Great stuff.

Click here to read the post and watch the video. The post also includes information about the Extinction Rebellion meeting this week.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

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