Sen. Martinez Being Challenged & Australia’s Lesson For NM Plus…

We update you on NM legislative races, a powerful essay on Australia with a lesson to NM and the US, and an alert on the 2020 legislative session: Time to start asking the Governor to put important bills on the call.

NO WAR IN IRAN: Protests throughout the US TODAY

Santa Fe: Roundhouse, Eastside 12 Noon ABQ: 2pm at Kirtland Airforce Base, San Mateo and Gibson Blvd

Actions & Events: January 21 Retake Our Democracy, 2020 Legislative Launch Meeting in Santa Fe and throughout January ACLU legislative advocacy training throughout the state. January 6, Retake will be in Truth or Consequences, January 15 in Las Cruces and January 16 in Silver City. Click here for details.

Make it one of your resolutions to become not just an advocate, but an organizer with a goal of building a personal base of a handful of friends who do this work together. This has been a recurrent Retake theme and perhaps, after reading about Australia and New Mexico below, you’ll see that it is only you that can save us from the climate catastrophe. Let’s do this.

Saturday, January 4, 8:30am on KSFR, 101.1. Retake Our Democracy with a solo show from me (Paul). Originally planned to include both Roxanne and I, she is pretty much out of commission with a nasty bug, so I carried on. The focus is on Australia and its implications for New Mexico. I also speak about the worlds collective inability to extricate itself from capitalist assumptions that continuous growth is sustainable when we exist in world of shrinking resources. Tune in.

Rio Arriba Commissioner Leo Jaramillo to Challenge Martinez

As reported in the New Mexican, Senator Martinez no longer will have a free ride. What’s more his opponent has a track record of ousting powerful and entrenched Democrats, having defeated Alex Naranjo and taking his long-held position on the Rio Arriba County Commission.

Jaramillo describes himself as progressive, is openly gay, a strong supporter of a woman’s right to choose and an advocate for LGBTQ rights. Not all is good though, as he advocated for making Rio Arriba County a 2nd Amendment Sanctuary County, so there is more to explore.

In reaching out to several politically active allies from Rio Arriba County, there was a clear sense that Jaramillo would be an excellent alternative to Sen. Martinez. The Governor has already called for Martinez to resign, not just his chair position (which he has) but also from the Senate, so this will certainly boost Jaramillo’s campaign. I have reached out to Jaramillo to try to schedule an interview for the radio show, so stay tuned.

Australia Committing Climate Suicide: A Lesson to NM

Nowhere to hide. Climate Crisis Flames Destroying Australia

I’ve been reviewing video, news clips and articles about Australia and the story is heartbreaking. Over 14.5 million acres have been consumed, more than three times the area consumed by fires in California in 2018 and one fifth the land mass of the entire state of NM. The map above depicts the scope and scale of what is happening, but it does little to convey the impact of the fires.

Over a half billion animals are estimated to have died, with scientists fearing that some species may have been extinguished entirely. Over just the past few months the terminology describing climate change has shifted from climate change to climate crisis and now in Australia to climate catastrophe. The future we feared has arrived. A Cobargo, New South Wales bookstore posted a sign: “Post-Apocalyptic Fiction has been moved to Current Affairs.” As reported in the New York Times:

Australia today is ground zero for the climate catastrophe. Its glorious Great Barrier Reef is dying, its world-heritage rain forests are burning, its giant kelp forests have largely vanished, numerous towns have run out of water or are about to, and now the vast continent is burning on a scale never before seen.

The images of the fires are a cross between “Mad Max” and “On the Beach”: thousands driven onto beaches in a dull orange haze, crowded tableaux of people and animals almost medieval in their strange muteness — half-Bruegel, half-Bosch, ringed by fire, survivors’ faces hidden behind masks and swimming goggles. Day turns to night as smoke extinguishes all light in the horrifying minutes before the red glow announces the imminence of the inferno. Flames leaping 200 feet into the air. Fire tornadoes. Terrified children at the helm of dinghies, piloting away from the flames, refugees in their own country. “

New York Times, Australia is Committing Climate Suicide: As Its Leaders Seem Intent to Send It to Its Doom
Survivors flee to their only sanctuary: the beach

Yet, in the face of utter devastation, Australia’s leaders, remain ever enamored with revenue and political contributions from the coal, gas and oil industry. They seem unable to even consider Australia’s need to free itself from economic servitude and the coal industry’s iron grip on the political leadership in the country. While Australia burned, its Conservative Prime Minister vacationed in Hawaii and the leader of the opposition Labor Party toured coal plants reassuring workers that Australia was firmly committed to the industry.

Since 1996 successive conservative Australian governments have successfully fought to subvert international agreements on climate change in defense of the country’s fossil fuel industries. Today, Australia is the world’s largest exporter of both coal and gas. It recently was ranked 57th out of 57 countries on climate-change action. “

New York Times, Australia is Committing Climate Suicide: As Its Leaders Seem Intent to Send It to Its Doom

As reported in multiple posts, NM continues to drill the Permian Basin, reap the economic benefits from a booming oil industry and build its economy and its state budget around gas and oil. As in Australia our leadership seems paralyzed, unable to take bold action, while reassuring the New Mexico Oil & Gas Association that Republicans and Democrats have its back. Recall just three months ago, Governor Lujan Grisham told NMOGA that she and her cabinet work for the gas and oil industry. It doesn’t get any clearer than that.

While NM is not likely to erupt in statewide wildfires, as has California, there is a lesson here and I hope the Governor is reading this: we are subject to drought while we pour billions of gallons of water into the fracking industry. And while the last two years have provided far more rain and snow than typical, we all know that drought years are in our future and with it drying forests and the threat of catastrophic wildfires.

Many recall the firestorm sparked by a power line in the Jemez in 2000 when the Cerro Grande fire burned over 150,000 acres and destroyed 400 homes. In 2011, the Las Conchas fire consumed over an acre per second, ultimately claiming over 43,000 acres.

With Santa Fe all too dependent upon watershed in the Sangre de Cristo’s, we are a lightning bolt or snapped power line away from a beyond critical forest fire. The watershed is home to the city’s two reservoirs, Nichols and McClure, and is the source of 30 to 40 percent of the city’s annual drinking water supply. In 2011, a fire in the Sangre de Cristo mountain range came perilously close to Santa Fe’s Watershed.

Finally, we simply can’t continue to ignore New Mexico’s contribution to global climate catastrophe, as the Permian Basin alone, if drilled as planned would contribute to a 1% Celsius increase in temperature. While Texas shares the Permian Basin, NM certainly bares responsibility, as well.

Australian Prime Minister goes on holiday while the Labor opposition tours the coal plants to reassure them that leadership has their back; New Mexico’s Governor assures NMOGA, I work for you.

Who works for us? Who works for the half billion incinerated animals in Australia. Apparently, that is up to us.

2020 must be the decade of action, the decade of transformation, the decade of sacrifice, or we will have no one to blame but ourselves and firestorms, drought, searing heat and rising seas will be our legacy.

It is up to us.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne



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5 replies

  1. After assimilating this, can we not support Lyla June Johnston?

    • Hi Devin, I am not sure I understand the connection between this post and the reference to Lyla June. Please amplify via email or here.

      • If we think about what is happening to Australia and we attribute that to climate change, then we realize that we cannot temporize — that we must do what we can to reduce carbon emissions. This in turn means that we must wean — to use Lyla June’s word — ourselves from our dependence on oil and gas revenues and taper off our exports of oil and gas.

        Quite simply, this will not happy with the current leadership of the Democratic Party of New Mexico and its mindset. The election of Lyla June would remove one leader from office and send an unequivocal message to the others.

        Or we could continue on our present course.

      • I see your point now. Our leadership team has been discussing this but frankly are overwhelmed readying for the legislative session. Stay tuned.

  2. We recently drove through the Texas side of the Permian Basin and I am amazed it isn’t already on fire. Well, it sort of is if you count all the methane flares. Although there aren’t any trees, the land has so long ago been so overgrazed that the flora is nearly totally creosote. The air is hazy like I remember Los Angeles and there are frequent whiffs of the petroleum industry I have heard called the smell of money. The limit on drilling currently in place in NM has kept these wells less dense, much to Steve Pearce’s lament, but we would certainly be the “house next door.” The westerly prevailing winds give me little comfort.

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