Grading A-F; Schools as Centers of Community

How do I feel about the A-F grading of New Mexico Schools? Well, thank you for asking!

The challenges of our times are so extraordinary, they call for a different approach to life. Working collaboratively on real world problems, creating living sustainability, with a community wide range of stakeholders is the school of our times.

Grading Schools A-F

Schools as Centers of Community Sustainability

 

What if each school and its surrounding neighborhoods  set the intention of having the school become the center of the community? The school would then work with the surrounding neighbors in redeveloping into a socially, economically, and ecologically sustainable community!
The grading, A-F, would be a indicator of how the school/neighborhood was doing in terms of sustainability;… READ MORE >>

The #1 way to Support Local Food is…

The #1 way to Support Local Food is by… creating a deeply affordable lifestyle. Lowering the cost of living frees up customers’ pocket books so they can buy more local food and dine at restaurants serving locally produced food.

Santa Fe's Farmers Market

Local Farmers, Local Food...Santa Fe Saturday AM

A deeply affordable lifestyle is essential in other key ways as well. Farmers and their employees need affordable housing, water, land, processing facilities, season extending structures, fertilizers, etc.  Higher costs in any one of these networks of networks undermines our food security.

Here in Santa Fe we have one of the best Farmer’s Markets in the nation, apparently.  I think much of its popularity is because Santa Feans have more disposable income. And yet, in spite of all the success, Beneficial Farms CSA‘s Steve Warshawer estimates all the capacity of the Northern New Mexico regional farmers would feed only 2000 folks.  Santa Fe current population is around 70,000, with a surrounding regional total of approx 100,000.

For our regional capacity, our Food Shed, to grow significantly, I believe we will have to work  together to create deep affordability and free up more disposable income. I call it “Mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhoods, with lifelong learning and open space”. The open space is for agriculture, natural habitat, and recreation.

This strategy is good for everyone; builds our regional resiliency and food security, lowers our eco-footprint, and raises our quality of life!

Share your ideas and experiences in the comments area! Back yard chickens, collecting urine for fertilizer, compost piles, converting front yards to food forests, deep mulching strategies, farm to school programs, aquaculture, etc… the list is long….Together we can make sustainable real!… READ MORE >>

Meltdowns and Other Impending Bummers

“Oh so many, ways to be wicked”
I woke this morning to the song playing in my head, Maria McKee and Lone Justice belting it out, my personal soundtrack….the Japanese Meltdown is in Day 6.

I call em Impending Bummers. When I think about doing something unknown, I can have a lot of apprehension, I can feel downright scared. I bite my finger nails, tear at my cuticles.

Maybe it’s the thousands of years of our collective worrying about getting eaten by a sabertooth tiger.  Or if Genghis Khan is going to show up in the spring this year…That may explain where the dread, this background anxiety, comes from. It certainly pushes me on a spiritual path in an attempt to find relief, but face it, as stewards of our amazing beautiful spinning green and blue planet, we suck…. READ MORE >>

Sustainable neighborhoods as popular as cell phones!

Over the years of studying what works, and looking at all the impending bummers coming from our sprawl, car dependent lifestyle, I continue to conclude that the cure, the silver bullet, is “Mixed use, mixed income neighborhoods, with lifelong learning and open space……everywhere”.  Even though I’m so sure these sustainable neighborhoods are the antidote to the vast majority of what ails us, a quick response time is everything.

The rate of carbon building up in the atmosphere, and the forecast outcomes,  require the developed nations to get to sustainable lifestyles pronto.

Talk about jousting at windmills….. I’ve set the intention that sustainable neighborhoods become as popular as cell phones, and get implemented around the planet. I take heart  from Margaret Mead’s “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever does”.

The times call for a paradigm shift, transforming our car-dominated economy to a knowledge-based economy; from fossil fueled, polluting, wasteful overconsumption to renewable, non toxic, more efficient, lowered consumptive living.

As we get good at clearly defining the benefits, the popularity will soar.  Mixed use, mixed income neighborhoods with lifelong learning and open space are the way we are gonna make sustainable real!… READ MORE >>

Hard Times, Impending Bummers, and Resilient Communities

As I was leaving Trader Joe’s parking lot today, I glanced at the homeless guy as he raised his cardboard sign.  I only caught the first word on his sign “hardtimes….”. For several blocks I mulled over going back and giving him some money.  I was also thinking of my friend, a metal worker, who was angry about a couple of recent bills for emergency doctor’s office visits; “Ten minutes, $250 and $325! And I have medical insurance!” he exclaimed several times, outraged. Turns out February is a slow month, and the go-go days of the construction industry seem long gone. He has a wife and two kids and pays $780 a month in health insurance ( up $45 as “he had a birthday” said the insurance company recently).Homeless

The recent unprecedented cold weather froze lots of pipes around town, and as a general contractor,  I got a month of good work putting a couple of condos back together.

All of these thoughts came together, precipitated by the homeless guy’s” hardtimes”, and reminded me of all the possible bummers we face;  Peak oil and rising gasoline demand worldwide, honey bee’s dying off en mass, fracking water contamination,… READ MORE >>

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