Jan/Feb 2024 Green Fire Times x Earth Care
Defending the Sacred: Love & Resistance in the Age of the Anthropocene
Here we are again - our annual edition of the Green Fire Times.
Earth Care and YUCCA are dedicating this edition to those fighting to defend the sacred in the face of climate chaos, state violence, political uncertainty, and colonial genocide. In a historical context when violation and force is the modus operandi, everything we cherish is threatened. Whether by destruction, cooptation, or commercialization, our land, air, water, foods, rituals, home places, languages, spiritual practices, creativity, open-heartedness are all under siege.
But in every corner of the world there is resistance to these trespasses of spirit. Our communities refuse to be uprooted, refuse to have our lifeways upended, refuse to have our relationships severed.
From the sacred mountains and cornfields of New Mexico to the sacred riverbeds and olive groves of Palestine - we honor those whose connection to our home places, to our communities, and to the majesty of the world ignites the fires within us, stirs our hearts, and propels us to fight for justice and liberation, even against incredible odds.
In this edition - we invited leadership from our movement to share about their work to defend the sacred. Our hearts are hurting as we continue to experience the wounds that colonization and extraction create. Violence in these forms is about severance. It’s about ripping us and the earth a part. In a time when everything is at stake but our consumerist culture lulls us asleep - we are grappling with some heavy questions as the last sand from the hour glass falls.
What will it take to build a movement actually capable of defending the sacred?
What do we have to know?
How do we need to relate?
What is the practice?
What are the pitfalls we’ll need to avoid?
The false solutions and temptations we’ll need to navigate as the power structures work against change by inciting fear, coopting our stories, greenwashing solutions, and dividing and conquering?
How do we call each other in - to rise to the challenge? To choose the risks and heartbreak and loss that comes with loving each other and the world in the midst of devastation?
How do we move beyond the false security and abusive relationships on which our society is built and find the courage to choose real change?
Carry these questions with you as you read on. Let us know what you think and join with us in struggle. Check out featured articles below to get a view into this edition's content. You can also pick up a paper copy in many stores, libraries, and locations from Albuquerque to Taos.
CLIMATE JUSTICE: UPROOTING THE COLONIAL EXTRACTIVE ECONOMY | P.4
-By: Ennedith López And Sofia Jenkins-Nieto
Reclaiming Our Future as Sacred - Before there were fossil fuels to burn or communities to pollute, there were conquistadors and settlers who pillaged lands. There was colonization. There was occupation. This story is told time and time again all over the world. - READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE
WHERE THE WATER FLOWS | P.6
-By: Macee Hunt
I have taken these photos of Hogback, the highest point in Waterflow, a place where I find comfort and solace. They take me back to the version of Waterflow that I knew as a child. These photos are a view of my Waterflow. - READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE
WHAT IS SACRED? REFLECTIONS ON REMATRIATION | P.7
-By: Dr. Christina M. Castro
My recent observations on the state of the world have me pondering notions of sacredness. It appears the dominant culture has no reverence for the sacred. No reverence for the miracle that is life. Gun violence is at epidemic rates in our nation. Our land-bases are only measured by their ability to produce something commodifiable. - READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE
ENVIRONMENTAL RACISM IS ALIVE AND WELL IN ALBUQUERQUE | P.14
-By: Los Jardines Institute
The Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board’s Health, Equity and Environmental Impacts (HEEI) rulemaking will go down in history. The HEEI hearing will change the course of history many times over. The Air Board’s December 2022 decision to hear HEEI regulation means they have done what many Air Boards of the past have been unable to do: stay the course of preventing air pollution in the face of attacks from environmentally racist government bodies and corporations. - READ THE FULL ARTICLE
EL AGUA NO SE VENDE, SE AMA Y SE DEFIENDE: ACEQUIAS RISE TO PROTECT WATER | P.16-By: Paula García
On a sunny November day in Taos, acequia leaders from across the state gathered for the annual Congreso de las Acequias. The theme was “El Agua No Se Vende: Se Ama y Se Defiende,” (The water is not for sale; we must defend it). Acequias honored decades of grassroots organizing to protect local acequia waters from being sold and transferred separately from land and community. - READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE
PROTECTING THE SACRED WITH LA MILPA COMUNITARIA | P.20
-By: Mara Flores
Irail and María prepare mulch to place in planter pots on a beautiful, brisk October day. The two moms are getting ready to give a presentation on the importance of producing their own food. As they finish their preparations, their peers, other parents, and Santa Fe Southside community members start walking in to attend their presentation.- READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE
EMPOWERING TOMORROW: RISE, A YOUTH-LED MOVEMENT FOR CHANGE | P.23
-By: Nisa Gallegos, Skye Johnson, Destiny Ray, Fatima Torres, David Valencia
In the closing days of Earth Care-New Mexico’s 2023 El Puente Leadership Program, interns filled with vibrant yet melancholic energy decided their activism spirit would not fade away. A young group of leaders from the program founded the RISE Youth Collective. - READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE
NEW MEXICO’S OIL AND GAS POLLUTION CRISIS | P.27
-By: Gail Evans And Mario Atencio
Drive through the Greater Chaco landscape of northwestern New Mexico and you may first notice its immensity. Big blue sky over a high desert vista, piñon pines and puffs of sagebrush extending to the horizon and beyond. This is ancient land. Sacred land.- READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE
PROTECT SOUTHERN NEW MEXICO FROM THE CARBON BOMB | P.31
-By: Jozee Zuniga
In the haze, through the traffic, I can see the Guadalupe Mountains from my backyard. It’s quiet now but in less than an hour there will be men tearing up my grandmother’s backyard to add natural gas pipelines next to five already in the ground. Traffic starts roaring at 4 a.m. In the evenings I hear sirens from accidents caused by oil field traffic. - READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE
REAL SOLUTIONS IN THE FACE OF FOSSIL FUEL CHALLENGES | P.33-By: Krystal Curley
Indigenous Lifeways, an organization rooted in Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and land-based practices, places a strong emphasis on safeguarding sacred sites—which are integral to maintaining cultural identity—and supporting frontline communities. The organization sees its role in understanding the delicate balance between human activity and preserving the environment. Our work is grounded in matriarchal values that emphasize community wellbeing over profit-driven agendas.- READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE
DO BETTER IN HONORING CHACO | P.34
-By: Cheyenne Antonio
The Greater Chaco region is a living and ancient cultural landscape. Indigenous People, primarily Pueblo and Navajo (Diné) peoples, sacred cultural sites, precious water resources, and the area’s biodiversity are all under a grave and growing threat from fracking - READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE
NEW MEXICO DECLARATION FOR CLIMATE JUSTICE | P.35
-By: Alejandría Lyons
In September 2023, a group of frontline, Indigenous and youth leaders from New Mexico climate justice organizations participated in the New York Climate Week of Action, an annual event held near the United Nations. Given the continuing rise of global temperatures and, in states such as New Mexico, a huge increase of oil and gas permitting and fracking, this was particularly important. Members of New Mexico No False Solutions, Greater Chaco Coalition and the Permian Basin Coalition for Climate Justice went to New York to deliver their New Mexico Declaration for Climate Justice to the UN and the Biden administration. - READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE
THE ENERGY JUSTICE PROJECT | P.40
-By: Ennedith López
Please do an exercise with me. Think of energy in the literal sense, as in power and electricity. What comes to mind? Your home, our schools, buildings, cars? I imagine you, like most people, think of it as something we pay for and consume, as a commodity. Yet, in the 21st century, our daily lives depend on energy. It is a need. - READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE
IGNITING OUR SOLAR FUTURE | P.42-By: Rep. Reena Szczepanski and Sen. Harold Pope
In New Mexico, we are working to embrace a clean energy future. We are proud of the strides we have made and excited about the unprecedented moment America stands in to accelerate this transition. However, like every state, our journey has not been seamless. We too are watching federal funding deadlines slip by and solar development unfold unevenly. Urban population centers like Albuquerque are amongst America’s leading cities for solarization, while some of our rural communities have yet to embark on their first solar project. - READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE
SPEECH BY NEWLY ELECTED SANTA FE CITY COUNCILOR, ALMA CASTRO | P.44
As a multi-generational Santa Fesina and the proud daughter of a Salvadoreño, I deeply understand the intricate tapestry that is our people. I am honored and excited to represent the richly diverse gente of District 1. Together, we will chart a course toward a future where prosperity is not just a privilege for a few but a right for all. I am committed to this cause, and I know you will hold me accountable, even if it means staying up until 2 a.m. on Wednesday nights, and faithfully watching our city council meetings on YouTube. - READ THE FULL SPEECH HER
THE BIOREGIONAL MOVEMENT TODAY (PART 2) | P.44
-By: Earl James
From the earliest days of the biological evolution that ended up as us, our predecessors in the chain lived more or less aligned with the seasons and the sustainable resources of our Earth’s systems—at least until the Industrial Revolution. - READ THE FULL ARTICLE