Fire is definitely the messenger of this climate emergency moment for us here in New Mexico. There are still 20 fires burning in New Mexico, with more red flag warning days ahead and extreme drought in close to 80% of the state. Hundreds of families are waiting at shelters, in RV's, at the home of family and friends to find out if their homes still stand. Thank you to all those who have given generously to support them.
To date we have accepted $6,568 in donations, which are being spent in direct response to the needs of families. The shelter in Taos is communicating with us, and a local grocery store in Española is transporting the requested food & supplies by van directly. Thus far $4,500 has been used for food and another $300 on dog food.
If you are like us, you may be feeling a sense of helplessness, fear and rage against the failures of our supposed "leadership." Your engagement, activism, and advocacy matter. During this election time - it's critical that we make sure climate justice action is a central issue. We want to make sure that the sacrifice of one climate activist is not in vein. This past Earthday a Buddhist by the name of Wynn Bruce, in a fearless act of compassion, protested by self-immolation on the steps of our Supreme Court, making the ultimate sacrifice in an effort to call attention to the suffering coming to all living things. The media ignored him almost completely. A parallel to their failure to communicate urgently that India, a nation of 1.4 billion people is burning - enduring a projected month long heatwave of upward of 120°F across the entire subcontinent. Meanwhile our Congress and President continue to do NOTHING of substance.
Here in New Mexico, on the same day that record winds raged and the two fires up north merged - our Governor and legislators participated in the PNM/Avangrid/Chevron sponsored Energy Summit at which Todd Staples, President and CEO of the Texas Oil and Gas Association stated that gas and oil is 68% of all energy produced and that by 2050, when energy uses has expanded by 50%, gas and oil will continue being 68% of all energy produced:
Avangrid CEO Pedro Azagra Blazquez then went on record stating his intentions to pursue the Governor's "clean" hydrogen pipe dream, a false solution that will cause more emissions than simply burning gas directly for fuel. On that day our outrage burned as bright as the fires surrounding us.
What can we do with this rage? Is there anything we can do that will make a difference? We ask ourselves this question every day, and we come always to the same conclusion - we cannot know what will be the catalyst for the revolution that is required, but it will come. We are not alone in the fight - we are many, along with our most powerful ally, Mother Earth, who will continue speaking louder and louder until even the most foolhardy fossil fuel executives and greedy politicians must face the fact that even they are dependent on her health for LIFE.
While it is easy to remain in crisis mode, reacting to each emergency, each outrage, we have to address the structures that are responsible for this violence.
That is why, it is critical that we organize emergency aid for climate fire refugees, AND we continue to battle in the legal arena including our defense of the Avangrid/Iberdrola/PNM merger decision at the NM Supreme Court (excellent report on issues in the case here), defense of the Four Corners abandonment decisions at the Supreme Court, and our fight against hydrogen in the New Mexico Gas Co rate case (Public comment coming soon on June 27th). We are also fighting a case against PNM's request to continue to collect on San Juan Generating Station operating costs after abandonment (PNM wants to collect salaries and operating costs from ratepayers despite the fact that there will be literally no workers working), collaborating on several Sol for All projects coming up soon, and working with partners to advance Public Power. And so we plow on together, with love and rage.