September 2020 Sustainability Newsletter

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September 2020 Newsletter

Working Together - Building Tomorrow



County Supports Civil Rights & Equity, Unanimously

On Tuesday, August 25, 2020, the Board of County Commissioners of Santa Fe County unanimously passed Resolution No. 2020-59: A Resolution on Civil Rights and Recognizing the Need for Racial and Social Justice. The resolution stands in support of civil rights and social justice for all people and recognizes the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement in the challenge to balance the scales. The resolution further states the County's commitment to maintaining cooperative relationships with sovereign tribal governments. The Board also supports and encourages programs that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. What does this have to do with climate change, you might ask? For far too long, populations of color and low income communities have been harmed the most by environmental hazards due to discriminatory policies and lack of environmental protection. Sierra Club's Hop Hopkins eloquently explains how racism and dehumanization is inseparable from today’s environmental crises in his blog, Racism Is Killing the Planet. We can all make an important and needed difference in our day to day lives by learning more, and standing up as an ally when equity and the rights of fellow human beings are at risk.  

Energy Efficiency

State Adopts Energy Efficiency Codes

On August 8, the New Mexico Construction Industries Commission approved the inclusion of the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code into the statewide building code, replacing the outdated 2009 energy conservation codes. The 2018 Code will reduce energy use in new residential and commercial buildings by about 25%, thus reducing future utility costs for all New Mexicans. This action also addresses social justice, because low-income residents spend a disproportionate share of their income on utilities. Adoption of the 2018 Code accomplishes one of the eight directives in Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham's Executive Order 2019-003 to prevent energy waste and address climate change and was also supported by the Board of County Commissioners of Santa Fe County.

CSCNM logo

Sustainable Communities Priorities 

Four local New Mexican governments—Santa Fe County, the City of Santa Fe, City of Albuquerque, and City of Las Cruces—joined the Coalition of Sustainable Communities NM (CSCNM) in 2019 as founding members. CSCNM assists member organizations with advocacy, fostering collaboration, and building sustainability knowledge. In its first full year, CSCNM has advocated for community solar at the state legislature, supported renewable replacement power for the San Juan Generating Station, educated members on electricity rate decoupling, identified energy efficiency and solar opportunities, and unpacked the energy conservation building codes. During the CSCNM's 2020 annual meeting in August, the members identified community solar, clean energy financing, and transportation strategies for low-income communities as priorities for the upcoming year. 

watching movies

Climate-Related Movies – At Home

With COVID-19 restrictions still in place, many of us continue to spend our evenings at home. Perhaps some of these thoughtful, climate-related movies will leave you and your loved ones pondering climate change issues in a new way. Please send us your recommendations too! 

  • Chasing Coral
  • Ice on Fire
  • Climate Change: The Facts
  • The Hottest August
  • Aguarela
  • Honeyland
  • On a Wing and a Prayer


What Can I Do? Vote!

One important action you can take to have your voice heard is vote. If you are interested in voting by mail in Santa Fe County, use one of the three methods below to apply for an absentee ballot. You will not automatically receive a mailed ballot for the 2020 General Election, even if you obtained an absentee ballot in the primary election.

  1. Apply via the NM Secretary of State website's user-friendly online portal, which is now accepting applications.
  2. Mail in the application that all registered Santa Fe County voters will receive from the Santa Fe County Clerk beginning September 14.
  3. Mail in the Application for Absent Voter Ballot to the Santa Fe County Clerk that some registered voters may have already received from third-party organizations like Center For Voter Information.

To assure your application is accepted:

  • only apply for your absentee ballot once using one of the methods above
  • fill out the form completely, including your birth year, your signature, and the date and
  • if you have moved, first fill out a voter registration form indicating your new address, and then apply for an absentee ballot.

Absentee ballots will be mailed out beginning October 6, 2020, and must be received by the Clerk by 7:00 pm on November 3, 2020. If you change your mind and decide to vote in person—even if you have applied for an absentee ballot—you can vote early or on election day. However, you will be asked to invalidate your absentee ballot by the election official at the voting center. For more information, please contact the Santa Fe County Clerk’s Office: 505-986-6280 or visit

Some of Our Favorite Go-To Resources

(Click on orange text below for associated links and information.)

Yale Climate Connections

Yale Climate Connections

Non-partisan and expert information about climate change.


"20,000 Articles on Everything Green." 

Supporting community resilience in the face of emerging challenges.

Council on the Uncertain Human Future

Council on Uncertain Human Future

Climate science and the study of cause and effect. 

A New Earth Conversation

New Earth Conversation

A Campus Initiative for Amplifying Climate Education.

NY Times Climate Forward

NYTimes Climate Forward

"What on earth is going on? The latest news about climate change, plus tips on how you can help."

Sustainability Comments or Questions?

We are your local advisors on all things sustainability in Santa Fe County. Call us about anything from water conservation, cleaner transportation, solar and renewable energy, composting, recycling, etc. Or let us know what you would like to learn more about in our newsletter. 


Claudia Borchert, 505.992.3044 

Jacqueline Beam, 505.992.9832

Adeline Murthy, 505.992.9862