Environmental Justice News & Updates


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Check out Beata Tsosie-Pena’s plenary poem here, about environmental violence, along with other amazing, strong, inspirational voices!

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Beata Tsosie-Peña was selected to be a Green For All Fellow Candidate. Candidates participate from around the nation in the Green For All Leadership Academy, which includes a four-day training ranging from media and messaging to the economics of green. They then commit to a nine-month term of service as ambassadors of the movement in their communities. After nine months of organizing educational events and workshops, speaking at conferences, running policy and organizing campaigns, leading community sustainability initiatives, and otherwise serving their communities, Candidates graduate to become Green For All Fellows. Here is a link to a blog she has written as part of her term of service while working for Environmental Health and Justice with Tewa Women United.

Reflections on Environmental Justice from Northern New Mexico Blog by Beata Tsosie

Sign-on and join the Green For All Network

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Seeds of Beauty

Girl Scouts, Tewa Women United pursue beautification projects near City Hall, Española Plaza
By Bill Rettew Jr., SUN Staff Writer
Published::Thursday, March 15, 2012 10:07 AM MDT

With a little help from friends, city land at the Española Plaza and behind City Hall is set to get some sprucing up.

An Española Girl Scout troop aims to plant flowers at an approximately 200-square-foot site near the old post office on the Plaza. A couple hundred yards away near the horno just outside the Misión y Convento, the troop is also planning a new vegetable garden with the hopes that it will feed the needy at the San Martin de Porres Soup Kitchen.

Nearby, on the steep, sandy slope behind City Hall, the nonprofit Tewa Women United plans to plant about 25 fruit trees in newly built terraces.

The City Council unanimously approved both projects Feb. 28.

Beata Tsosie-Peña, program coordinator for Tewa Women United, said the hill will likely contain plants and 4-foot tree seedlings. The new landscaping should prove beneficial in other ways for an area with little rainfall, she said. She said terraces made of wooden railroad ties, rock or masonry could shore up the hillside and prevent erosion.

There are a lot of knowledgeable folks in the agriculture community using such thousand-year-old methods, Tsosie-Peña said.

Community members will also learn while volunteering during the transformation of the now dusty area between City Hall and Valdez Park.

“What’s really exciting is this opportunity for community engagement around traditional dry-land farming methods,” Tsosie-Peña said.

If the soil behind City Hall checks out free of contaminants, following possible testing by students and staff at Northern New Mexico College, the fruit trees could bear apples and other produce available to anyone willing to pick them, Tsosie-Peña said.

“There’s nothing more enjoyable than hanging out under the blossoming trees and eating the unripened and then ripened fruit,” Tsosie-Peña said. “Usually when people plant trees in parks­ it’s just for shade, but landscaping can have many purposes such as providing natural medicine, conserving water, educating the community, and adding to the stainability of the community.”

Local, non-genetically modified trees surrounded by plants on the hillside will benefit the city by controlling erosion while preventing possible structural damage to City Hall, she said.

Tsosie-Peña said the project will also save valuable water, suppress weeds, adjust nitrogen levels and attract beneficial insects.

Ground-breaking is expected in April, with a possible completion date in June or July depending on the strength of financial and volunteer support, according to Tsosie-Peña.

Girl Scout Troop 10454 has ambitious plans for the Plaza.

Troop leader Alisha Duran, along with her 4-year-old daughter and Daisy Girl Scout Melayah Duran, inspected a pair of sites at the Plaza Monday.

Eight members of the troop have set aside time during weekly “Girl Scout Saturdays” to plant flowers in a bid for the girls to earn badges. Marigolds, morning glories and sunflowers will all combine to create a “Daisy Garden,” Duran said.

Alisha Duran’s husband, Lloyd Duran, a manager at the Española Lowe’s Home Improvement store, said the store agreed to supply flowers at no charge for the site near the old post office and Convento on Calle de las Españolas.

Vegetables, including possibly pumpkins, corn, zucchini, jalapeños, carrots and tomatoes will sprout from scout-planted seeds at another similar-sized patch of ground near the Convento, Alisha Duran said.

“This makes me feel really good,” Alisha Duran said. “Española sometimes gets a bad rap. We want people to know that there’s positives for youth.”

Lloyd Duran agreed.

“It’s something good for the youth to do,” he said. “It’s something better for our kids to do than getting in trouble and to help the community look better.”

Organizers from both projects encouraged volunteers or anyone else interested in getting involved to contact them.

To help with the Plaza project, call Vanessa at 983-6339. To pitch in on the City Hall project or learn more about low-rain farming, call 927-1847.

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