Skip to content

‘The last couple of years have been a real wake-up call for us in New Mexico’

“The last couple of years have been a real wake-up call for us in New Mexico, and across the world in terms of climate change….This is a moment for everyone in New Mexico who drinks water to come to the table to support crafting these solutions.”

That was Hannah Riseley-White, director of the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission. She came into the studio recently, and we spoke about the state’s water challenges, the importance of interstate river compacts, the possibilities of protecting water for rivers, and how people can become involved in water planning.

The work ahead isn’t easy. But Riseley-White also sees opportunities. 

“I think humans are incredibly creative and resourceful, if we could get together to find solutions,” she said. “And I do feel like there is this incredible opportunity, right in this moment of time, within the next couple of years, especially with the federal funding available, and state funding, for us to implement some really lasting solutions—not only for the next couple of years but for decades to come.”

To learn more, visit the New Mexico Water Planning website and read the Leap Ahead Report online.

You can watch the full interview online and catch an excerpt specifically about protecting water for New Mexico’s rivers and ecosystems over on Instagram

Last week, I tuned into a session on “Climate Change, Mental Health, and Creative Tools of Expression” from the UNM Health Sciences Center and Project ECHO. 

The Climate Change ECHO program—which I knew nothing about until last week!—brings together experts from places like NOAA and the CDC to equip health care and public health professionals with the “necessary skills to treat patients amid climate change.”

Last week’s session focused on the impact of rising temperatures on mental health, as well as climate anxiety, youth, and performance art. I really keep thinking about something that Devora Neumark talked about—that recovery from trauma can’t happen in isolation, and that includes trauma from climate change. (As an aside, a heartfelt thank you to the friends who showed up at the Rio Grande on Sunday morning to share words with the river.) 

There’s one session left in the series, which you can register to attend on the UNM website

Meanwhile, a new report shows that New Mexico is “falling far short” of its climate goals. 

According to the Environmental Defense Fund: “New Mexico is projected to reduce emissions approximately 1% by 2025 and 13% by 2030 from 2005 levels (compared to an initial commitment to reduce emissions by at least 45% by 2030, and subsequent US Climate Alliance commitments of at least a 26% reduction by 2025 and a 50% reduction by 2030).” 

Not only that, but: “Current policies are not reducing overall emissions in a persistent manner, leaving the state projected to emit 21% more climate pollution over the course of the decade than if it were steadily reducing emissions in line with the latest science. This overshot results in an excess of 167 million metric tons of climate pollution.”

Even before that report came out, Youth United for Climate Crisis Action (YUCCA) had been planning a climate strike for this Thursday in Albuquerque. The group is calling on the governor and lawmakers to “make serious moves on climate.”

Today, the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University released a new report, showing that 53 percent of Americans support climate justice.

And just in case heat waves, low river flows, hot oceans, wildfires, deaths from climate-related illnesses and events, or the monetary cost of climate-related disasters aren’t enough to convince you that climate change deserves daily attention from each of us, cruise on over to NASA’s Vital Signs of the Planet page to see the current numbers on carbon dioxide and methane levels, global temperature and ice sheet changes, and more. (And if you missed “Life and Death in America’s Hottest City” in The New Yorker last week, you should definitely read it.)

And because that’s a hard place to land at the end of a newsletter, go read some Ada Limón…

P.S. If a friend forwarded you this message, sign up here to receive the newsletter yourself. You can also read recent newsletters online. And if you miss us throughout the week, follow Our Land on Instagram.

Our Land Logo