Mother Earth, including the water, land and air, humans and all the beings on it, is a unique self-regulating community of interrelated beings, sustaining, containing and reproducing all things. The protection of Earth’s vitality, diversity and beauty is a sacred trust.
These are the statements and principles set out in the Earth Charter and the Universal Declaration of Rights of Mother Earth–two documents that describe the inherent rights of all beings–including human beings and beings like sacred water. They lay out a global framework for returning all beings to harmony and health.
CURRENT ACTION ITEMS
HYDROFRACKING FOR ENERGY NEAR LANL
in the Santa Fe National Forest
LANL CLEANUP CONSENT ORDER
Accepted by LANL & NMED, but by no means over
But harmony and health do not describe the current situation in New Mexico. Threats to human health, to the health of all beings and to the environment in our own state are numerous and widespread. Many of these threats are shown on The New Mexico Threats Map. The way we live our lives, our patterns of consumption and production and the economic choices our state and federal governments have made, have led to environmental devastation.
This is a devastation we have overlooked in the past. Yet, we now ignore it to our peril as climate change is multiplying problems that were already serious. Climate change increases drought, making fresh water even more precious. It increases the threat of wildfires and the resulting destruction of watersheds. At the same time, huge quantities of water are being consumed by the oil and gas industry, turned into waste and injected deep into the earth–sometimes causing earthquakes. When these fires burn over the polluted mesas and canyons around Los Alamos National Laboratory, they spread radioactive and toxic contamination into the rivers, air and soil of Mother Earth for miles–sometimes across states. If the “induced” earthquakes happen in the faults underneath the Lab’s non-earthquake safe buildings, who knows what could be released.
Human beings, as part of Mother Earth, also have the right to clean water, to live on uncontaminated land and to breathe uncontaminated air. We should be able to eat food we grow in our own gardens. But if your garden is down-wind or down-stream from the Lab or if you are a Downwinder from atomic bomb tests, growing your own food could be turned into a health risk. It then becomes even more difficult to maintain the traditional, land-based way of life that has been passed down for generations in much of rural new Mexico.
Our government agencies, especially our state Environment Department, are supposed to protect human health and the environment. Sadly, they often seem to have more in common with the industries and agencies they are supposed to be regulating than with the public. They certainly don’t seem to follow the Precautionary Principle which says that when an activity threatens to harm human beings or Mother Earth, precautionary measures should be taken even if cause and effect haven’t been fully proven. Yet he Environment Department often seems content to dismiss risks from consideration if they might threaten continued operation of an important project, such as WIPP.
Nevertheless, according to the Public Trust Doctrine, one of the most basic principles of common law, State lands are held in trust by the State for present and future generations. The State has an affirmative duty to take the public trust into account when making decisions about this land. The concept of Public Trust has expanded to include social concerns and concerns of environmental justice. But even so, these concerns are pretty much ignored across the board in new Mexico by both state and federal agencies.
Several groups have helped in the production of this website and the New Mexico Threats Map. These groups are working to improve our environment and for social justice.
Partnership for Earth Spirituality (PES) at http://www.earthspirituality.org
PES is a public ministry on behalf of earth care and spirituality. It advocates for policy change to preserve the “sacramental commons” of water, land and air for future generations of all species as well as addressing questions of environmental degradation and environmental racism. PES partners with NMIPL, MASE, CCW and Water Groups.
Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environmentt (MASE) at http://swuraniumimpacts.org
MASE is a grassroots coalition made up of five Core Groups including Diné (Navajo), Laguna and Acoma Pueblos, Post ’71 Uranium Workers and communities living close to large uranium tailing ponds. The MASE communities are working to restore and protect the natural and cultural environment through respectfully promoting intercultural engagement among communities and institutions for the benefit of all life and future generations.
Communities for Clean Water (CCW) at http://www.ccwnewmexico.org
CCW is a coalition of community-based social justice organizations coming together to study and monitor toxic threats from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) These organizations want to ensure that community waters impacted by contamination from LANL are kept safe for drinking, agriculture, tribal sacred ceremonies and a sustainable future. CCW works for the complete cleanup of the toxic legacy at LANL. CCW member groups are: Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety (CCNS), Amigos Bravos, Tewa Women United, Honoring our Pueblo Existence (HOPE), New Mexico Acequia Association, PES, and NMIPL.
New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light (NMIPL) at http://www.nm-ipl.org
NMIPL engages faith communities and individuals in caring for the earth and responding to climate change. It calls on people of faith in New Mexico to be good stewards of the earth and to pursue justice for our brothers and sisters around he world—to think, plan and act for the future of ourselves and the earth.
This group is also working to improve our environment and for social justice.
The Albuquerque Water Groups at www.facebook.com/AlbuquerqueWaterGroups
The Water Groups is an alliance of Albuquerque-based community groups and individuals working to protect Albuquerque’s water. They have three primary concerns: 1) contamination of the aquifer by an enormous jet fuel plume under Kirtland Air Force Base, 2) Sandia Lab’s Mixed Waste Landfill (Also in the same general area) and 3) inadequate filtration of water taken from the Rio Grande. This water can be contaminated by plutonium, among other things. The plutonium comes from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), upstream.