Thanks to New Mexico bishops for advocating in favor of stronger rules to reduce methane emissions at oil and gas production sites in New Mexico, and for specifying how the state Environmental Improvement Board can achieve this (“Bishops call for stronger methane rules,” Commentary, Aug. 29). Policy and regulatory reforms to curb methane are necessary and long overdue. So is individual action independent of governmental reform: We should not put food scraps into the garbage. Food scraps in landfills contribute significantly to methane emissions.
Instead of trashing food scraps, let’s compost them. A great option in Santa Fe is Reunity Resources’ doorstep program. You fill a bucket weekly or bi-weekly, and Reunity picks it up from your doorstep, replacing it with an empty one. Reunity also accepts food scraps at the farm, with bins always accessible. All food scraps feed its commercial composting operation, which feeds the soil. Go to reunityresources.com/doorstep.
Saving public spaces
The extremely oversized item on Guadalupe Street now in the news dominates a very public space. I remember thinking when I first saw it that the city must have zoning policies to regulate private displays in public areas. Santa Fe’s restorative justice system can work through the unfortunate vandalism, but the current conversation should also include protecting the scale of our small downtown.
Balancing commerce with our vulnerable historic streets requires stewardship and respect for everyone. Many Santa Feans remember the gallery on Old Pecos Trail that nailed artwork on every possible outside surface, the huge going-out-of-business banners that surfaced a few seasons back, or the shiny metal cartoon figures that procreated all over town. We share a very small footprint for such visual overload. Perhaps through the restorative justice process, a local park — not unlike the popular Shidoni space — could be contemplated. Local commercial work could be enjoyed in a open, walkable setting.
Value all life
On Aug. 25, the writers of two short letters to the editor (“A matter of choice” and “Freedom?”) suggested that the anti-vaccination demonstrators are probably of the same mentality as the anti-abortion lobby. The writers have it backward. In fact, the cries of “freedom”’ and “rights” are exactly those of the pro-abortion folks. In both cases the ones declaring, “my body, my choice,” forget that others are involved in the unfortunate decision to be responsible to oneself only and to neglect the potential harm to and, in the case of abortion, the sure death of another. People against abortion are protective of all human life, whereas the anti-vaxxers just don’t seem to care.
Gudgel was right
Rachel Gudgel, the embattled education leader who was forced to resign, should have been commended for defending the education of Native students when she allegedly said, “It’s not like making beaded sandals is going to improve student outcomes.” She had a valid point. The context of Gudgel’s comment is a push from Native leaders to use cultural crafts as a teaching method. Native kids have long performed two to three grade levels below their white peers. Their proposal, which is already in place at some Native charter schools, is teach math with traditional Native crafts, and for language literacy, teach Native languages such as Tewa.
It may sound good, but I believe this new approach would doom Native students to a lifetime of math innumeracy and reading illiteracy. There is no way to teach math without solving math problems, just as they do in every country and culture in the world. Gudgel was standing up for Native kids and she was the anti-racist in this kerfuffle. Instead of being pushed out, Gudgel should have been promoted to serve as New Mexico’s state secretary of the Public Education Department.
Richard N. Johnson