Diaperin’ Ain’t Easy
Can new parents go green without going broke or losing their minds?
This Week at the Guild Cinema
Festival of Film Noir, Wal-Mart: The High Cost of a Low Price, and Green
Look what’s playing at the Guild this week. We accidentally lost their ad in our print edition—sorry for the inconvenience, everyone!
Farming Beyond Farmville
The pros and cons of urban agriculture
The Beauty of Green Living
Paul Lusk’s eco-savvy estate
Modern Home Tours brings sustainable homes to New Mexico
Frank Lloyd Wright once said that “every great architect is—necessarily—a great poet. He must be a great original interpreter of his time, his day, his age.” Given that we live in a state that stresses the importance of sustainable living and eco-friendly promise, the field of architecture has progressed with the trends of becoming environmentally viable.
So, you might ask what are some of the ways that people can become more “green,” seeing as how it's not only a topic of conversation equalling the new “Kardashians” episode, but an actual concern that's permeating the atmosphere, so to speak.
Based in Austin, Texas, Matt Swinney and James Leasure started the Modern Home Tour in 2011 in an effort to combine beautiful architecture with sustainable living. Using the likes of floor-to-ceiling windows to bring in natural light and using solar panels, rather than wasteful air conditioning units, to power the home, these little casitas are aimed and designed at giving people a fresh look at living to protect our future.
“I think that the simple fact is that resources are limited and the population is growing,” Leasure said. “A lot of the really advanced architecture and modern design can help us achieve that.”
Now, the idea of sustainable living isn't without its arguments. Having spoken to several people about the idea of sustainable living, some feel that the idea of trying to promote eco-friendly measures is something that is simply delaying the inevitable. Because of the limited resources, and the idea that the world is crumbling little by little, it would be easy to argue that the actions of a few can hardly outweigh those of the majority.
“In order to take a step, you have to take half a step, and in order to take half a step, you have to take a quarter step,” Leasure said. “There is some value here, and that's sort of our goal, that we show people that this can be interesting and attractive, and even if they won't do it for your fellow man, they can at least see this as being interesting and beautiful.”
And beauty does seem to be one of the main tenets of what Modern Home Tours hopes to achieve. Using geothermal heating and cooling as well as rainwater collection to reuse and recycle what nature gives us, they are showcasing million-dollar homes for people to see how modernity can be beneficial, and how people can use these benefits to advance their home to not only be sustainably sound, but also to educate and teach about how recycling and living green can prolong our future.
But, it seems somewhat ridiculous that people would be able to afford homes of this magnitude, much less adopt the ideas of living green as a measure of everyday life. From looking at these homes, it appears that the ideas of sustainable living can only cater to those who have fat wallets. But Leasure assures that while these homes are somewhat expensive, the ideas aren't.
“The quirks are very acceptable,” Leasure said. “If you take something like that [sustainable living and geothermal cooling] and put them in a new house that doesn't have to have a modern design, you can see that this becomes a real and tangible thing.”
Modern Home Tours will showcase their “green” homes in Taos, N.M. on Saturday, April 27 and in Santa Fe, N.M. on Sunday, April 28, both days from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Advance tickets are $30 and include both days of the tour, or you can purchase tickets the day of the tours for $40. Children 12 and under get in for free. For home addresses and more information, you can visit newmexico.modernhometours.com.
Music to Your Ears
When she started working on her new album, Green, vocalist and activist Barbara Bentree just wanted to do an album of songs she loves. Then, while considering the purchase of a hybrid auto, she began to ruminate on the effort required to go green—from separating your trash to retrofitting a house with solar panels. Suddenly, Kermit’s song “Bein’ Green” took on new meaning, and Bentree decided to “look at traditional songs through an environmental lens.” With a lovely, clear, well-pitched voice that has a charming girlishness in the upper registers and a pleasing touch of sweetness throughout, Bentree walks a line between wonder and warning. With pop, jazz, Brazilian and new age touches in sterling arrangements by John Rangel, who appears on piano and synth, the nine tracks feature fine work by Marcos Cavalcante (guitar) and Joel Fadness (drums). Drummer Dave Libman guests on “The Planet Song,” an intriguing anthem by Wen Mull that’s full of synth magic. The album—nominated for six New Mexico Music Awards—entertains while raising awareness, with all revenues from CD sales going to the Natural Resources Defense Council, PETA, GreenPeace, the Sierra Club and Bioneers. The album release concert, appropriately scheduled for Earth Day, will feature Rangel, Cavalcante and Fadness, along with the Rio Grande School choir.
This Week's Feature: The politics of planet saving on local, state and federal levels[ Thu Apr 21 2011 2:00 PM ]
City: Will changing The City of Albuquerque’s building requirements be a boon or a bust?
State: Meet Gov. Martinez’ new Environmental Improvement Board
National: Sen. Udall tells the country to get with the program—New Mexico’s program
City: Trading Greenbacks for “Green”
Will changing the city’s building requirements be a boon or a bust?
But on Feb. 7, the City Council unanimously this law, replacing it with older conservation rules. Some green-building advocates worry the move may serve as a bellwether for the city’s attitude toward sustainability and speculate about the larger implications of this change.
Alibi Flickr Photo of the Day
This one's a bit out of focus, but I can't not post a cliche ornament shot. You all know this.
Alibi Flickr Photo of the Week
Sustainabilty Week Kicks Off
Green is kind of the "it" word these days. Every product at the grocery store claims to be it, every politician claims to want it and every soccer mom in a Prius claims to live it. Here in the Duke City, we are consistently rated near the top of every list chronicling the greenest cities in the nation. Despite that abysmal "Q" branding, Albuquerque's enviro-friendly image is a commendable badge to carry. So just how green are we, really? Let Burque put its money where its mouth is during the U.S. Green Building Council's Sustainability Week. Running June 11 through 19, check out a slew of environmentally sound events throughout the city and state. For a complete schedule of events, visit usgbcnm.org.
What cryptic “green” claims on wine labels really mean
Drinking responsibly used to mean having a designated driver and not showing strangers your naughty bits. But, as with all things in the 21st century, being “responsible” has evolved to include knowing the ecological status of what we consume, too.
A New Shade of “Green”
Let us pause, briefly, to applaud Mayor Martin Chavez for his efforts on getting Albuquerque “green”—most notably, on just the idea of being “green.” We can have our quibbles on how this effort was done and what was accomplished, but let’s be clear here: We’ve moved well beyond “why.” That is no small accomplishment.