Recycled Thoughts

The following are some important ideas regarding recycling in the border region by guest contributor Dr. Marshall Carter-Tripp:

Smiley-5copy_zpsa902abb2Recent travels in the West/Northwest and into Alberta took me to several national parks, and to small cities and towns along the way, many in very isolated areas. It was interesting to discover that recycling exists in places where there is no Internet or cell phone coverage! For example, the lodging areas of Yellowstone National Park have many strategically placed recycling bins, and each cabin had separate trash and recycling baskets. Accommodations at Flagg Ranch, between Yellowstone and Glacier, also had these recycle bins and separate containers in the rooms. Hotels in some towns, such as the Hampton Inn in Butte, Montana, offered recycling. As we returned, we found the Riverbend Hot Springs in Truth or Consequences was in the group, and its recycling included glass. Continue reading

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Save the Stacks–Last Chance!

Asarco-Concept

Conceptual vision of mixed use of ASARCO property

We wrote in an earlier article (“Save the ASARCO Stacks–Create a Sustainable Future“) of the historical and economic importance of preserving the smoke stacks associated with the now closed industrial complex just off Interstate-10 near downtown El Paso, TX.  We discussed possible mixed uses of the property, including academic research,  a “Green Technology” research park, an international cultural heritage museum,  and outdoor recreational uses of the property all centered around the cultural and historical heritage represented by the stacks.  A small, non-profit organization—Save the Stacks –has led the fight to keep these iconic structures as part of our border skyline.  Made up of concerned El Pasoans  with no political or commercial interests in the stacks or the approximate 400 acres on which they stand, Save the Stacks has advocated using the stacks as part of a monument dedicated to all the individuals impacted by the regional industries and activities represented by them.  However their backs are against the proverbial “wall” as they must convince authorities to stop current plans for the stacks imminent demolition in early April.  This is the last chance to save the stacks or they will be destroyed and a bit of our border’s history lost forever! Continue reading

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Energy Issues of the US-Mexico Border Region

The following article by guest contributor Dr. Jim Peach is part of a series of articles focused on energy issues of importance to our region and as part of a lead up to the 2nd Annual Re-energize the Americas conference being held on Oct 17 & 18th, 2012 at the Las Cruces, NM Convention Center.

As Abbas Ghassemi, my colleague at New Mexico State University, pointed out in an earlier blog, energy issues are always complex.  In part, this complexity stems from the fact that energy issues are always intertwined with other complex issues –economic growth, technological change, population growth, environmental issues, and political stability.

The international border creates additional complexity for energy issues in the border region. San Diego and Tijuana (or El Paso and Juárez) are cities in two different nations but anyone living in the border region can explain that they have more in common than geographic proximity.  Interactions across the border include workers who commute, trade flows, cross-border investments, families in which some members live on one side of the border while others live in el otro lado.  Traffic flows and long lines at border crossings are almost daily reminders of cross-border interaction.  Continue reading

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Cyber Security in Utilities–What Can We Do?

The following article by guest contributor Dr. Ralph Martinez is part of a series of articles focused on energy issues of importance to our region and as part of a lead up to the 2nd Annual Re-energize the Americas conference being held on Oct 17 & 18th, 2012 at the Las Cruces, NM Convention Center.

Cyber Security in “Smart Grids”

North American networks and devices come under attack billions of times each year. In the nuclear industry alone, the National Nuclear Security Administration estimates that more than 10 million cyber attacks occur in the United States each day. United States Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta recently stated, “The potential for the next Pearl Harbor could very well be a cyber-attack. The capability to paralyze this country is here now…and there is a high risk.” Continue reading

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Energy, A Major Challenge for the Future?

The following article by guest contributor Dr. Abbas Ghassemi is part of a series of articles focused on energy issues of importance to our region and as part of a lead up to the 2nd Annual Re-energize the Americas conference being held on Oct 17 & 18th, 2012 at the Las Cruces, NM Convention Center.

 

By 2050 the demand for energy could double or even triple as the global population rises and developing countries expand their economies. All life on earth depends on energy and the cycling of carbon. Energy is essential for economic and social development but also poses an environmental challenge. We must explore all aspects of energy production and consumption including energy efficiency, clean energy, global carbon cycle, carbon sources and sinks and biomass as well as their relationship to climate and natural resource issues. Continue reading

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Energy in the Desert: The Promise of Biofuels*

In the last Presidential elections the candidates promised to develop “green” economies by creating new domestic industries and thousands of jobs.  These investments were expected to help avert the then looming economic crisis while reducing green house emissions and foreign oil dependence through domestic alternative energy sources.  If a melting stock market and financial crisis were not enough incentive, oil prices soaring then to $140 a barrel and gas prices moving to $5 a gallon only underscored the need to “go green.”  Much, of course, has happened since then but today we see oil moving into the $120 /barrel range and fuel prices once again going above $4 a gallon. And the political drums are beating as well (do I hear $2.50 a gallon as a “must”?).  “Drill, Baby, Drill!” again is finding resonance with some as the campaign season heats up. Continue reading

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