Dispatches from the Field & Project Summaries
December 10, 2010
From Albuquerque, highway 25 heads northeast to Santa Fe, through pastel red dirt, behind wide mountain ranges, past casinos and cholla cacti, into the blue sky. The Green Living Project team converged in chilly Albuquerque this morning. We layered up, headed outside, where Jennifer Hobson of New Mexico Tourism and Sandy Cunningham of EcoNewMexico awaited us. We rumbled up highway 25 towards Sante Fe to Taos, watching the diverse landscape of New Mexico slide by and gaining almost a mile in altitude en route—from about 5,200 feet in the high dessert region of Albuquerque to 9,000 feet above sea level in the mountains of Taos.
Who are we? Matt, a long-time GLP film editor and Denver-ite is out from behind the computer and out on his first trip with the crew. Chad, the videographer who stores his food nutrients in his beard, is back from filming Mexico and out on his third trip with Green Living Project. Chris thought traveling back and forth from New York to Los Angeles—he currently lives in Los Angeles—for sound production work would be more glamorous than it really is. I’m Megan: writer, traveler, and, as one short teenager told me today in a gas station in Taos, I am “really tall.”
There are 19 sovereign Native American nations in New Mexico, governed by their own tribal councils and governors and not beholden to federal law (though they can vote in state and federal elections). According to Jen, who speared the New Mexico EcoTourism initiative, the interplay between Native Americans, the Spanish and Hispanics, ranchers and farmers, and the vibrant community of artists and politicians who live in the capitol of Santa Fe is at the forefront of many state and community interactions. This overlapping of cultures was obvious in the images flickering past on the road: flashing casino lights, clusters of small, red-walled adobe homes, tribal reservation boundary signs, the Santa Fe opera house, car repair stores, artisan boutiques and ranching supply stores. We stopped at the Rio Grande river gorge for photos, and then struck upwards, into the thin air of the Taos, before stopping, finally, at 10,200 feet above sea level, at the Bavarian Lodge and Restaurant—a little slice of small-town Europe in this sprawling Southwestern landscape.