Newsletter            M_CAN             July 2008

Greenhouse Gas Reduction is the name of our game.

Our First Issue

This is the first issue of our newsletter. We'll try one every other month. Let us know if that's not often enough.

Our Farmers Market Booth

The Cortez Farmers Market is providing a free booth to non-profits this year. Each week a different organization will be in the booth. On June 7th M-CAN had the honor of being first. Sue Whitehead spent the morning spreading the word about our activities, meeting new M-CAN members as well as selling plants and photo's to raise M-CAN funds. We welcomed a number of new members from the market.

Verde Fest

On Saturday, June 28th, M-CAN participated in the first ever 'Verde Fest' held at Mesa Verde. Booths were available to area conservation groups and businesses to showcase their carbon reduction efforts and green or sustainable products.

Co-sponsored by Aramark Harrison Lodging and the National Park Service, the full day event drew organizations from Cortez, Durango, Dolores and Mancos. A mix of local residents and international tourists browsed displays including green construction material,  solar  and other alternative energy products, a biodiesel production demonstration, energy conservation methods and products and recycling information. Local vendors and stores featured organic, sustainable agriculture and foods as well as household products from recycled materials.

The National Park Service provided "Konservation Kids" games and special ranger programs. There were green and sustainability presentations and demonstrations throughout the day including a presentation and demonstration by Aramark's Far View Terrace chef about their locally supplied organic and sustainable cuisine featuring  a delicious salad.

The event was a successful kickoff of what is to be a yearly celebration and demonstration of Mesa Verde's contribution to this region's environmental  efforts.

NPCA Air Quality Press Conference at Mesa Verde

Wednesday, July 2 at 10 AM a press conference was held at Mesa Verde National Park Chapin Mesa Amphitheater near park headquarters in response to the EPA lowering air quality standards for Class 1 areas (Mesa Verde National Park and Weminuche Wilderness Area).  The National Parks Conservation Association listed MVNP as one of the 10 most endangered parks when considering pollution from coal fired power plants, and has reacted to this EPA rule change.

The Press Conference was supported by local groups interested in air quality issues including San Juan Citizens Alliance and League of Women Voters. Press releases were issued to raise national awareness of the Administration and EPA's move to reduce air quality standards which was designed to allow easier approval of new coal fired power plant construction.

Home Energy Makeover Workshop and Expo

On Saturday, August 16, LaPlata Electric Coop and Empire Electric Coop will co-sponsor a Home Energy Makeover Workshop at Fort Lewis College. The entry fee will be $4 at the door or $2 if purchased ahead of time.

The workshop will be coordinated with a Utility Efficiency Exchange for utility and government organizations held Friday, August 15. The entry fee for this event will be  $195.00 for utility and government people, $395.00 for all others.

A VIP Preview Reception Thursday will have an entry fee of $10 and is free to sponsors. Sponsorships for the Saturday event start with non-profits at $100 and include on-site literature on a shared table as well as on the website. The sponsorships for businesses start at $250 and go up through $2500.

For further information see and To become a sponsor contact Ed Thomas at or 970-209-8347.

"Light Up This Whole Town"

Empire Electric Coop is selling long-life LED holiday light strings to local businesses. Their flyer says "there are only 600 strings available" and "Empire will take care of disposing of your old strings."

Contact Bobbe at 970-565-4444 or to reserve your LED holiday strings.

Note that this is for local businesses only.

Green Team News

Carbon Footprint Reduction Team

The team will soon introduce Low Carbon Clubs with newspaper, radio, and website recommmendations.  Here's an excerpt from their plan for the clubs :


"Global Warming is not science fiction; it is a fact of life. Every time you drive your car, turn on a light bulb or take a shower, you are putting CO2 into the atmosphere; these actions create your carbon footprint. CO2 is one of the primary green house gases (GHG) that causes Global Warming."


"There are many people in Montezuma County who are aware of this fact and want to do their part in reducing their personal carbon emissions. M-CAN's Carbon Reduction Team has come up with a way to make this challenging task fun with the introduction of Low Carbon Clubs (LCCs) throughout the county."

Want to start your own club?  Stay tuned for time and place of our introductory Low Carbon Club meeting to fill you in on the details.  It's easy and it's fun!

contacts: Sue Whitehead, 
              Roger and GLoria Woody

Community Food and Farms

Our five point initiative for Montezuma County at this time: 1) Farm/Ranch to School food program, 2) community gardens, 3)creating awareness of the availability and benefits of locally produced foods, 4) school programs including gardening and knowledge of local agriculture and 5) support for local farmers/ranchers to find markets close-to-home.

    Our specific concentration this summer is the pursuit of grant monies to fund a Community Food and Farms Project Director position to lead the implementation of the program outlined above.  Community members interested in furthering local production, processing, storage and consumption of locally grown foods are welcome to join the CFF Green Team.

Our aim - Relocalize Agriculture!!

Contacts: and

Renewable Energy

The team is spreading the word about Empire Electric's Green Energy Credits program using a flyer created by the team to explain the program's workings, cost and how to sign up.  Empire is charging 4/10 of a penny per kilowatt hour for renewable power.

Here are a few excerpts from the flyer:

"Beginning January 1, 2008, Empire's customers can buy a percentage of their power from renewable resources. The power you decide to upgrade to renewable with your purchase will be in addition to the renewable power mandated by the state."

"You decide what percentage of your average power you want to convert to Green Power and that amount will add a charge to your regular bill. (You select the % at signup, not month by month)."

Sign up by calling Empire Electric at 565-4444 and help recude our county's carbon footprint by driving the demand for more renewable power on the grid.


This team is working on the Fall Movie Night lineup. If you have a favorite video or have heard of one you think might be of interest, send the name or a link to

The Outreach Team is also working on live educational programs and workshops. Let us know what kind of topics you are particularly interested in.


The Recycling team is working on three inititatives, including completing a matrix/directory of recycling location by type of item, coordinating and supporting the recently-funded Four Corners Recycling Initiative (cardboard, mixed paper and mixed metals), and working with the Cortez WalMart to expand its in-store plastic recycling program to an outside location convenient to local residents.  We are ALWAYS looking for more volunteers and good ideas!  Stay tuned for important details on new opportunities.  Recycling Green Team questions or volunteers, contact Susan Thomas (

Four Corners Recycling Initiative - Grant Update

Contributed by Ashton Hargrave

Greetings MCAN Membership.  Just under $92,000 became available to FCRI from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment on July 1 to implement our recycling initiative plans.  Our top candidate for the Education & Outreach Coordinator position verbally accepted our quarter-time job offer the same day.  We are ecstatic to report that our first project milestone has been achieved with great success.  


Our next project is getting the cardboard, mixed paper, and mixed metal collection bins delivered and installed.  Many of the important details of our largest grant expense are still being ironed out.  Our target date for having the bins in place is coincident with the start of school in the fall.


We gave out between 60 and 70 recycling bins, courtesy of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, at the Dolores River Festival on 6/7.  We also disseminated informational flyers at the Dolores event and at the Mesa Verde Festival on 6/28.  Barbara Lynch is also giving out our fliers at the Cortez Farmer's Market.  The flyers were printed on GOOS (Good On One Side) paper courtesy of the Dolores Public Lands Office.  Look for our booth at upcoming outdoor events in Mancos, Dolores, and Cortez.


We have finalized a banner logo and agreed upon a website domain (  The website will go live in August.  Stay tuned because our education & outreach campaign will ramp up as the collection bins are delivered.


Until our website is up and running, visit the State's website to view our planning documents:

-Ashton Hargrave


No, we're not talking about free bicycles, but free + recycle. Recycle by giving your stuff to someone who can use it. In turn you can connect with local folks who have what you need and will give it to you.

Read more at or on our website

Our Web Site

Take a few minutes to check out our site at  You can follow our calendar on the site and will be able to browse the newsletters from now on.

There are links to many articles about climate change and greenhouse gas reduction as well as links to "how to" sites around the web.  Let us know what you think via the contact info on the site.


Climate Change Lesson for July

What is "Carbon Footprint"
First, why "carbon"?

Carbon is the essential element common to almost all lifeforms on this planet. Its the thread running through, and stitching together, earth's biology.

So it's not surprising that carbon shows up in the gasses produced by virtually all biological processes. This is true of bovine belches, decomposition of flora/fauna and, most critically, combustion of the substances lifeforms leave behind. That is to say, burning of wood, coal, petroleum, etc.

Call it poetic license. Each of us active earthlings enjoy a modern life that is, so far, made possible by (pardon the alliteration) carbon carcass combustion. Carbon stuff powers our lifestyle.

Each of us consumers can be associated with the amount of carbon combusted to support our activities and make our "stuff". In a way, we're each responsible for the amount of greenhouse gasses produced on our behalf... our footprint.

It's not the carbon itself that's the problem, but the greenhouse gasses (which have in common their carbonaceous nature). We'll talk about what gasses and why they're a problem in the next newsletter.

Twenty Years Since Jim Hansen Warned

This past week marked the 20th anniversary of Jim Hansen's first warning that greenhouse gas accumulation was changing our planet drastically. For many of us that time has passed quickly. We mention this to help calibrate our collective sense of passing time. We now have less than half that time to totally cancel out the GHG emissions of the past 7 decades.

Yet the policies of even the Kyoto protocol are totally inadequate to the task. According to a UN Environmental Program press release, ""The Kyoto Protocol is an agreement under which industrialized countries will reduce their collective emissions of greenhouse gases by 5.2% compared to the year 1990..." 

Climate Change Update

The following data was gathered by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) since 1900. As you view this graph, keep in mind that, although we have driven the atmosphere's CO2 as far up (above where it has ever been during the evolution of modern man) as it usually drops when allowing an ice age that covers most of the planet with ice, our temperature has risen less than two degrees. That two degrees provides the weather changes shown below. Imagine what will occur when the thermal momentum builds and temperature catches up with the rapidly changing greenhouse gases.

Increased population and better reporting undoubtedly contribute, but can't explain away the stunning change in the past 70 years.

Because CO2 and methane remain in the atmosphere for a long time, if we immediately stop emitting greenhouse gases, the level of weather effects seen above will continue for centuries according to this study.

What You Can Do...

  • Make a personal commitment to reduce your carbon footprint. M-CAN will be making recommendations on ways to help you do this through this newsletter, a monthly newspaper column, the radio, and our website. 

  • Join a green team and help us get the word out.

  • Make a commitment to become a Low Carbon Club leader.  (We plan on having these going by early fall.)

  • Stay informed on the issues and vote in local, state, and national elections accordingly.

Mark Your Calendar

On Tuesday, July 15, from 6:30pm to 8:30 at the Durango Rec Center there will be a discussion of "Climate Change, Greenhouse Gasses and Life in LaPlata County" with
  • PAT CUMMINS Director Air Quality and Climate Programs Western Governors Association

  • JEREMY NICHOLS Rocky Mountain Clean Air Coalition

  • DICK WHITE Sustainability Alliance of Southwest Colorado


If every U.S. home replaced their 5 most frequently used light fixtures with energy efficient lighting, we would save close to $8 billion per year in energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to that produced by 10 million cars.

Light Roofs save AC energy, last longer and have a direct effect on global warming by reflecting the suns light without converting it to infra-red radiation which is trapped by greenhouse gasses.

Air dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher's drying cycle. Better yet, hand wash.

Turn off your PC and monitor when not in use.

Use power strips to turn off your electronics such as stereo and TV when not in use.

Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes.

Buy only Energy Star appliances and products.

Use task lighting. Instead of brightly lighting an entire room, focus the light where you need it.

Use light color curtains with a loose-weave on your windows to allow daylight to penetrate the room. Better yet, open the curtains during daytime.

Send Us Your Tips
Email to
with the subject "Tips".