“Are you from New Mexico?” the man behind me in line at the credit union asked. He was wearing a MAGA cap and shirt. “Yes,” I said, but didn’t smile like I usually do.

I was wearing my yellow cap with the Zia sun symbol on it. I like to hear people’s stories who recognize the symbol. I am reminded of how special my native state is: blue skies, huge cumulus clouds, magical sunset light, rugged mountains, smell of rain on junipers, the old pueblos and villages, the crafts, art, architecture, and cuisine. The rich range of skin tones.

“What do you think about the garbage coming across the border?” he asked.

I was shocked. “I don’t consider those people ‘garbage.’ They are just trying to better their lives.”

“Oh I didn’t mean people, I meant drugs,” he said.

But he meant people.

I defensively referred to my positive upbringing where Puebloan, Hispanic, and Mexican influences were strong. Nothing I said mattered; he would not go home and read the Wikipedia entry on New Mexico. But let’s say he really wanted to know what I thought New Mexico’s problems are.

Global warming. New Mexico is the sixth fastest warming state; temperature has increased 2.7 degrees fahrenheit over 45 years. New Mexico’s economy depends heavily upon oil and gas. Due to venting, flaring, and leaking, New Mexico has an above-average release of methane. Fracking poses a significant threat to the quality of water in aquifers.

How to slow the heat? Price carbon. The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR 763), currently with 62 co-sponsors, will lower greenhouse gas emissions and spur the transition to clean energy.

Global warming knows no borders. Keeping Florida, the Bahamas, southeastern New Mexico inhabitable is worth a few cents more for a gallon of gas.

Diana Armstrong


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