Despite clean air and water being basic necessities—and climate change, an inconceivable fact—it hasn’t always been easy to find editors and newspapers willing to run stories about the environment.
For 17 years now, however, the Santa Fe Reporter has been my favorite place to write about everything from endangered fish to climate change to how political corruption plays out in ways that benefit industry and screw over New Mexicans. For almost two decades every time I've had a story that really needed to be told—especially to a local audience—I've gone to the editors at SFR. I covered the proposals to divert the Gila River, the United States Supreme Court case on sharing water with Texas, and even explored the study of roadkill and how to prevent wildlife from dying along highways. Just last month, my essay "Memory of a River" tracked the depletion of the Rio Grande as a sort of love letter to the river.
And SFR's readers should be proud: Long before many editors and reporters competently covered climate change—when mainstream newspapers were still giving equal voice to climate change deniers and the words "global warming" were never even uttered on commercial television stations—SFR consistently ran stories about how climate change was already affecting New Mexicans.
Of course, it hasn't been just me: over the years, SFR's staff reporters have covered critical environmental issues that we all need to understand—about water, energy, wildlife, mining, oil and gas development, and community. Some people have been tricked into thinking environment issues are partisan. I know you're all savvy enough to know that's not true—and that you're savvy enough to recognize the need for independent environment reporting on the community level.
National newspapers have finally started picking up the ball on the environment. And we've all seen the stories national reporters write when they parachute into our state. But what matters most are the stories we tell about our own communities—and what's happening right here on our home ground.
Not only have SFR's editors over the years been fierce and fearless, these women have also been deeply invested in the well-being of Santa Feans and New Mexicans. And right now—especially if you care about coverage of the environment—I need you to be deeply invested in the well-being of the Santa Fe Reporter.
This letter from Laura Paskus is part of a series we are publishing about Friends of the Reporter, a new model for supporting our journalism mission. Visit sfreporter.com/friends, to make a one-time or recurring donation. You'll get perks like discounts on on our merch and a monthly giveaway.
In September, one lucky Friend will win a Kala Dolphin Soprano Ukulele donated by The Candyman Strings and Things.