Friday, May 27, 2016

Good News for Glass Recycling?


Word on the street today is that Cemex has run out of Franklin Red. That means they have gouged out as much of that beautiful rhyolite from the McKelligon Canyon Quarry as they can. That's sad news because it means the beauty of that rock has been forever taken from that large portion of the south end of the Franklin Mountains.

There is yet another tidbit of news coming from the Pendale Citizen Collection Station: Cemex wants to purchase 200 tons of recycled glass! "What for?" I inquired. "Possibly to experiment with" was the answer. Problem is that the Pendale glass crusher has only produced 10 tons of glass mulch so far. 10 tons is good news. Even better news is that El Paso residents are using it. This means El Paso's glass recycling program is working.

It also means that El Paso should think about getting a larger glass crusher. Las Cruces has a $186K crusher purchased from Andela Products

Again, 10 tons is great news. However, I still run into people who aren't even aware that they can recycle glass not to mention use the crushed glass for mulch, landscaping and art. 

Save your glass and take it to the collection station nearest you. Go to the Pendale Station to get your free crushed glass.

For further reading 

City of El Paso Garbage Collection Do's and Don't's 

What to Recycle in El Paso 

Benefits of Glass Recycling

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Wildlife Corridor Progressing

Click image to enlarge. Photo by Rick Bonart

Rick Bonart who took the picture above had this to say about the underpass/wildlife corridor at the Tom Mays Unit of the Franklin Mountains State Park: 

"The wildlife corridor is coming along. Note it's done in 2 sections to allow natural light in the middle, and dirt bottom, and water will drain in a separate section to avoid erosion... ‎in other words best practices design."

Bonart is proposing a small stock tank nearby to support wildlife. "I just want a bunch of birds, deer, javalina rabbits, ferrets, etc.," he said.

Many are recommending that the underpass be named the "Bonart Wildlife Corridor" after Dr. Rick Bonart who has spent years advocating for this structure.

For further reading:

5 Things You Need to Know about Wildlife Corridors

Wildlife Corridor

10 important wildlife corridors

The Spine of the Continent

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Friday Video: Castner Range Video with Mr. Lopez

Mr. Pablo Lopez teaches at hillside Elementary. He was born, raised and still lives in the Segundo Barrio. A graduate of Bowie High School and UTEP, he is the President of the Southside Neighborhood Association.

Please help make Castner Range a National Monument. Visit to find out how.

Remember: if you receive elpasonaturally as an email, you won't see the video. Go to to view.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Alternatives to Releasing Helium Balloons

From the blog, Children of Vietnam.

The topic of releasing helium balloons at funerals (or weddings - how ironic) came up this morning during a meeting of the Executive Committee of the local Sierra Club Group. The Group plans to continue to handout free reusable tote bags as an alternative to throwaway plastic store bags. However, on the topic of balloons, it was decided that there was really no way to change the recent cultural behavior of balloon releases at funerals. 

As you know, as the balloon rises higher and encounters lower pressure from the atomosphere, it expands and eventually bursts. The plastic balloon falls back to the ground where it becomes a hazard to wildlife. The overuse of helium is another issue as well.

I googled alternatives to releasing balloons at funerals and discovered How to Have a Safe Balloon Release or Use a Meaningful Alternative. Check it out. To that list I would add burning incense which is part of the burial ritual of Vietnamese. (See also the blog post, Saying Goodbye.) Burning incense is also the custom in many other religions and cultures and incense is used in the burial rites of liturgical Christian churches.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Palm Oil Derivatives . . .

Click on image to enlarge.

. . . or why shopping is so difficult if you really care about rainforests and orangutans.

As soon as I learned from Rick LoBello at the El Paso Zoo about the destruction caused by palm oil "farming", I began reading labels a bit more carefully whenever I go shopping. I stopped buying products that have palm oil in them. What I have become more aware of is the extent to which palm oil derivatives make their way into hundreds of thousands of products on store shelves.

Just click on and enlarge the chart above. Want a more complete list, go HERE and scroll down.

Palm oil has many applications:

Click on image to enlarge.
So what some may ask. Why should anyone care about rainforests and orangutans?

It's like cigarette smoking. We all know that smoking causes lung cancer and other diseases. Rainforests are the lungs of the earth. Destroy our lungs and it will eventually destroy us even here in the Chihuahuan Desert. Deforestation also destroys the homes of indigenous people (thus putting more stress on urban and national economies) and native species. We depend on rain forests for food and pharmaceuticals.

Our immediate concerns are all good ones: relationships, paying bills, our jobs, etc. What is hard to grasp and appreciate is the interconnectedness of our biosphere. All that lives here and now share evolutionary stories. It's just not human species or the day to day concerns that each one of us has. It's a planet full of shared and dependent existence. 

What to do? Keep reading those labels. AND start thinking about making your own products with a few simple ingredients while eschewing those store bought products with long lists of arcane chemicals. Google "diy natural homemade blank". Fill in the blank: shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, furniture polish, whatever. Check out web sites such as Wellness Mama. Let the makers of products using palm oil and palm oil derivatives know that you will no longer buy their products. 

You want the planet to breathe and be healthy and you want the same for yourself and your family.