We are mothers of six children in total and live in Southwest Albuquerque. In the legislative session, we lost the opportunity to strengthen a better future for our children and grandchildren. Community solar gardens (HB 338 sponsored by Rep. Roybal Caballero/SB 342 sponsored by Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque) would have offered options for families like ours. The House version was passed in committees, but died on the House floor, short only three votes; the Senate version did not make it out of its second committee.

Supporting renewable energy helps us to have better health and an environment with less pollution that especially affects our youngest children and community with illnesses. Families in the South Valley and Westgate, like communities in other parts of the state, have more respiratory problems like asthma. This is in large part because of the quality of air in our communities.

In addition, renewable energy in our community helps reduce family household costs. In our community, families pay a higher percentage for energy and they don’t have options to convert to solar energy because we rent our houses or cannot afford solar panels.

Also, implementing more renewable energy would be very helpful because this would increase jobs so our city and state could improve the economy. In New Mexico there are more renewable energy jobs like in solar energy, which pay more, and are healthier and less dangerous than oil and gas jobs.

During the legislative session, we asked legislators to support community solar gardens because it is of great interest to our families and our communities. As mothers, we ask our leaders to support and invest in community solar gardens thinking about the change and future of our children and grandchildren of all in New Mexico. Today, we will keep fighting in our city, county and again with the legislature to secure a healthier future for our children and grandchildren, mother Earth and the economy for us all.

Juntos: Our Air, Our Water is a program of CVNM Education Fund in partnership with Chispa, a program of League of Conservation Voters Education Fund that works to elevate Latino leadership in the fight against climate change and for solutions like clean energy. Juntos launched in 2014 to organize Latino families in Albuquerque to protect their air and water from threats of contamination, and to advocate for clean energy as a solution. Visit facebook.com/JuntosNM.