Albuquerque Mayor Cleans Up
The city should be as beautiful as its people
Scholastic Kid Reporter Jacob Schroeder interviews Mayor Martin Chavez at City Hall in Albuquerque, New Mexico, March 2007. (Photo: Courtesy Jacob Schroeder)
Mayor Martin Chavez has made a positive difference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, especially when it comes to the environment. Recently he was recognized for extending his influence around the world.
In London in December, Mayor Chavez accepted the World Leadership Award for his work on the city’s water conservation and utility program. Today, he says that animals and the environment are the focus of many of his goals for the city.
“I run the city, and hopefully decide long-term where we should go as a city,” Mayor Chavez said. “It is my job to hire the police, firefighters, and to make sure the restaurants, air, and streets are clean. I run the bio-park for the city, and have been doing a lot of things to move the city forward to stop global warming.”
The Mayor recently met with Scholastic News to discuss his award and his impact on Albuquerque. Mayor Chavez brought along Dukes, the city’s “First Dog.”
|Scholastic Kid Reporter Jacob Schroeder and First Dog Dukes at City Hall in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (Photo: Courtesy Jacob Schroeder)|
Taking his dog to work is just one of the many ways that the Mayor Chavez shows how he mixes his life with his work. Dukes was homeless when the Mayor found him and took him in. Now the Mayor travels around teaching children how important it is to take good care of animals.
Being active in the community is what got the Mayor elected. He said that by helping people through neighborhood associations and church groups, he developed the skills needed to make the city of Albuquerque a better place.
In addition to finding an award winning way to provide enough water for the city, Mayor Chavez is also the founding member of the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement. As Mayor, he is working to make sure Albuquerque has a plan to make clean energy available to everyone.
“We need to change our lights, buildings, and cars so they don’t pollute,” he said. “Our landfills are important to think about because they emit gas.”
This Spring Albuquerque celebrated the 17th anniversary of Tree New Mexico by giving away more than 5,000 trees. Trees reduce the amount of pollution in the air.
“Plus on a hot sunny day, they are really nice to sit under and climb in,” Mayor Chavez said.
Cities that work towards reducing the carbon in the air are called carbon neutral cities. Mayor Chavez hopes that Albuquerque will be a carbon neutral city by 2030 thanks to all the new trees. He calls that goal his “2030 Challenge.”
“Going carbon-neutral is an easy way to take responsibility for the air pollution created by driving cars, using computers and even taking a plane,” he said.
The Mayor also started a “War on Weeds” in Albuquerque. He invited everyone to pick weeds, clean up, and keep Albuquerque beautiful. He says the city’s citizens should do their part in keeping the city clean. The event has taken place at least once a year during Martin Chavez’s term as Mayor.
“I believe that Albuquerque should be as beautiful as its people,” he said.
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Jacob Schroeder is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps,