The Global Warming Express is a climate change advocacy organization created by kids for kids. It was founded by two nine-year-old girls in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Marina Weber and Joanna Whysner, after they learned about climate change and endangered species in third grade. They decided to write a book to send to President Obama to impress upon him the urgency of climate change. They are now in sixth grade at Desert Academy in Santa Fe.
What We Do
The Global Warming Express began as an after-school mentorship program in the Fall of 2013 with a group of nine- to eleven-year-old students at Acequia Madre Elementary School in Santa Fe, New Mexico. One year later, this for kids/by kids movement has won a prestigious award, has had a day named after it, and has been asked to sit on Mayor Javier Gonzales’ ground-breaking Climate Action Task Force. And this year we have expanded into five public schools, both elementary and middle, and one private school in Santa Fe, as well as schools in Albuquerque, Mexico, and even the United Kingdom. In Santa Fe, the initial expansion of the GWE was as part of the 21st Century program, which serves such schools as Cesar Chavez Elementary, Ramirez Thomas Elementary, and DeVargas Middle School. In January of 2015 the GWE looks forward to expanding its reach into many more schools, currently on a waiting list.
The GWE after-school curriculum is as diverse as its student body. Climate science and general science form the backbone of the mentorship material, supplemented by mathematics, geography, history, civics, public speaking and performance skills, and sustainability training. The students bring their own concerns to the material, and learn how to advocate for themselves and design solutions. They write and deliver three kinds of speeches: elevator speeches, city council speeches, and legislature speeches. They also sing and dance, performing their own songs about global warming and sustainable resources.
Each group of GWEers decides which Big and Small Goals they would like to achieve in the school year, or beyond — goals that will help their school, homes, and city function more sustainably. From time to time during the school year, the groups will come together for field trips, such a visiting the Santa Fe Community College’s Sustainable Technologies Center (BioFuel Program), participating in City Council Meetings, and attending New Mexico Legislative Assemblies. With further expansion we will be training students from the Santa Fe High School Institute for Sustainability and from the Santa Fe Community College to be GWE mentors.
The GWEers are coming to realize that the world they are growing into is filled with profound challenges that demand creative solutions. Already they are finding that grownups are listening to them, and encouraging them to become engaged citizens in their communities. What better gift can a mentor give a child than the gift of education and the belief in the power of her or his own voice?
The Story So Far
The GWEers have spoken and performed all over Santa Fe. They have met with local officials and spoken before the Santa Fe City Council, and they have testified before the EPA in Denver and the Public Regulatory Commission of New Mexico. In 2013 they held a No Keystone Pipeline Rally in Santa Fe. They also participated in Renewable Energy Day at the Round House and Santa Fe’s Green Festival. The GWE won the 2014 Sustainable Santa Fe Award for Youth Led Project. The Global Warming Express website was officially launched on Global Warming Express Day,
August 31, 2013, as proclaimed by Santa Fe’s then mayor, David Coss.
The girls and their friends are finding that grownups are listening to them, and encouraging them to believe that KIDS CHANGE THE WORLD!
If you or the kids in your life want more info about how to jump on board the Global Warming Express, just go to the Contact link.