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?