By Genie Stevens
Global Warming Express
School is out. The final part of the school year saw the Global Warming Expressers hitting their typical stride by arranging meetings with their mayors in all three cities!
In February 2018, GWEers from Montessori on the Rio Grande School told Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller that he should ban plastic straws in the city. He agreed to immediately make all Albuquerque city buildings straw-free if they could research alternatives to plastic straws.
They did, and on May 14, they dressed in their GWE T-shirts and gave their PowerPoint presentation of the results to Mayor Keller in his conference room on the 11th floor of City Hall.
They agreed to meet again, when the GWE program starts up again this fall.
Mayor Keller told them, ”Once we are ready to move on this, you GWEers and I will create a partnership.”
GWEers at Central Elementary in Las Cruces were super-excited to walk to City Hall to meet Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima. The GWEers told him what they’d learned about fossil fuels, greenhouse gases, global warming and its effects, melting ice, rising seas and animal extinction and global food security, and then gave him their ideas to stop it, which included using more solar and wind power and using water more efficiently. Mayor Miyagishima praised them for being “very well informed” and then explained to them his Clean Power Plan, including use of electric city buses, and why he signed the Climate Mayor’s Agreement. (They already knew that he had signed it and also knew about the U.N. Paris Climate Agreement). Then the kids gave him a copy of the Global Warming Express book, signed by the author and by each of them. The city photographer took lots of pictures and posted them on the city Facebook page and in an article about the city!
The Las Cruces GWEers proved to the mayor and to the city that they are kids who will change the world!
On April 11, Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber met with the Global Warming Expressers at Acequia Madre Elementary school to ask their advice about getting solar installed, as he just signed on with 176 other mayors nationwide to commit to a solar-powered city.
When he arrived at GWE headquarters (the school library), he and the GWEers took a test on climate change and renewable energy.
GWEer Sufyan read The Story of Solar at Acequia Madre to the Mayor, to explain to him how the GWEers had to fight hard, but how, after two years, they got their solar installed at the school.
Then the kids took him outside to see their solar shade structure and GWEer Winder told him all the facts and figures about how much electricity it provides (a lot! About 50% on an average day), what it cost, and how much money it saves.
We think he learned a lot. The GWEers took some great photos with him on the school grounds and in their photo-op art mural! And he asked us to come to City Hall next school year, to continue to consult with him!
As their Small Goal (part of the Global Warming Express program is to create a big and a small goal), GWEers at Reginald Chavez and Kirtland Elementary Schools in Albuquerque wanted to plant trees.
Mayor Keller’s office coordinated with the City of Albuquerque’s master arborist, Joran Viers, to do tree plantings near their schools. Both programs learned a lot from Viers and helped him to plant trees in honor of the Global Warming Express at parks near their schools!
Next year’s GWE plans are very ambitious!
The GWE has plans to expand from five schools with six programs to 15 schools with a combination of 18 programs. (Reginald Chavez School in Albuquerque is now hosting one GWE after school program for grades 3-5, one GWE in-school program for fifth grade and one new, GWE pilot program for K-2, combined with a school garden.) Highlights of GWE’s schools in New Mexico for 2018-19 include:
- a new program near Datil, NM
- a new program at Painted Sky Elementary in Albuquerque, with 40% Navajo population
- a fourth-grade program with the New Mexico School for the Deaf.
All told, the GWE Sierra Club programs will span Los Alamos, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Catron County and Las Cruces!
Photos by Mike Hopkins