AFSC New Mexico was happy to partner with Rio Grande High School students in Albuquerque as part of the Global Climate Strike. The students wanted to be part of the solution to climate change so they cleaned up trash from a historic 300-year-old farm and acequia (our traditional waterway).
Dozens of Rio Grande High School students planned the event during their lunch breaks in Ethnic Studies teacher Tony Padilla’s classroom with AFSC New Mexico Program Director Sayrah Namaste. “Climate change scares me,” said freshman Ever Godina. “I want to travel the world and see all these places. I want to fix things so that when I can finally travel, I can see all the beautiful places.”
Sayrah connected the students with a local farm, several farmers, and community leaders who fight for water rights. After gathering the students, teachers, farmers and community leaders together on a Saturday morning during the week of the Global Climate Strike, we provided compostable trash bags and gloves as well. The students were surprisingly enthusiastic about cleaning up trash! We unfortunately found 36 dirty needles and removed those as well.
“I want to clean up the acequias because someone has to do it, and the more people who do something, the more it makes a difference,” explained Rio Grande High School senior Julian Martinez . “It’s like a snowball. It starts small and gets bigger. Too many people want to avoid climate change but we want to do something about it.”
At the end of the clean up, Sayrah gave each student flower petals to place in the acequia with a prayer or wish for good things for the earth.
Students place flower petals in the acequia.