Student’s passion for recycling merits praise

Sixth-grader Jordan Crowe, 11, is now an advocate for the environment. He recycles religiously and urges his friends and family to do the same.

  • Wednesday, April 9, 2008 3:00pm
  • News

Former veep sends letter of support

Sixth-grader Jordan Crowe, 11, is now an advocate for the environment. He recycles religiously and urges his friends and family to do the same.

He has even been begging his mom to buy a hybrid car.

“It’s sort of a topic that I really care about,” Crowe said. “It just sort of gets to me.”

At the heart of the Cedar Valley Elementary School student’s passion is an effort to stop global warming, and for encouragement in his effort, he recently reached out to the godfather of the cause — former Vice President Al Gore.

Inspired by a class science project and a Nickelodeon TV show about how climate change impacts kids around the world, Crowe came to his teacher, Sande Bode, earlier this school year with the idea of writing a letter to Gore. The class had been researching the phenomenon for its year-end science project, so Bode was eager to help.

“He’s very much interested in this,” the teacher said. “This was all his idea. He and I worked on the letter and sent it in, hoping to get a response by the end of the year.”

In the letter, Bode told Gore what he had learned in class and seen on TV. He wrote that he was particularly concerned about kids in impoverished countries like Kenya. Higher temperatures in those countries are causing crops to fail, making it even harder for youngsters to find food and water.

“It really makes me sad that other countries have to suffer for other people’s mistakes,” the student explained. “I told him that I’m doing all in my power to recycle and tell all my friends and my family about global warming. It just needs to stop now because countries are suffering.”

The student had to wait patiently, but come February he received a response. In a letter, Gore congratulated him for his efforts and emphasized that young people have the most important role to play in the fight against global warming.

“I was really happy, and my parents were really proud of me,” Crowe said.

Bode said Crowe’s ambition and the letter from Gore have inspired the class to continue its research. Students now regularly bring in news stories about the effects of global warming and what different groups of people are doing about it.

And Crowe and his classmates are taking the effort into their own hands.

As part of their class project, they are planning to start emulating an energy-saving habit currently practiced by a group of Kentwood High School students. Bode said Kentwood students turn off all their lights for an hour every night, and she is going to ask that her students do the same.

“It’s as easy as flipping a few switches, and it saves energy,” the teacher said.

The class is also collecting recycled materials from home to bring in and build what will be the visual part of the science project. They will use the materials to build an environmentally friendly city. It will be called “Evergreen.”

“I think this is all very important for the kids to be learning,” Bode said. “This is so current. It’s in everyone’s face. This is heightening their awareness about something that’s going to affect them when they’re older.”

She said the class project has snowballed into something much bigger than when it started, and Crowe’s letter was key to getting it all going.

“The one thing that spurred us to keep going with this is Jordan’s letter,” Bode said. “That was crucial.”

Contact Daniel Mooney at 253-437-6012 or dmooney@reporternewspapers.com.

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