“In the bottom of an old pond lived some grubs who could not understand why none of their group ever came back after crawling up the lily stems to the top of the water. They promised each other that the next one who was called to make the upward climb would return and tell what had happened to him.
Soon one of them felt an urgent impulse to seek the surface; he rested himself on the top of a lily pad and went through a glorious transformation which made him a dragonfly with beautiful wings. In vain he tried to keep his promise. Flying back and forth over the pond, he peered down at his friends below.
Then he realized that even if they could see him they would not recognize such a radiant creature as one of their number. The fact that we cannot see our friends or communicate with them after the transformation which we call death is no proof that they cease to exist.”
The Dragonfly Story
By Walter Dudley Cavert
Do you know the feeling when you walk into a room and there’s that one person who fills up the place with his or her energy?
That person who everyone is drawn to and no matter what they are talking about, their thoughts and passions are contagious to the point that you want to meet them and become involved?
That’s my friend Hudson Lowe.
I met Hudson in Downtown Miami in 2015 at Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Reality training. We, along with about 1,000 people from all over the world, spent three glorious days together studying the science of climate change with many of the planet’s leading experts. At the time I was a 15 year old Sophomore in High School and Hudson a Freshman at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.
Immediately I could tell Hudson was a difference maker. Someone who would change the world. As Lin Manuel Miranda writes about Alexander Hamilton in his perfect play, Hamilton, ‘The man was non-stop’.
One idea after another came out of Hudson from the minute I met him and did not stop during the three days we spent together. Honestly, I’d never met anyone like him. He was smart and interesting and while I am often reserved and quiet, he was outgoing and instantly drew a large crowd of other young people to him that created a group that during those three days were inseparable. Together we knew we would change the world and it was obvious that Hudson would help lead the way.
I found Hudson to be fun and funny while also being serious and concerned at the exact same time. He also made it clear how much he loved music and so it did not surprise me when in the midst of talking about the serious impacts of climate change to our future that he announced to me “Let’s make a rap video about climate change together’. In honor of Hudson and the fun we had here’s our quick creation;
His enthusiasm and concern for climate change aside, I was impressed by how much my new friend had accomplished at such a young age. To call his accomplishments impressive is an understatement. In High School he’d founded the Ocoee Green Initiative which not only had an impact on his community but led to his school being honored by the Green School Recognition program. He’d traveled to Iceland as part of the Green Program, a student sustainability project and, like me, he knew that solar power should be installed everywhere so it was no surprise that while still in High School he made a presentation to the Orange County School Board to ask them to install solar panels on area schools. And he told me how he’d place stickers on the light switches all over his school, and pretty much anywhere else, reminding people to turn off the lights while instilling sustainability into their minds and lives.
And just like the work I do with The Sink or Swim Project, Hudson told me about how much he loved lecturing at elementary schools and educating children about climate change. As you can imagine, meeting someone my age that was doing the same type of work I was doing made a significant impression on me and gave me hope that I was not alone. In Hudson I knew that our generation had another soldier, a leader, to help spread the word and to demand the changes our society needs.
In college as an engineering student his interests and passions only grew. He joined FAU’s Mission Green Association program, its Ideas for Us, traveled to Vietnam and Hong Kong as part of a global leadership program, and even found time to intern at the Palm Beach County Department of Environmental Resources Management. Taking rigorous classes in a challenging major would be plenty for most students, but not Hudson. He was out to change the world and was doing it with great gusto.
Over the years since we met in 2015 I’ve thought a lot about Hudson, about his passion to be involved in so many different and important initiatives and how he inspired everyone he met. And I’ve especially thought about him nearly every day since learning of his passing late this summer, knowing he died at a far too young an age, yet had an impact that will last a lifetime and beyond.
Over the last few months I’ve tried hard to find the words to express both my sorrow over his loss and my appreciation for his friendship but Thanksgiving strikes me as a good time to thank Hudson for who he is and always will be in my mind and heart. It’s also what Hudson would want, to have me and all who knew him to “Fall Forward“.
And so to his dad Randy, mom Chris, and sisters Dakota and Delaney, thank you for raising such a fine young difference maker and leader. The world needs more Hudson Lowe’s to solve our climate crisis, to lead the way in treating people with kindness and to inspire our generation to be actively involved in making this place we call home, our planet, a better place.
To Hudson and the Lowe family, and to everyone else, Happy Thanksgiving.
To learn more about my friend Hudson Lowe and his lasting legacy, please visit the organization founded in his honor: www.ourgreenfuture.org, as well as follow them on instagram: www.instagram.com/fall_forward_.