Category Archives: 2015

Fall Forward

“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:, as well as follow them on instagram:

Thermometers & Stopwatches

unnamedI do not think much about thermometers, nor need to, because it seems that the temperature is all around me every day. It is on my phone, on television, in the newspaper. Heck, it is even on the signs in front of several banks near where I live and go to school, although I am not sure why it is always banks that seem to display the temperature.

Even though these devices and their displays are ubiquitous in our daily lives, I think that understanding a small bit about thermometers as a scientific measuring device is important to all of us to understand what is happening, what is changing all around us right now. We see it, feel it, sense it but it is increasingly important that we understand it because this fairly simple and old device, the thermometer, is quietly defining a growing catastrophe that our planet and places like South Florida face.

The thermometer’s development evolved over time with early and important contributions coming from Galileo and Sir Isaac Newton until Daniel Fahrenheit created a temperature scale in 1724 that led to the device that is universally used today. By 1880 thermometers were being widely used to measure atmospheric temperature on a daily basis all over earth and the use of those measurements continues to this day. In fact, worldwide about 6,300 meteorological stations collect publically available data that scientists assemble as part of their monthly analysis.

So what does my iPhone’s weather app, our local bank’s sign and the thermometer have to do with anything? A lot, actually. Scientists all over the planet used these devices to determine that 2014 was the warmest year in 135 years of recorded, historical data. That is, until scientists announced that temperatures in 2015 were even warmer and had broken the ‘old’ record from just a year earlier.

image010And now comes yesterday’s report that the Earth Sciences Division of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) published yesterday and in doing so announced that July 2016 was the warmest single month in the 136 year history of recorded data (since 1880 when records began to be kept). This news is yet further evidence that our climate is, in fact, changing and that the change continues to be a warmer and warmer planet. In fact, in announcing the July results, NASA predicted that 2016 will become the warmest year in recorded history, breaking the ‘old’ record of 2015. As NASA’s GISS Director Gavin Schmidt explained; “It appears almost a certainty that 2016 also will be the warmest year on record.”

Now, we can debate the cause (it cannot be a coincidence that the world industrialized between the mid 1700’s and mid-1800’s, going from hand/man operated devices to machines, along with the creation of factories [all of which were, and most of which remain, powered by fossil fuel burning technologies such as gas and coal], and temperatures and carbon in our atmosphere have done nothing but rise ever since), but we need not talk about any of that. The science, and thermometers, say it all. July, I have learned, is historically always earth’s warmest month. Until last month, July 2016, the record for the single hottest month on earth had been, you guessed it, July of 2015, just last year. By NASA’s calculations, July 2016 was 1.51 degrees Fahrenheit (0.84 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 1950-1980 global average. That might not seem like much but over such a short time frame that increase is disastrous.

And the scary thing, to use a phrase climate scientist Chris Field uses, is that July 2016 was not only the hottest month in recorded history but marks the 10th month in a row that earth has set a new record, according to NASA.

The scary thing is that we are moving into an era where it will be a surprise when each new month or year isn’t one of the hottest on record,” said Chris Field, a climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution and Stanford University.

This new record and all the records that have been broken in recent years tell one cohesive story, said Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies: “The planet is getting warmer. It’s important for what it tells us about the future.”

So what do these warming trends and records mean to you and me and why should we care? What the thermometer is telling us, 6,300 of them worldwide being analyzed by leading scientist all over the planet every month, is that the warmer earth becomes, the more glacial ice will melt in Greenland and Antarctica and the more that the ice melts the more water is placed into our oceans that then causes our sea levels to rise and rise.

unnamedIn South Florida those rising seas threaten the very existence of places like Miami Beach, the Florida Keys and the Everglades. In my lifetime the damage is about to become catastrophic if mankind does not act and change our reliance on fossil fuels. And that reality, along with the indisputable science, reminds me of another measuring device (in this case one invented in 1821), the stop watch. Folks, the stop watch clock of time for us to address our warming planet is ticking down and we all must act now before it’s too late. Time is, so says the science, running out.

To learn more about NASA GISS’ monthly temperature analysis, visit: and to learn about the NASA GISS, visit: Please also visit The Sink or Swim Project’s Home Page ( for the latest news from NASA and their daily news feed (