As part of election coverage at The Park School in Brookline, MA, fifth graders completed an online survey hosted by author Susan Goodman. In their survey answers, the kids expressed concern about taxes, jobs, immigration, and health care. More than anything else, these kids want the Obama Administration to help the environment.
According to Goodman's survey of 1,594 2nd to 9th graders, global warming is "the most important [problem] for our new president to work on." (Iraq, then Health Care are second and third.) Environmental issues, more than any other, are where children can be part of the answer. Kids and young adults can be a part of the green change that is sweeping the country.
What interests me is how many young people in 2009 are working to help the environment. And most of those who are not actively greening their schools and communities usually express concern about the issues of global warming and related topics. Yes, this is encouraging, but there isn't time to wait for their generation to fix our climate. It's up to us. Now. But perhaps these green kids will help get us to action. Perhaps Malia and Sasha will remind their father on occasion to "Cut back on the bottled water, Dad, use both sides of the paper, and stand up for the trees when you go to work today."
The final survey question asks, "What message would you like to give our next president?" Below are the responses from twelve fifth graders at The Park School. These 10- and 11-year-olds deserve to be taken seriously. Their passion and caring are already being put to good use for a variety of causes in schools. They save water, compost, turn off lights, and learn to value nature. Kids run recycling programs and cancel catalogs to save trees. Children across the country in thousands of schools want to help through meaningful and effective service.
Perhaps the concerns of the student messages below will finally be heard at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue over the next four years. At the very least, we have a president with two daughters who presumably share similar views for their world. As our new President jumps into his busy job let's hope Malia and Sasha have their daddy's ear and keep him on the green track.
Dear Mr. President,
I'm writing to you so you can hear a kid's point of view. Lots of people care about global warming. I think if you could find a way to let people know that you care about our environment, you could set a good example. I bet you could make lots of people bike to places or recycle, or even use less electricity. - Elise
To start off, I want to say this is a serious letter. Don't read this letter thinking that I'm just a puny 5th grader in Massachusetts whose opinion doesn't matter, because I know it does. And if a little President's helper is reading this, give it to the President. - Harry
I would like you to be friendly to other countries and save our environment. - Stephanie
If global warming is not decreased it will become extremely dangerous. Many polar bears are dying. - Henry
I think you should pay attention to global warming. Why? Because global warming is happening on our planet Earth where both you and I live. - Erin
You should donate money to save the rain forest charities and recycle charities. People are out there trying to have a voice and say in what's going on in the global warming, but nobody listens. But you have a voice in this, you can do a lot. - Eliza
You can make cars that go by sunlight, like solar cars! - Yoojin
No school on Fridays. Less homework. Stop the war. Stop global warming. - Ben
You could spend money on trying to find more green stuff like extremely fuel efficient vehicles. - Eliza
If you don't take my advice many children will be mad at you! So would you want the children of the U.S.A. thinking they are living in a horrible place or would you want them to be happy? - Jameson
I hope you understand I'm not demanding you to do these, I'm asking you. I want you to try to think about global warming. We all don't want the water levels to rise. - Anna
I simply hope that you can solve the problems of the world, and make it a better place for everyone. - Warren
Congratulations President Obama! We wish you and your family the best!
- The Park School Fifth Grade
If any children you know would like to add to this list of suggestions for President Obama, please help them post a comment below.