Jordan Martin, Recycling Queen
“I usually like big responsibilities,” says nine-year-old Jordan Martin of running for secretary of her elementary school, located outside Washington D.C. Although Jordan’s school claimed to be “green,” Jordan had discovered in second grade something disturbing: her school didn’t recycle. When she ran for secretary, Jordan decided on the campaign theme, “Recycle Startin’ with Martin,” and she shared with her classmates her vision to make the school more environmentally friendly.
“Our teachers didn’t even have recycling bins in their classrooms,” Jordan says. “You’re supposed to reduce, recycle, and reuse in our country, so I thought, why not help everyone at my school get into the habit of doing that?” Even though Jordan didn’t win the election, she did become a class representative and decided she would put recycling into action anyway.
Jordan went to the school art director to discuss a plan to have every classroom decorate their own class recycling bin. She met with the maintenance crew to make a plan to get a huge recycling bin for outside and to get the trash company to pick it up once a week. And she helped start Green Club, which monitors the recycling program.
Living green is nothing new for Jordan. After all, her dad is a special agent for the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington D.C. His job is to protect the environment by enforcing the country’s environmental laws. “I felt like if I didn’t start this, then nobody would and we’d all just keep throwing our recyclables into the trash,” said Jordan. “That wasn’t okay with me.”
At home, Jordan makes sure her entire family lives green by recycling everything they can, composting any leftover fruits and vegetables, and gardening (and eating their tasty homegrown foods). “We’re big recyclers at my house,” says Jordan. “It’s easy to do and it helps the earth. And I don’t think anybody really wants more trees to be cut down.”
At school, you can often find Jordan riding around on a John Deere Gator collecting recycling bins and emptying them in the outside container. She keeps busy with her class representative responsibilities and Green Club meetings every Friday. And she’s always looking for new ways to recycle at school, like creating additional bins for the art room for all the paper scraps and other leftover art materials.
“I hope I can get every single person in my school to recycle everywhere they go,” says Jordan. “Our environment will not stay clean if we don’t.”
How can you be more green like Jordan? Visit the National Geographic website for great green tips. Join the EPA’s Environmental Kids Club. Or talk to your teacher or principal about ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle at your school.