News / USA

Saving the World, One Patch at a Time

Climate quilt gives children a voice in fighting for the environment

Children worldwide designed 'pledge patches,' depicting how they promise to work on environmental stewardship.
Children worldwide designed 'pledge patches,' depicting how they promise to work on environmental stewardship.

Multimedia

Audio
Faiza Elmasry

The world's children are joining the fight against climate change.

And they're doing it one fabric swatch at a time through an international initiative called the Climate Quilt Campaign, which encourages young people everywhere to help protect the environment.

Using recycled materials, children in the United States, Australia, China, New Zealand, Britain, the Philippines, South Africa and many other countries, designed "pledge patches," depicting how they promised to work on environmental stewardship. Last month, thousands of patches arrived in a small town in Pennsylvania where volunteers gathered to sew them together into a huge quilt.

Blanket protection

Steve's Sewing and Vacuum Center is a family-run store in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. It sells vacuums and sewing machines and all kinds of fabrics.

When Steve Chubin and his wife, Karen, opened their store almost 20 years ago, they dreamed of a place where their neighbors could gather, not just to buy fabric and thread, but to socialize and learn crafts like quilting and embroidery. That's exactly what Steve's is today.

Last September, Karen Chubin was watching TV when she saw a story about the Climate Quilt Campaign. She liked the connection between conservation and quilting.

Old-fashioned recycling

"Quilting is actually one of the best and most old-fashioned ways of recycling," she says. "Old fabrics, that's what a quilt is made of, any type of material and sewn together."

In the television report, Karen listened to the campaign's spokeswoman describe the global initiative.

"She was talking about the event, how to help children write pledges on fabrics or old T-shirts or anything that's recycled," she recalls. "They write their pledge of how they keep the environment safe."

Store co-owner Karen Chubin says she liked the concept behind the Climate Quilt Campaign and wanted to be part of it.
Store co-owner Karen Chubin says she liked the concept behind the Climate Quilt Campaign and wanted to be part of it.

And she talked about how they were looking for volunteers to sew the pledge patches together into a quilt. Karen wanted Steve's to be a part of the effort. Campaign spokesperson Lisa Kemmerer says they were happy to accept her offer of help.

Joining the effort

"I told her how many patches we had — 2,500 in the U.S. alone, and then 5,000 internationally," Kemmerer says. "She said they would love to have a day here where they can donate their equipment, and have volunteers come in and sew it all together and get this really done for us, because we're a small not-for-profit campaign and we don't have a big budget."

Store co-owner Steve Chubin says he was amazed at the positive response they got from the community when they asked their customers to help out.

Local quilters volunteered to sew thousands of patches together into a huge quilt.
Local quilters volunteered to sew thousands of patches together into a huge quilt.

"We e-mailed people about what was going on here this weekend a couple of weeks ago," Steve says."And customers called us back saying 'that's nice to see that you're involved, and to know you're helping the earth and being green.'"

Phyllis Smith got one of those e-mails, liked the idea and decided to volunteer.

"I'm sewing together the beautiful strips that the kids have made," she says. "They are fantastic. You read them and go, 'aw,' and you read another one and you go, 'wow.' We're supposed to be sewing and we can't sew for reading them — how great they are!"

Young quilters

Many local students also came in to help. Five-year-old Dylan worked with his classmates on a small quilt. "We all made different pledges and we wrote our ages and our names," he says. "Our quilt is right there. I did it all by myself."

Dylan pledged to use less water when washing his hands. Fourteen-year-old Rachel and her younger brother, Jacob, had other ideas.

"A lot of people probably waste a lot of food and if they just save their food, like leftovers and stuff, it would probably help a lot," says Rachel.

Pennsylvania students create quilt patches bearing their pledges to save the environment.
Pennsylvania students create quilt patches bearing their pledges to save the environment.

"My pledge was to help the environment and help pick up the trash and to stop polluting," Jacob says.

Eleven-year-old Patrick says the climate quilt project was a chance for him to learn and express his creativity.

"I learned that recycling is important," Patrick says. "And you should do it every day when you get an opportunity. I put stickers down and drew some smiley faces to reflect my personality."

Shauna Munshower's four children made patches for the Climate Quilt. She says the project was a fun learning experience for them.

"By doing this it makes them start to think about the way they behave and the way they are treating the environment and hopefully they realize to cut down on energy usage and conserve water," she says. "Small things like that and spread it around by their example. It will be also good if they got interested in quilting and sewing. That would be nice, I would like that."

Spreading the word

The Climate Quilt campaign empowers kids, says Steve's store manager Liz Badell, a quilter and campaign volunteer.

"I guess it's just important that they feel that they can affect change, that they can be a part of something and see how it makes a difference to them and the world," Badell says.

That's the ultimate goal of the Climate Quilt and future campaigns, says Kemmerer.

"After this campaign, there are other ways we're going to try to engage students as well," she says. "We will be doing campaigns throughout the year focusing on all different things. So this campaign focused in climate, the next one might focus on endangered animals or recycling school supplies or healthy eating."

The finished quilt, made of 7,500 patches, will be displayed in Washington, D.C. and New York City to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. But kids everywhere can still visit the campaign's website to create their virtual pledge patches — and show how much they care about the environment.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid