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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid