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

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' 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.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs