Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Sprouts of Hope's Quilt and Bill McKibben

Unveiling Our Quilt on WBUR's show "On Point"

By Maya

On the evening of June 14 the Sprouts of Hope had a remarkable experience. We were asked to join WBUR’s On Point radio host Tom Ashbrook and climate change activist Bill McKibben at a live show they were doing at the Paramount Center in Boston. First Tom and Bill did their hour-long interview for On Point for broadcast the next morning. 

Tom Ashbrook interviews Bill McKibben on WBUR's  "On Point"

As soon as they finished, and in front of the audience of several hundred people who had donated to WBUR to attend this live show, the Sprouts of Hope were invited to come out on stage so that we could present our sustainability quilt to Bill McKibben. He is one of three people who have inspired us because of their environmental work and whose portraits we feature on our quilt.

To the sounds of loud music with African drums, we came on stage carrying our unopened quilt. After Tom introduced us, I said a few words about our quilt project and then we opened it so that Bill — and the audience —could see it. As we did, the audience applauded loudly. I pointed to the bottom of the quilt so Bill could see his portrait; it appears under the words “We are the Sprouts of Hope. These are our inspirations.” His portrait is next to Jane Goodall, known for her groundbreaking study of chimpanzees (and to us as the founder of Roots & Shoots), who is next to Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai, who won the award for the Green Belt Movement she founded in Africa.

This is when we could tell Bill McKibben liked our quilt.

Our Kids For Stopping Global Warming, April 14, 2007
Tom asked us questions about why we made the quilt and our goals for how it will be used. He wanted to know why we decided to put Bill our quilt? We first came to know about Bill’s efforts to engage people in doing something to halt global warming when we were in elementary school and he did his Step It Up campaign on April 14, 2007. The Sprouts organized a kids’ march to fight global warming on this National Day of Climate Action. A lot of kids and families joined us to march from MIT to the Boston Common rally where we heard speakers and we were interviewed about our march. 

The Step It Up campaign truly got us into the mindset that kids do make a difference when they get involved in these issues.

During the On Point interview that night we learned about McKibben’s on-going work with his organization He chose that number because 350 parts per million is the level of CO2 in the atmosphere that we have to get down to in order to preserve the planet. However, there are currently about 392 parts per million of CO2. Tom also talked with him about efforts to stop the Keystone pipeline. 

The Sprouts of Hope's Business Card
The audience seemed to love our quilt —judging by the loud sustained applause they gave us when we opened it to show Bill. He also seemed quite pleased with it and liked having his portrait on it.  Backstage, we with him talked and gave him a Sprouts of Hope card so we can stay in contact. We’d like to work with him on his campaign.

My mom sent him photographs of our time together, and here is what he wrote back:

These are so lovely. Would you please tell the girls that I saw Jane G. in Istanbul on Tuesday and told her all about our evening, and she sent her love. (She even let me give my talk there with her stuffed monkey on the podium!)

p.s. Just tweeted out a link to the Sprouts’ blog —people deserve to know about the great work you are doing.

The whole experience was exceedingly fun. Hopefully this quilt will serve as a vision of what sustainability looks like in a city like Cambridge, and encourage kids and adults to act in ways that make our hometown — and other communities — more sustainable places to live. 

Tom Ashbrook (left), The Sprouts of Hope and our quilt and Bill McKibben at the live WBUR "On Point" event on June 14, 2012.