Grandmothers Sew Quilt for Earth Day 2022

Thirty-two women contributed fabric art to create the “Roots of Resilience” quilt. The quilt was assembled by a small team of Grandmothers in old fashioned quilting bee style.  The result will be on display in the Arlington Theatre courtyard on Earth Day, Saturday, April 23, 2022.

To really admit climate–to really, really admit that you understand what is happening to the planet–it will break your heart.

If you don’t cry deep, hard tears for the state of this planet and all of the people on it, you don’t yet understand the problem.

And once you get to that place, the only thing that can bring you out of that kind of darkness is belief in something greater than yourself.

And for me, it is that spiritual connection. For me, it is understanding a greater purpose.

And then your job becomes less about passing a piece of legislation and more about making a better world.

Colette Pichon Battle: “Placed Here, In This Calling”

– From On Being with Krista Tippett

The Society of Fearless Grandmothers-Santa Barbara is a group of calm, peace-loving, courageous older women who understand that the time to stand up for current and future generations is NOW. We have been inspired by the writings of Paul Hawken, Joanna Macy, and many others who are committed to making a better world, recognizing that the climate crisis requires dramatic change in all aspects of our current existence.

The antidote to despair is Action! Over the past 2 years, the Grandmothers have organized covid-safe demonstrations, including shoe strikes and marches, letter writing and social media campaigns to raise awareness of the urgent need for action to address the climate crisis.

Earlier this year, some of the Grandmothers screened the Emmanuel Cappellin film “Once You Know,” which explores our capacity to come together, looking to one another for support to confront the challenges of the devastating climate changes that have already begun.  In France, attendees who watched the film in theaters received a large, beautiful poster describing the “Roots of Resilience” that either exist or need to be developed in that country.

Our French-speaking Grandmothers kindly translated the poster text and we immediately realized that the resilience concepts on the poster were identical to the themes of the climate justice books and articles we have been reading: PROTECT what remains of Earth’s ecosystems, BUILD healthy functioning societies conscious of the limits of our finite planet, and REGENERATE, putting life at the center of all our actions.  pastedGraphic.png

The poster was a dramatic illustration of our vision for the future world where our grandchildren can thrive and we wanted to share it with our Santa Barbara community. But simply translating the French poster would not be helpful for audiences in the U.S., due to differences in our cultures and institutions.

Fortunately, one of our super-artistic Grandmothers imagined a quilt, based on the traditional “tree of life” design, made by elder women, to share these concepts with our community. The ideas on the quilt illustrate the broad scope of actions needed and the diversity of talents required to accomplish these tasks. Everyone can play a role and contribute to the whole.

The ROOTS of the tree include “Resistance,” “Regulation,” “Cooperation,” “Adaptation,” “Localization” and “Conservation.” The BRANCHES include “Stop Destruction,” “Reduce Waste,” “Increase Resilience,” “Change Laws & Policies,” “Build Sustainable Systems,” “Build Community,” and “Educate,” “Heal” and “Inspire.”  There are 88 LEAVES describing actions that can build a better world for our grandchildren and all living creatures on Earth.

We hope that the words on the roots, branches and leaves of the tree quilt will spark conversations about how our Santa Barbara community can come together to support each other, adapt to the coming changes and develop resilience in the face of the climate crisis.