The Climate Ribbon at #GetOrganizedBK

Huge shout out to Caron Atlas, Arts & Democracy, for bringing the Climate Ribbon to Brooklyn! The #GetOrganizedBK Civic Festival took place on July 25 from 5-8pm at the Prospect Park Bandshell. The festival celebrated the great work being done by local community members and organizations. Around 1,500 Brooklynites were in attendance, and the Climate Ribbon was a moving part of the tabling activities. Councilmember Brad Lander, Advocate Letitia James, NY State Assembly members Robert Carroll and Jo Anne Simon made ribbons alongside many Brooklynites. Thanks Assemblyman Carroll for tweeting about the Climate Ribbon and thank you Councilmember Lander for posting about it on facebook! And thanks to Raquel de Anda for volunteering to help bring the Ribbon to Brooklyn! 

Thanks #GetOrganizedBK and thank you Caron!

 

Climate Ribbon at Native Plants & Prairies Day in North Texas

Climate Ribbon at Native Plants & Prairies Day in North Texas

Big thanks to the North Texas Master Naturalists who brought the Climate Ribbon to the Native Plants & Prairies Day in May, which they host annually at the Bath House Cultural Center grounds at White Rock Lake in Dallas. This free, family-oriented community event focused on Texas native plants and animals, and created time to celebrate the role the prairie played in Texas history. According to Ethel Stephens, a member of the North Texas Master Naturalists, a group of Aztec Dancers spoke about honoring nature, and there were over 30 booths showcasing animals, birds, bugs, snakes, and plants, and several guided walks around the lake led by experts focusing on trees, edible plants, healing remedies, wildflowers.

Ethel wrote to us:  

“The inclusion of the Climate Ribbon Tree was a wonderful and touching addition to the event.  During the day, as ribbons were added, the tree became a visually stunning reminder of our commitment to fight climate change, and at the end of the day, we had a beautiful symbol of hope.”

She continued:

“I can’t tell you how many people said to me that climate change is the #1 issue in our country right now, and they appreciated that we were addressing it. I was so touched by how seriously people took this. You could see how they were really thinking about what they wanted to write.  And I almost cried every time parents would speak so sweetly to their kids about it. I was humbled and honored to be a part of this.”

There were so many beautiful messages written on the ribbons, some of them are listed below:

  • I love lush...the joy and feeling of life around me in nature with a real connection

  • I love you owl

  • I will miss cool winter mornings, changing wildlife and insects and the pleasure a change of seasons bring

  • Want to see a coral reef and all the fishes - I still want to see a glacier

  • Wildlife, birds, trees, flowers, my sanity, soil, recreation, walks by the lake, my joy

  • Would be sad to never see a hummingbird. Please love the Earth.

  • I will miss the opportunity for my grandson to enjoy nature as I knew it.

  • Cocoa beans for chocolate!!!

  • The breeze, the clouds, sunsets and all the wildlife

  • White Rock Lake, trees in front yard, cat, water, whales, Arctic fox, oceans, vegetables

  • The dogwoods at Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center, monarchs, Mississippi kites, horn frogs

  • Bees and frogs and water and trees and turtles and flowers and good dirt and fish and grass and food and breath

  • The tender spring leaf reflecting life in the temperate lake!

  • Wildlife, birds, trees, flowers, my sanity, soil, recreation, walks by the lake, my joy

  • Wetlands, freshwater, sea turtles

People's Climate March in DC

People's Climate March in DC

Aerial image of the Climate Ribbon pathway at the People’s Climate March, taken by a camera on a kite.

Aerial image of the Climate Ribbon pathway at the People’s Climate March, taken by a camera on a kite.

Hi! I’m Andy Wanning, newest core member of the Climate Ribbon team. On Saturday, April 29, I traveled with other Climate Ribbon folks to Washington DC for the People’s Climate March – and it was a bigger success than we could’ve imagined!  We constructed a beautiful arched pathway of ribbons beside the cherry tree grove on the Mall, facing the stage where the post-march rally would be held, and waited for marchers to arrive.

As marchers arrived, they were drawn to the colorful ribbons fluttering in the breeze; thousands gathered to reckon with the biggest existential threat that humanity has ever faced, and share their stories of love and loss. Marchers tied their ribbons onto the “tunnel of ribbons,” and when they saw a ribbon that particularly moved them, they untied it and took it with them, becoming the guardian of another person’s story and fueling their own commitment to use their precious time on Earth to fight against the forces causing climate change.
 
A 7-year old girl from South Dakota wrote, simply, “Our river.” A middle-aged man from Maine wrote, “Confidence in the cycle of seasons.” Three women from Naples, FL held up a ribbon that had moved them, declaring, “We’re taking this one home and it will be the start of the climate ribbon at our church.” 

Later in the day, an MSNBC film crew showed up and shot a live segment with project co-creator Andrew Boyd. An hour later, a super-enthusiastic college student showed up to volunteer, saying “I just saw your ribbon project on TV and had to come help!”

The Climate Ribbon was founded at the first People’s Climate March in September 2014; we are deeply grateful to have had the opportunity to display it again at this follow-up March. We give a huge thanks to our volunteers — Cindi, Nadine, Jonah, and especially Mark; we could not have done this without you.

Please check out the great photos below!

By the way, you can create a Climate Ribbon - small or big - in your community by downloading our NEW 1-page DIY Guide.  And if you are enthusiastic about the potential for this project to affect changes in people’s consciousness, please donate to keep it going and showing up in movement moments. Feel free to email us anytime with your questions or to share your story at climateribbon@gmail.com. Here’s to connecting with each other and keeping up the fight!

A woman ties her ribbon onto the Climate Ribbon.   

A woman ties her ribbon onto the Climate Ribbon. 

 

Families and children interacted with the Climate Ribbon all day.   

Families and children interacted with the Climate Ribbon all day. 

 

Marchers shared their own stories at our ribbon-making table.   

Marchers shared their own stories at our ribbon-making table. 

 

Marchers shared their own stories at our ribbon-making table.   

Marchers shared their own stories at our ribbon-making table. 

 

Ribbons fluttering in the wind, stories traveling the globe. Photo from the official People’s Climate March album

Ribbons fluttering in the wind, stories traveling the globe. Photo from the official People’s Climate March album

A new look for the Climate Ribbon at the Climate & Energy Funders Group Meeting

A new look for the Climate Ribbon at the Climate & Energy Funders Group Meeting

The Climate Ribbon was invited to the 2017 Climate & Energy Funders Group meeting in San Francisco, April 13-14, and our interactive ribbon sculpture greeted participants on arrival with an opportunity to feel into what they personally stand to lose to climate chaos,. Space and time constraints got us to innovate a new design for the ribbon, one you can easily make for your next event. We used a tri-fold screen as a base, weighted it with sandbags covered in natural-toned fabrics (remnants), and tied strings between the edges of the screen to use as the lines for the ribbons. 

The Climate Ribbon Tree as a folding screen shape, and the accompanying table for people to make their own ribbons to add.   

The Climate Ribbon Tree as a folding screen shape, and the accompanying table for people to make their own ribbons to add. 

 

Climate Ribbon co-creator Kate McNeely screws in hooks to tie string between the hinges of the folding screen.  Want to bring this design to your community? Email us (climateribbon [at] gmail [dot] com) if you have questions on how to build it, or if you would like us to ship this installation to you to use at your event, faith institution, school, or community!   

Climate Ribbon co-creator Kate McNeely screws in hooks to tie string between the hinges of the folding screen. 

Want to bring this design to your community? Email us (climateribbon [at] gmail [dot] com) if you have questions on how to build it, or if you would like us to ship this installation to you to use at your event, faith institution, school, or community! 

 

Ribbons in Marrakech: Dispatch from the COP 22, November 4-13

by Rae Abileah

I arrived in Marrakech with bundles of climate ribbons carrying messages of loss and hope from all over the world. I was there for the COP 22 (official name: the 22
nd Council of Parties), where last year’s historic Paris Accord would be hammered into concrete commitments to stop renegade climate chaos. Four days after my arrival, in the middle of negotiations, the US electoral map turned blood red before our eyes. What now? Our President-elect was a serial climate-denier who had also  signed a letter with the business community acknowledging climate change as a very real and present threat. How could negotiations move forward with the US delegation now under such a cloud of uncertainty?

And at such a huge moment of grief, how could I imagine proceeding with our puny little Climate Ribbon ritual? Then I remembered that we created this ritual because of the need to grieve, not in spite of it. And so, despite wanting to curl up in bed morning after morning, I arose, and found ways to weave the Climate Ribbon into the Marrakech summit. Here are some snapshots from what became a surprisingly moving adventure.

 

The Climate Ribbon was featured at the Conference of Youth (COY) for the second year in a row. Before I could even finish setting up the lines of ribbon that we’d gathered at the Paris COY, students were already clustering around our table, clamoring to make ribbons. There is something irresistible about this project. Moroccan student groups from Casablanca, Agadir, and Marrakech made ribbons and strung them up as a group, exchanging ribbons and speaking aloud their stories. Organizers with the Moroccan chapter of Surfrider added their stories of love for the ocean. “The joy of sharing a smile with a stranger,” wrote 18 year old Marakshi student Mourad. “Espero que nunca perdamos nuestra paz, nuestra naturaleza, y que podemos agradecer a nuestro planeta por todo lo que nos da juntos [I hope that we never lose our peace, our nature, and that we are able to be grateful for our planet and all that it gives us.]” wrote one student from Argentina. Each ribbon told a unique and moving story: “I want to protect the future of my children and their children and the future of the earth” “Fresh air, trees, water, forests, bees, birds, nature, peace, space, liberty, possibility, justice, wildness…”

 

On the Saturday after the election, a 100-person-strong flash mob erupted in Jemaa el-Fna, in the heart of Marrakech calling for a 100% renewable future. At the rehearsal leading up to the action, I’d invited dancers to write on a ribbon a variation of the central Climate Ribbon question - “What do you love and hope to never lose to climate change?,” which was: “What are you dancing for?” During the flash mob, dancers raised their right hands into the sky to metaphorically point into the future, the bright yellow and orange ribbons shimmered in the sunlight: the collective answer: We are dancing for a world powered by the sun, not oil.

On Tuesday, I was invited to facilitate the ribbon ritual as part of the Episcopal Church’s daily meditation and prayer space inside the COP 22 green zone. Dozens of people flocked to the space to make, exchange, and read ribbons. Several student groups promised to start a Ribbon Tree on their campuses. I read aloud a ribbon from Hamid, who wrote, “I don’t want to lose beautiful nature because of shortage of rain in my home, Palestine. We have to fight against CO2 emissions and burning coal for power, and replace it with solar energy.” We closed the ritual with a reading on the day’s theme, sorrow, from Christian liturgy:

The holiness of lament... draws us into communion with all life. Today, how can we still our minds to meet our sadness with open hearts, courageously and faithfully venturing into the darkness before us?

We are now talking with several denominations about how to integrate the Climate Ribbon ritual into Sunday school activities, and make it a meaningful part of religious school curriculums across the world.

Throughout all these activities, I was reminded how the Climate Ribbon is a ritual of grief and loss, but also a ritual to reaffirm our hope and the possibility of renewal. A Berber activist shared with me that his family in the Atlas Mountains above Marrakech tie swaths of fabric to trees as a prayer for new mothers. In a similar fashion, could our Climate Ribbons help not just be present to hospice the rich diversity of life we are losing, but also painfully midwife into existence a new regenerative society, that plays well with nature and makes a home for all?

And how did negotiations move forward after the US election? US businesses urged Trump to stay the course with the global climate deal. Independent of the federal government, California, and other future-minded states and municipalities are moving forward with huge plans for transitioning to renewable energy. It’s helpful to remember that the US isn’t at the center of the world (though it may fancy itself as such). With or without Trump, the world is moving forward to solve the climate crisis. The Africa Renewable Energy Initiative could leapfrog the continent into renewables much as cell phones did for communications, skipping landlines altogether. But while some countries made meaningful financial commitments, there was nowhere near enough commitment made from rich countries to poorer nations.

IMG_5888.JPG

During the final week of the COP22, Climate Action Network hosted an historic event that brought together governments, corporations, and organizations to advance a 100% renewable energy future, and a video of the flashmob was the finale of that event, sending a strong message to diplomats and CEOs that artists and cultural workers are also integral to this transformation.

One of my main takeaways from this (long, painful) election season, is about the power of story, myth-making, and cultural shift. For too long Democrats and “the left” have relied on facts and logic to try to win over voters. When was the last time you changed your mind about a big political issue because of rational reasoning? For many of us, it’s art, music, theater, novels, the stories our friends share, that help shift our thinking. And that’s why we created the Climate Ribbon to begin with – because we recognized the power of heart-centered story, of belonging, of connection, of communion.

Joe Hill said, “Don’t mourn, organize!” But this time around, I’m heartened to see that my fellow activists and friends are taking more of a “Mourn. Then organize!” approach. It will take both strong hearts and purposeful hands to rise to the challenge of the climate crisis and have a fighting chance at a habitable planet.

Donate to help us outreach to faith and organizing communities!
Download the DIY Climate Ribbon toolkit.
Make your own tree - here’s how.

Rae Abileah is a co-creator of the Climate Ribbon project. She lives in Denver, Colorado. @raeabileah

How to build your own (beautiful & affordable) Climate Ribbon Tree

In September, 2016, the Climate Ribbon team was invited to a gathering of climate movers and shakers in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park. People had seen the Tree at the COP21 in Paris and had been deeply moved, and wanted to share it with participants from all over the country who were coming to this event. We decided to use this opportunity to experiment with a different kind of Tree. We wanted it to be beautiful, of course, but also portable, affordable, and easy to install and disassemble — not just for us, but as a model for others to do it in a DIY way going forward.

Look, ma! It only takes 6 seconds! Kate and Rae did it in 6 seconds. And you can too. (Actually, it took about a day.)

Look, ma! It only takes 6 seconds! Kate and Rae did it in 6 seconds. And you can too. (Actually, it took about a day.)

How to build a Climate Ribbon Tree from a garden trellis and natural materials (in 7 easy steps):

SUPPLIES

  • Trellis
  • Tree branches, some with leaves
  • Twine
  • Rocks
  • Ribbons
  • Pens
  • Writing surface/table
  • Clipboards (optional)
  • Table cloth (optional)  

INSTRUCTIONS

Set the base: Buy and assemble a trellis. We found an inexpensive three-leg trellis online (here’s an example). It was metal and a little tacky, but the garden designs disappeared once we added the wood.

Gather natural materials: Reflect on the natural ecosystem around you. What kind of trees grow where you live — redwoods, birch trees, palms? What natural debris can be repurposed without harming living plants? We built our tree sculpture in the fall in the small town of Nederland, Colorado. The Rocky Mountains were afire with crimson and yellow aspens. We scavenged fallen tree trunks and branches from the mountains, and harvested some bright yellow leaves & branches. Our most useful tree trunks and branches were tall and narrow, not too heavy, but capable of covering large swathes of the metal trellis legs.

Build the trunk: Use twine to tie branches onto the legs of the trellis. For elegance, choose a uniform number of times to encircle the branches, or a set height to make ties. You may wish to just cover the outsides of the trellis, or to cover the insides as well.

Tie the top: Tie on smaller branches that have leaves or needles to make the tree top.

Secure the structure: After adding the wood pieces, the trellis will be much heavier. For stability, you can add rocks/small boulders at the base, both inside and out, to make the feet of the trellis base more secure.

Add ribbon lines: Cut string the width of the space between each trellis leg and tie the segments from leg to leg in uniform rows.

Set the table: Set up a table with a basket of blank ribbons, cut to about 18 inches, and pens (Bic or ballpoint work best, not Sharpies). You can add clipboards which make it easier for people to secure ribbons for writing. Make a sign with the Climate Ribbon instructions, something like this:

The Climate Ribbon

What do you love and hope to never lose to climate chaos?

  1. Write your answer, add your name, age, and hometown

  2. Tie your ribbon to the tree

  3. Take someone else’s ribbon

Become the guardian of another person’s story and commit to act for climate justice.

www.theclimateribbon.org

#climateribbon

And then…

Interact: Invite people to make ribbons, tie them to the tree, and take someone else’s ribbon home with them. Or facilitate a ribbon exchange ritual. Download our DIY ritual kit.

Share: Send a photo to share your Climate Ribbon tree story with us. We’d love to share your Tree as a blog post or on our social media. Send your photo or story to climateribbon@gmail.com or @climateribbon.  

Paris Review

Here are our daily updates from the innerworkings of the Climate Ribbon arts and ritual team in Paris during the COP 21, November-December 2015. You can also check out news coverage of the Ribbon Tree at these links: Democracy Now!AJ+ The Irish TimesThe French Ministry of CultureBuzzfeed.

Opening post by LJ Amsterdam, daily updates by Rae Abileah, Andrew Boyd, Kate McNeeley

Before leaving for Paris, I asked many of the young people from my organizing community in upstate NY what they loved and hoped to never lose to climate chaos. Here’s what some of them wrote:

The smell of the grass at dawn after it has rained – David, 21, Kampala, Uganda

Going to my grandpa’s house and taking the canoes through the miles of swamps – Collin, 25, North Adams, MA

My home country and all its history – Matteo, 17,Naples, Italy

As the protector of these ribbons, I wrapped their climate cares to my wrists and carried them in my pockets across the ocean, grounded by the gravity (even as I’m buoyed by the levity) of what they, as young people walking into this world, stand to lose.

They stand to lose their future. I stand to lose them. We are linked together on this mission.

These were just a few of the thousands and thousands of ribbons that made their way to Paris last November and December, as part of the Climate Ribbon effort, a global storytelling project that uses art and ritual to help us move from climate grief to climate action.

Ribbons came from all over the world, in assorted boxes, envelopes, and hand-deliveries. There was the box from a school in Finland, a Priority Mail package from a church in Michigan, a box of hundreds used in a streaming banner in a Seattle march, little envelopes from children and families across three continents. My compatriots on the project, who’d been receiving ribbons for almost a year and half, stuffed thousands of them into air compression bags and packed their knapsacks to the gills to get them through airline security as they flew in from New York. Not to mention the 25,000 blank ribbons that awaited us in Paris. One week before the UN Climate Summit, the COP21, began, the ribbons, and their human caretakers, converged in Paris to build a giant tree, the container for the ribbons and ritual, and to put up Climate Ribbon displays throughout the city.

November 26-28 - The 11th Conference of Youth, Parc des Expositions de Villepinte
by Kate McNeeley

Upon arriving in Paris, the Climate Ribbon’s first installation was at The Conference of Youth (COY 11) – an international gathering of young leaders designed as a counterpoint to the official UN Climate Summit. Rae and Kate installed a low-fi, but high-impact, iteration of a climate ribbon “wall” composed of rope and wire. Located just beyond the entry to the conference, the collection of ribbons invited participants to connect first with their hearts and to ask themselves why they were there, before heading into the various spaces of the conference. COY11 ran 6,000-strong, and by the end of the four-day gathering, the Climate Ribbon wall was adorned with messages from young people from Philippines, Chad, Tahiti, Haiti, and the world over.

Rachel, Walter, and I  met Carl, 14, a young activist from Syria currently living in Orleans, France, who proffered a climate ribbon that highlighted the deep connection between conflict and climate chaos. What Carl loves and is afraid of losing is his home country, because of "all the pollution of the bombs that fall in Syria." For many families in Syria, he explained, the risk comes with every breath: "Syria is a very hot country and it’s cold in the winter… with the bombs there is no electricity and with the pollution the people can't breathe." Carl used his ribbon to make his struggle visible. He told us, "nobody has really written about Syria and maybe in COP they [the UN] will see this and think about Syria too." 

Continue reading the rest of this blog... 

Dispatch #4 : The Story of the Trees in Paris

Dispatch #4 : The Story of the Trees in Paris

We have all returned from Paris and the whirlwind of the holidays. We want to take a moment to thank all of our volunteers, supporters, design team, and media team for the amazing work and brilliance that went into making the project a success and share the story of the trees. 

The Trees

Here is the end result, which was pretty stunning with thousands of ribbons on it.

Here is the end result, which was pretty stunning with thousands of ribbons on it.

There were ultimately 3 trees built. The giant one was about 13 feet high and 20 feet wide.  The two smaller ones were 8' high and used one of our design team member's, John Swain, hanging hoop design. One of which was "planted" in L'Bourget, "Inside" COP21 where the NGOs and politicians met. 

The large tree, which we named "The Tree of Solidarity" was installed twice. First at a giant 2-day festival called "The Village Mondial des Alternatives" put on by the Coaltion Climat 21 and Alternatiba, where thousands of people (including lots of families) participated in writing and hanging ribbons. 

The second spot was for 5 days at the "104 Space" a massive arts epicenter that was the primary organizing launchpad for the final actions on December 12th. It looked amazing in both settings. 

People intently writing and tying ribbons. 

People intently writing and tying ribbons. 

Fabrication Process

Laser-cut mock-up of Tree

Laser-cut mock-up of Tree

Members of our design team  was gracious enough to keep adjusting the 3D model on Paris time (THANKS Mateo!), based upon refinements we were making with the folks there on the ground. 

Here you can see us start to slot the pieces together!

Here you can see us start to slot the pieces together!

The tree was cut out of Poplar, a locally grown sustainable farms in France. It is soft wood and water resistant. It's going to have a long life (see the Epilogue, below). 

Above is the cool artists workshop that we were able to construct it all in.

Above is the cool artists workshop that we were able to construct it all in.

This is how we laid out the pieces before we installed it in 104 space. By the end of our stay (and with some modifications) we were able to assemble the large tree from start to finish in less than 1.5 hours. Pretty fast for something so big and complicated.

Interior "keystone" space capturing a cathedral-like quality. 

Interior "keystone" space capturing a cathedral-like quality. 

Engraving of the central question that the Climate Ribbon Project poses. Placed in both French and English on the front and back steps.

Engraving of the central question that the Climate Ribbon Project poses. Placed in both French and English on the front and back steps.

But in the end, despite the many challenges we faced, it was a great success and the tree's design and aesthetics were a huge part of that.

And it's not over!

The Epilogue: 

The trees are finding new homes. One of the small trees will be with a group "Foresters without Borders" who are planting hundreds of thousands of trees across France and the other remained with our team in Les Lilas as they host ribbon events in 2016.

The large tree was taken to Southern France where a Utopian community has adopted it. Mind you, this is not-your-father's-hippy-dropout-commune. This is a high functioning village with 300 residents, many of whom are expert builders and craftsmen.  They are going to retrofit and weatherproof the tree for permanent installation at the very center of their village.  It is being unveiled early this Spring.

There will be more from the Climate Ribbon team soon, including a full Paris debrief with videos. And if you are in NYC this weekend, please join members of the Climate Ribbon team at the COP 21 Report back at the Mayday Space.

Dispatch #3 : We brought your stories to Paris...

We’re in the 11th hour of the COP negotiations, which by most accounts are not going well. But while negotiators are hashing out humanity’s future with a generous helping of corporate-friendly policies, a sprawling civil society mobilization is underway with different plans: a 100% renewable future with justice for all. The Climate Ribbon is in the thick of that mobilization, holding space all over Paris for people to connect, grieve and make a commitment to act in solidarity beyond Paris.

All this week the Tree stood at the center of the Climate Action Zone. Thousands of people read and wrote ribbons, shared their stories, and were inspired to take this project home to their communities. 

Some of the loves and losses we witnessed:


“Hummingbirds in my rainforest.” — Eric in San Cristobal, Chiapas, Mexico

“My father who grew up in an extremely polluted part of Detroit and is battling throat cancer.”  — Mattie M., Chicago, USA

"The greener pastures in my community.” — Ekai Nabenyo, 23, Turkana, Kenya

“Le joie de vivre!” — Olga, Paris, 67

We’ve been leading ribbon rituals at climate actions and events across Paris, from the Climate Strike youth convergence to an intimate circle of dedicated climate activists at the Eroles Project. The high point may have been the public exchange of ribbons that kicked-off the giant human-banner spectacle at the Eiffel Tower that has become the viral iconic image of the COP21.

At event after event, we’ve seen how the Tree and the ribbon ritual can have a profound effect on people: it is grounding, it sets a tone, it brings people into their heart. Inspired by this, we will be taking your ribbon-stories to the UN Conference and handing them directly to the delegates as they arrive for the closing sessions these next few days. May they speak as strongly to the delegates as they have to the public.

Families and children, in particular, have been affected by the Tree. One of our volunteers guided 3 young French-Algerian children through the ritual. Too young to read, they picked out a ribbon just based on its color, and untied it from the Tree. The volunteer read the ribbon to them: Sean, 26, in London, does not want to lose “very big cats, and very small fish.” The three children listened intently. And then she asked them: “Do you want to help Sean?” Oui, yes, they all said, nodding decisively.

Carrying your stories to Paris has been challenging—not just because of all the work we’ve had to do on a shoestring budget, but because it’s a strange and grave responsibility. Although we’ve brought a lot of hope here to Paris, we’ve also become the vessel for a lot of sadness. The Tree with all it’s ribbons is a monument to all that we stand to lose and are losing. Many of us have cried more than once during these two weeks at the COP, reading the ribbons, and pausing to reckon with all that it means.

May we do all we can to defend the beloved places and sacred values that people have brought to the Tree.

Yours in love and grief and hope.

(Photo credits: Walter Hergst, Michael Premo, Josiah Werning, Rae Abileah.)

Communique Deux: Many places, many ribbons

Communique Deux: Many places, many ribbons

The Climate Ribbon has been very busy!

 

We built a beautiful Tree:

We engaged with delegates outside the UN:

We led a ribbon ritual with youth at the Climate Strike gathering, gathered ribbons at Naomi Klein's Leap Manifesto event, and led a ribbon ritual at the Eroles Project:

Thousands of families visited the Tree at the Global Village of Alternatives and Peoples' Climate Summit in Montreiul:

Photos by Kate McNeely, LJ Amsterdam, Michael Premo, Rachel Falcone and Walter Hergt.

Climate Ribbon Communique November 29th

Climate Ribbon Communique November 29th

In the wake of the recent attacks and the ensuing police repression, activists are connecting the dots between climate change and violence, transforming France's declared state of emergency into a global state of climate urgency. And the Climate Ribbon is playing its part

During the "Human Chain" in Paris on November 29th

During the "Human Chain" in Paris on November 29th

On Saturday, November 28, at the 6000-strong Conference of Youth, Carl, 14, a young activist from Syria currently living in Orleans, France, contributed a climate ribbon that highlighted the deep connection between conflict and climate chaos. What Carl loves and is afraid of losing is his home country, REMOVE: because of "all the pollution of the bombs that fall in Syria." For many families in Syria, he explained, the risk comes with every breath: "Syria is a very hot country and it’s cold in the winter… with the bombs there is no electricity and with the pollution the people can't breathe." Carl used his ribbon to make his struggle visible. He told us, "nobody has really written about Syria and maybe in COP they [the UN] will see this and think about Syria too." 

Carl, 14, Syria (currently living in Orleans, France)

Carl, 14, Syria (currently living in Orleans, France)

On Sunday, November 29, even though the mass climate march was called off by French authorities, thousands of people gathered together and locked arms, forming a two-kilometer human chain that "broke" in front of the Bataclan concert hall where 90 people were killed in the November 13 attacks. Lots of folks gathered in La Place de la Republique, and around the various sites of attacks. Human Chain participants were both reverent and playful—with improvised costumes and impromptu dancing in intersections. Bi-lingual Climate Ribbon volunteers were out on the streets too, inviting participants to contribute what they love and hope to never lose to climate chaos and add them to Climate Ribbon trees installed across Paris. 

whergt_151129_0011.jpg

Today was the first day of the climate summit. With one ribbon tree debuting inside the UN conference at Le Bourget tomorrow, and one installation hung at 'A Place 2 B,' the activist co-working hub set up for the COP21, the Climate Ribbon crew is throwing down on our biggest installation yet. The Tree of Life is currently being constructed in an artists' warehouse in a working class neighborhood of Paris, in collaboration with a talented team of local designers, builders and artists. We've exhausted our funds, but we’re continuing to work full steam ahead.

Please help us cover all the costs of this project. Make an online donation now. With your help we can bring this healing ritual and heart-opening work of art and to the people of Paris and the world.

Tree model, with Gan Golan working on the base of the larger tree

Tree model, with Gan Golan working on the base of the larger tree

Photos by Kate McNeely, LJ Amsterdam, Michael Premo, Rachel Falcone and Walter Hergt.

Ribbon Tree: What is your red line? Global Action on D12.

We all have things we are not willing to compromise on; we all have things we love too dearly to let be lost to climate chaos. What is your red line? What do you love and hope to never lose to Climate Chaos?  On December 12, as the COP21 is concluding, citizens around the world are laying down the 'red lines' that negotiators must not cross. Find the action nearest you. Or host your own. Bring red ribbons or strips of red fabric and invite people to write their responses down and share by tying them on a tree or fence beside the action. Invite people to read aloud what others have written. People can also tie the ribbons around their wrist as a reminder of their commitment to organize for climate justice. Invite press, and invite kids - they often have the best sense of how big this crisis is and the details we risk losing. Be sure to upload your photos to TheClimateRibbon.org.

Materials:
Strips of red fabric
Pens
A tree or fence

 

Conference of Youth at COP21

Conference of Youth at COP21

Today, Thursday, November 26, we set up a Climate Ribbon art installation at the entryway of the 11th Conference of Youth #COY11 in the lead-up to the UN Climate Summit. As thousands of students streamed into the meeting hall, they paused, reflected, and wrote on ribbons what they love and hope to never lose to climate chaos, or, in many cases, what they are already losing. 

The Climate Ribbon will be on display for the duration of the COY11. 

THE RIBBON IS IN PARIS@COP21

THIS NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER IN PARIS

In the wake of the recent attacks, our hearts are heavy with grief. In spite of the cancellation of some events by the French Government, the Climate Ribbon is still heading to Paris. Read our full statement here.

The Climate Ribbon art installation -- a Tree of Life whose leaves are ribbons from around the world -- will be:

  • November 26-30: Conference of Youth / Conférence internationale des jeunes COY 11 a Villepinte
  • November 29: The Climate Ribbon will be part of the mobilization that will replace the cancelled climate march on the day before the UN Climate Summit begins.  Join our team of Parisian and international activists to invite people to make ribbons. Meet at 11:00am near OberkamfRSVP to Rae for meeting location.
  • November 30-December 2: At the COP21 at Le Bourget with 350.org at Générations Climat, right beside the UN negotiations. Find directions here.
  • November 30 onward: Installed at Place To B during the two weeks of the COP21, 5 rue de Dunquerque, near Gare du Nord
  • December 2: Climate Ribbon ritual with Eroles Project at L'Annexe, 17:30-19:30. 
  • December 5-6: Large Climate Ribbon Tree sculpture at the People’s Climate Summit and the Global Village of Alternatives / Village Mundial des Alternatives outdoors in Montreuil (at Metro 9 Marie de Montreuil).
  • December 7-11: Featured Climate Ribbon art installation at the movement convergence space, Climate Action Zone (ZAC), at the CENTQUATRE-Paris (104 Art Center, 5 Rue Curial, 75019 Paris, Metro line 7 Riquet stop, 19th district).
  • In the streets throughout the two weeks of the COP21 as we draw the climate “red lines” that negotiators must not cross. Check our site for updates or follow @climateribbon!

The Climate Ribbon Tree and its stories will be a powerful statement of global public opinion, reminding negotiators of all that we stand to lose if we do not secure a strong treaty. This art ritual could become the powerful unifying symbol of all the world’s climate heartbreaks and hopes that this unprecedented historical moment deserves. 

We are gathering ribbons form communities around the world to bring to Paris. And we invite you and your community to make ribbons. Even if you can’t come yourself, you can send your voice, and hopes and stories. To add a ribbon to the Climate Tree, you can submit one online HERE, register your solidarity event HERE, or follow the instructions below.


The Climate Ribbon in Paris is a project in partnership with Alternatiba, Coalition Climat 21, Greenpeace, Avaaz, 350, GreenFaith, Circle Sanctuary and Our Voices. If your group would like to be added to our list of partners, or if you have questions about submitting ribbons to the Climate Ribbon, contact us at climateribbon [at] gmail [dot] com. Also, if you are coming to Paris, and you want to get involved, there’s a lot of beautiful work to do, please email us as well!

We grieve with Paris and the world

Our hearts are heavy witnessing the recent attacks in Paris, Beirut, Baghdad, Ankara, and Yola.

In the wake of this tragedy, Paris will host crucial UN climate talks, and the Climate Ribbon will be there to create ritual space to grieve and mourn what we have lost and are losing to climate change, and commit to courageous action, together.

There are many shrines and memorials happening throughout Paris in response to the tragedy, much like the public memorials after 9/11 in NYC, which were part of the original inspiration for the Climate Ribbon.

While the French government has announced that some of the major climate mobilizations will be cancelled, we are heading to Paris to exhibit the Climate Ribbon as planned at sites throughout the city.
 
As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “We are all tied together in a single garment of destiny.” We know that unchecked climate catastrophe makes a fertile breeding ground for greater displacement and violence. As agricultural land disappears, more people will be without food. This desperation fuels wars, as it has done in Syria. We stand to lose more than our coastlines and fields.
 
This interconnectedness shows up on Climate Ribbons: “The kindness among strangers,” “Safety for my grandchildren,” and “My country, Syria.” The Climate Ribbon Tree is an emotional memorial that welcomes and embraces everyone.
 
What will your ribbon say?
 
There’s still time to mail in ribbons to be included in this mass public ritual.
Send ribbons to us in Paris by December 4 (but the sooner the better).
 
You can also submit a ribbon online here and we will hand write your ribbon in Paris.
 
Will you or someone you know be in Paris? Join our Climate Ribbon team help make this meaningful ritual happen. Sign up here.
 
You can also bring the Climate Ribbon to the local solidarity Climate March near you on November 28-29.
 
The Climate Ribbon Tree — whose leaves will be ribbons inscribed with messages of climate love and loss from around the world — will be part of two weeks of mobilizations surrounding the UN Climate Summit.
 
Together, the love and commitments represented by each ribbon weave a giant thread connecting all of us as we work for a healthy, sustainable planet.

Related statement in response to the recent attacks: 

Climate Games statement
 

The Climate Ribbon as A Tree of Life

by Rabbi Jill Hammer

At the culmination of the People’s Climate March on Sunday, September 21, crowds of marchers gathered around a Tree of Life sculpture decked with thousands of multi-colored ribbons. Many of the marchers had carried their ribbons through the streets of Manhattan; some had brought them from their hometowns thousands of miles away. Each ribbon was inscribed with a personal response to the question: “What do you love and hope to never lose to climate chaos.” After tying their ribbon to the Tree, marchers read through the other ribbons on the Tree, chose one that particularly moved them, and tied it onto their wrist. This ribbon exchange was very 21st century: global in scope and focused on a burning contemporary issue, yet it has roots in both ancient and local traditions. It was explicitly inspired by Northeastern Native American quahog and whelk shell wampum belts, which signify the mutual exchange of trust when commitments are made between people. Moreover, the custom of tying ribbons to a tree in order to ask for wishes, hopes, and healing, has resonance in cultures around the world.

The Lakota people, for example, use prayer ties (tobacco or cornmeal wrapped in cloth) as an offering, tying them to trees and leaving them in sacred places. The intentions and prayers then act as a blessing for all who come in contact with the prayer ties. The Cherokee people also make prayer ties, tying them to trees and sometimes wearing them. Similarly, Climate Ribbon participants wore the ribbons they had created, in token of their commitment to one another.

In Ireland, fairy trees (or wishing trees, rag trees, or May bushes) are hawthorn trees to which people tie ribbons or strips of colored cloth to ask for blessings from local spirits or saints. These trees are commonly located at sacred wells. The ribbons or cloths are called “clotties,” and are often used to ask for healing: when the rag wears away, the illness will be gone. At “clootie wells” in Scotland, the rag is dipped in the water of the holy well and then tied to a branch while a prayer is said to the well’s saint or spirit. The climate ribbons on the streets of New York, also contained peoples wishes, prayers, hopes and dreams.

In Nepal, trees near sacred sites are hung with ribbons and string.  In Thailand, sacred trees are wrapped with colorful strips of cloth to mark them as homes for spirits.  Buddhist monks in Thailand have saved trees from being cut down by wrapping them in cloth, thereby making them sacred.   In the spring, a “tree of life” is hung with white ribbons at the midpoint of spring.  Similarly, in Europe, the maypole, used to celebrate the spring, also represents a stylized tree, and is adorned with brightly colored ribbons that represent new life coming to the world.  In Brazil, on Mayday, a tree is designated the “tree of life” and is hung with ribbons and the white flag of the Yoruban god of time. Likewise, the “Tree of Life” at the close of the New York march also represents people’s hope for rejuvenation of the Earth.

In India, worshippers pour water at the roots of the sacred pipal tree, and tie rags to its branches as offerings. The rag-offerings are particularly associated with weddings and with healing. Rags are also hung on trees that are regarded as shrines to the local deities. The banyan tree, sacred to many deities, is adorned with garlands of nuts and with the wedding dresses of brides. In China, there is a custom to tie rags on a pole in front of the shrines of village deities, to ask for healing. In Siberia, indigenous peoples tie cloth to trees as well to ask for healing, luck, or some other wish.

In many Muslim countries, including Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria, pilgrims tie rags to trees outside the tombs of saints. They may also take and wear another rag from the same tree that has absorbed the holiness of the place. In Israel/Palestine, the custom is practiced by Muslims, Jews, and Druze. Graves of sheiks and saints often have a sacred tree with rags tied to it. In Sfat, at the tomb of sages such as Isaac Luria and Pinchas ben Yair, bags of written prayers are hung on trees near the tombs.

The Climate Ribbon goes Berlin!

Attention! This is going to be really quiet!

We’re happy to announce that our project has a solidarity project with fellow friends of the earth in Europe. The climate projection group Fossil Free Berlin - part of 350.org’s global Fossil Free campaign - are taking The Climate Ribbon to Berlin this month.

The project is evolving with the Silent Climate Parade on September 12th: The ribbons will be handed out and signed before the parade, tied around our wrists while we’re dancing into the sunset. For a few hours, DJs will be playing tunes we’ll hear on our headphones…a silent crowd with signs, smiles and colorful ribbons…the craziest demonstration, a silent dance for the climate! Announcements of various groups will happen for a joint cause: To bring fossil energy era to an end and to worship this beautiful planet we live on.

Towards the end of the parade, we will tie all ribbons to a string which will be wrapped around a pillar of the iconic Berlin Brandenburger Tor, as a colorful thread of solidarity for a healthy sustainable planet.

For more information check out these Facebook pages:

Fossil Free Berlin Artivism Workshop (we’ll be cutting Climate Ribbons as well):https://www.facebook.com/events/757030957775446/

Fossil Free Berlin: https://www.facebook.com/fossilfreeberlin
Silent Climate Parade: https://www.facebook.com/climateparade?fref=ts
Silent Climate Parade Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/875786292508105/

For more info, email: meikeschuetzek(at)gmail(dot)com

If you are in Berlin, check it out….and the journey of The Climate Ribbon will go on after the SCP - and is “traveling” more this month, so stay tuned!

The Climate Ribbon is preparing for Paris!! And we need you.

Hello Ribboneers! :) Bonjour rubaniers!

As many of you know, at the end of this year there will be a massive climate justice mobilization during the UN climate summit in Paris  (November/December). The Climate Ribbon Project is excited to be working with some fantastic partners (Coalition Climat 21, Alternatiba, a community in Les Lilas, etc.) and to bring the tree and mass ritual to the mobilization (like in NYC last September)(but BIGGER!).

image

We are currently workshopping some designs (above and below!) for different gatherings/spaces, and we would love to hear from you. Please send any ideas you have (email to climateribbon(at)gmail(dot)com) and if you are interested in hosting a Ribbon ritual between now and November, we would love to take your Ribbons and Stories to Paris (DIY Toolkit here).

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(AND!-We are looking for (1) skilled engineers/builders to collaborate on designing an extraordinary, monumental tree-sculpture and (2) an organizer to help get things going for what will be a focal point for a gathering space in Paris! We are looking to assemble this team right away and get to work. Apply here for the designer positions and here for the Coordinator to join us!)

The Climate Ribbon Tree at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center

Sunday, July 26, 2015, a Climate Ribbon Tree was created at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, CT. The weekend of July 25-26 marked the Jewish holiday of Tisha b’Av, the day when Jews remember the destruction of the ancient temple in Jerusalem, a day for grief and mourning. It seemed fitting on this day to grieve the massive loss of life to climate chaos that is happening in our modern world daily. 

The ritual was led by Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute cofounder Rabbi Jill Hammer, and Climate Ribbon co-creator Rae Abileah, who guided people through writing on ribbons what they love and hope to never lose to climate change, or are already losing. While chanting, we walked meditatively into the forest and read our ribbons out loud to each other, pledging to support each other in protecting what we hold dear. 

We tied the ribbons to a young tree that will become a living memorial, and shared stories on the history of prayer trees from cultures around the world (read more about this in an article by Rabbi Jill Hammer at http://theclimateribbon.org/tree). Small kids and elders joined in the tying on of ribbons, and the little ones’ playful laughter mingled with the older ones tearful reflections … how do we hold all our emotions, as the world burns? The Climate Ribbon Tree will become a sacred site at Isabella Freedman, welcoming participation of all who visit and dwell there. The Adamah farming fellows who live at Isabella Freedman have already held a second ribbon ritual there, led by Simcha Schwartz, and so the project grows. 

Big hearted thanks to Adam Segulah Sher, Margot Siegle, Shamu Sadeh, and the rest of the staff at Isabella Freedman for supporting this art ritual to come to life, maintaining the sacred tree site, and teaching future retreatants and youth groups about the climate ribbon project and how to take action for climate justice. 

Thoughtworks Show

Two months after the historic Peoples’ Climate March, and days before the UN Climate Summit in Lima, Peru artists and activists came together for an evening of art & activism at Thoughtworks, as solidarity events began in NYC.

A portion of The Climate Ribbon was installed in the gallery. Members of the Climate Ribbon Team, including Rae Abileah (above), updated the crowd on the People’s Climate Art and Climate Ribbon activities since the March and their plans for 2015 heading up to the streets of Paris in December, 2015, during the next UN Climate Summit.

Ileia Burgos of Rockaway Wildfire lead the crowd through the ribbon ritual, where attendees were invited to write on a ribbon “what they love and hope never to lose to climate chaos” and then tie them to the structure. Finally, they were asked to choose one that was written by another and tie it around their wrist to take with them. 

THE ART OF THE PEOPLE’S CLIMATE ART & FLOOD WALL STREET

The PCM & FWS gave birth to a flourishing art movement around Climate Justice, where art was central not only to public expression during the march, but central to the organizing strategy and action design. Photographs, screen prints, posters, sculpture, video and more were included in the multimedia exhibit.

The exhibit will be up until early March 2015 at Thoughtworks, 99 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016