About the quilt

The Solutions to Climate Change quilt has 350 pieces, to represent the 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide (CO2) that NASA climatologist James Hansen has said is the maximum safe level of CO2 in our atmosphere (we’re currently at 383 and rising fast).

We are currently facing the biggest threat to life on earth since the last mass extinction 65 million years (think dinosaurs). That’s the bad news. The good news is that scientists say we can still reverse global warming, if we act soon.

We need to demand that our new representatives in government take this problem seriously and make climate change a priority in 2009. There are also many ways for each of us to get involved, the more the merrier.

Although it seems incredible, the technology exists to fix the atmosphere. That doesn’t mean it will be easy. Stopping dangerous climate change will require a massive effort on the scale of World War II. We need to re-tool our economy so that it is more efficient, start using clean energy, and change our transportation habits. To do so will require significant investment, but will very likely also fix the recession that we are now entering, and create a safer and less polluted world.

The solution to global warming has many different pieces. I have made a quilt that expresses some of the ones that I and many others believe are crucial to fixing the problem. For more information on the ideas expressed on the quilt, see “Solutions to Climate Change” below.

The Story of the Quilt

I started this quilt in June of this year, when my son was 1 year old. I had recently started learning more about global warming, and realized I needed to do something, for my own sanity, and to help his chances of having a decent future on this planet.

I wrote to friends and family and asked them to make squares, and started bringing my box of craft supplies and a banner to parks and farmer’s markets. It was a lot of fun to talk to people about the project, and to make art with kids. I got a lot of encouragement, as well as lots of lovely square (see Photo Gallery) .

I also went to two quilt groups in the Bay Area to ask for squares (which are really called “blocks” in quilter language), the African American Quilt Guild of Oa kland, and the East Bay Heritage Quilters. I got a few blocks from them, as well as assistance in piecing (sewing the blocks together). Teresa Weyand from the African American Quilt Guild has very generously agreed to do the quilting and binding. The finished quilt measures almost 8 x 14 feet!
I will bring the quilt to President Obama on November 18th as part of a national day of action on climate change. Some national climate change organizations, 1Sky and 350.org have organized a national event to “welcome” our President and new representatives in Congress, with the demand that they make climate change an immediate priority in Washington. I will be showing the actual quilt here in California as well, in November and December. To find out more about showings, send me a message by clicking on “comments” below.

About me

My name is Ulla Nilsen, I live in Oakland, CA. I have a one year old son named Severin, and my partner and I are expecting another baby in the beginning of February. I work at Children’s Hospital in Oakland as well as volunteer with a statewide coalition of Environmental Justice organizations who are working for a Carbon Fee in California.


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