The Mother Earth Project, MEP, is a nonprofit organization founded in 2015 by internationally renowned sculptor and scientist Barton Rubenstein and his family. Originally, the Rubenstein family was actively recycling at home, including metal, plastic and paper, installing LED lights, composting, becoming vegetarians, and using solar energy to heat water and assist in heating the home. Seeing that there were a few other neighbors composting, a small group encouraged the neighborhood leadership to offer a composting program for everyone, which they did. The neighborhood is also a leader in sustainability and has introduced LED street lighting, which can reduce up to 90% of energy. Feeling the momentum, the family began to promote sustainability by engaging schools and universities with the MEP Inflatable Booth. Compelled to make a global impact, cofounder Ari Rubenstein reached out in 2017 to 15 year old Kallan Benson, who had decorated a 24′ diameter parachute with a large beautiful butterfly. She had also collected 1600 signatures on the parachute from other students in the Washington DC region, who were also concerned about the environment. The butterfly parachute and other decorated parachutes were displayed during the 2017 Climate Strike in Washington, DC. Inspired by the successful public awareness campaign of the HIV/AID Quilts in the 1990s, MEP cofounders and Kallan’s family considered distributing parachutes worldwide, culminating in the creation of Parachutes For The Planet®, a project that encourages communities worldwide to decorate parachutes with artwork and their next sustainable actions, march with their parachutes, and take them to their local politicians to demand better climate laws.
The final piece to this important puzzle is engaging countries and cities directly. Toward that goal, Barton Rubenstein designed and created “Mother Earth,” a five-meter high profile sculpture, which now acts as the Symbol of Sustainability, given to countries participating in the Paris Climate Conference of 2015. This sculpture, to be placed in major cities around the world (see Sculpture Locations), acts to recognize countries who have submitted their environment-saving actions and timelines to the UNFCCC, and incentivize other countries to join this world partnership.
MEP co-founder Barton Rubenstein discusses his career as a scientist and artist, and the creation of the Mother Earth Project.
The co-founding MEP team in 2016: Sabrina Rubenstein CMO, Shereen Rubenstein, Benjamin Rubenstein, Ari Rubenstein School Liaison and FFF Climate Strike Organizer, and Barton Rubenstein
Parachute Communities from over 70 countries are now focused on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, which outline all of the actions needed for a sustainable and equitable planet.
Paris Climate Agreement
The Mother Earth Project began in 2015, the same year that 195 countries pledged to stop and reverse climate change. This momentous gathering at the COP21 conference in Paris, France, began one of the most important international tasks ever undertaken to save the environment from irreversible damage from pollution and other human-related activities.