We live in very rural northeast Missouri at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, (www.dancingrabbit.org), a 20-year-old intentional community. We live on the prairie; many of us have built our homes of natural materials, we generate both solar and wind power, we grow some of our own food, and we have many cooperatives to lower our environmental impact, including a car cooperative. One study indicated a few years ago that we use about 10% of the resources that the "average" American does. ••• Newpaper Article: A Parachute for the Planet, by Emma Gil (11 years), A group of kids and teachers from Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage created a parachute, designed by 12-year-old student Taylor Helmich, as part of the international project Parachutes For the Planet. Parachutes for the Planet cares about helping the earth and wants to show that kids have power. The purpose of this project is "to raise awareness of people living sustainable lives and affected by climate change." According to the project’s website: "Saving the environment is vital to our health, safety and future, and parachutes are a metaphor for this process. Parachutes are safety nets and when collectively displayed in large numbers, they transform into powerful messages of strength, hope and communal determination." "In the 1990s, tho231nds of HIV/AIDS Quilts (blankets) were exhibited in Washington, DC, to bring attention to a disease that was previously not understood. The result of this exhibition was dramatic – people became more aware and governments began to fund research to find a cure.” Using artwork and comments displayed on parachutes, they are hoping to accomplish similar goals for saving the environment. They are going to exhibit 100+ parachutes in Washington D.C. hoping that people will finally notice. Taylor and teachers, Sharon Bagatell and Katherine Hanson, designed the parachute to have a central image and an outside ring. Taylor created the central image from her own imagination. Many of the children from Dancing Rabbit helped put handprints on the parachute to symbolize that young people care. I wanted to find out more about Taylor’s artwork so I asked her some questions. “Why is there a rabbit in the center?” “I see everything as being carried on the back of nature and I see the Earth as another person or animal. The rabbit was a way of saying how I feel about the Earth as another animal or being. The rabbit symbolizes the Earth and I see the Earth as having a personality. The rabbit also represents where we live – it’s the name of our place and there are lots of rabbits here.” “Why is there little patches of space?” “I really like space. I used to be afraid of it but now I’m not. I’ve come to terms with it and now I feel really connected to it.” “How did you get the job of designer?” “I’m known for being an artist and teachers Sharon Bagatell and Katherine Hanson thought it would be great to have me help with the project.” “Why is there a flower on the back of the rabbit?” “The flower is another representation of our community – the rabbit and the moon in the center of the flower is our logo.” “Why are the details on the back of the rabbit there?” “I really like mushrooms and they are sort of magical. There are mushrooms here on our land. The solar panels and the wind turbine show what we have here as an ecological power source.” The parachute will represent northeast Missouri as part of the large Parachutes for the Planet display in Washington D.C. this summer.