To raise awareness of the need for people to live sustainable lives and how we are adversely affected by climate change, Mother Earth Project is encouraging individuals, schools, and communities around the world to create PARACHUTES FOR THE PLANET®
(click a button below)
“Parachutes serve as the global visual language for expressing concerns about climate change. They bridge communities and organizations with a common goal, to demand better climate laws.”
– Barton Rubenstein, Mother Earth Project cofounder
“I am so grateful for this project. It is beautiful and it is going to change the world. I have no doubts. Parachutes leap frogs over the blame and guilt and allows people to take action!”
– Cathy Orlando, Citizens’ Climate Lobby International Outreach Manager
(Choose your language in the above video by clicking the Settings button at bottom right)
Parachutes are a metaphor for bringing the planet back to a safe place, a sustainable world that is vital to our health, safety and future. Play parachutes (non-functional) are circular pieces of cloth decorated with artwork and personal comments about our concerns about the health of our planet. Parachutes can be seen as “safety nets” and when held by groups during demonstrations or collectively displayed in large numbers, they transform into powerful messages of strength, hope and communal determination.
In the 1990s, thousands 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, the Mother Earth Project hopes to accomplish similar goals for saving the environment.
Decorate Your Parachute:
OR, you can sew bedsheets together to create a 12′ (4 meter) diameter circle. Parachutes with handles are best for strikes/marches.
Why do we use polyester parachutes? Please see explanation at bottom.*
Seven Easy Instructions:
• Design Your Parachute: It’s up to you! If you are the leader, we recommend that you design a large central image or text before the decoration event begins. Below are some general guidelines to help.
• Large Central Image: Choose a local landmark, animal, or sustainable theme. It should be large so people can see it from a distance.
• Large Text Statement: Choose something powerful, like “Better Climate Laws!”
• Small Artwork and Individual Comments: Each person can write how they are living sustainably, how their local environment has been affected by climate change or a message of hope.
• Display Name and Location Along Edge: This allows others to know where the parachute was made.
• Paint and Markers: Use permanent markers, acrylic (best) and latex house paints are great choices for decorating your parachute, but make sure to thin the paint with 20% more water so that it is not too thick and so that it will penetrate THROUGH the parachute material, otherwise chipping could result later. If you choose to add photos, we recommend that you have them printed on fabric and then sewn onto the parachute. All materials sewn on the parachute must be as thin as possible and completely foldable. Tape is not recommended.
• Allow Parachute to Dry: It take at least 4 hours for paint to dry. Plan you decoration event to allow for drying before storing or transporting the parachute.
Event Ideas with Parachutes
• Create Sister Parachute Collection: We are encouraging communities to create your own sister parachute collection for future climate marches. The goal is to have ongoing parachute sustainability events worldwide. This is a climate revolution now!
• Show Politicians Parachutes: Take your parachutes to your local politicians and DEMAND BETTER CLIMATE LAWS.
• March and Sing with Parachutes: Hold handles and lift and drop the parachute, rotate it, do the “wave”, sing and connect! March through your town and chant slogans, such as “NO ACTION – NO FUTURE,” “Better Climate Laws,” “Keep the Oil in the Ground,” “There is no Planet B,” “System Change, Not Climate Change.”
• Parachute Sit Down: Take 10 minutes to sit as a group around the edges of your parachutes, discuss personal environmental concerns and get to know each other.
• Commit to Sustainable Actions: It may be by planting trees, sharing the Parachutes For The Planet project with other schools and clubs, changing your light bulbs to LED, picking up ten pieces of trash daily on the streets, switching to renewable energy, asking restaurants to change their plastic cups to paper, composting your food scraps, and using your bicycle more. There are MANY things you can do to help the planet!
• Handprints on Parachutes: If you are decorating a parachute during an event, you can invite strangers to draw an outline of their hand with a permanent marker and write their name inside, to show their commitment to saving the environment. Ask them to shout, “I VOTE FOR CLIMATE!” They can also dip their hand in paint and do the same, but allow 4 hours for drying before moving the parachute. This idea has been very successful at many events.
• Beach Ball Play: Toss a beach ball from one parachute to another. This is a big hit with kids!
• Attach Parachutes to Walls at Events: With string, tie your parachutes to vertical walls to allow for better visibility, for visitors to see and read.
Send Us One Parachute
You can also send us ONE of your parachutes to add to our growing international collection (over 250 presently) with your contact information to:
Mother Earth Project
PO Box 70922
Bethesda, Maryland 20813, USA
We will send you an email confirming that we received your parachute. Note: We will not be able to return your parachute, but will save it for future strikes and exhibitions.
Add Your Parachute to Our Database
Please enter information about your parachute and your sustainability focused community by clicking the below button. This information, as well as your photos and videos will be added to our Parachute Database for the world to see!
Virtual Parachutes for Social Media
We also encourage you to photograph your parachute and post it on social media to #MyParachute and #ParachutesForThePlanet. You can create a Virtual Parachute by creating artwork or a simple written note about living sustainably or being affected by climate change and then post it.
Remember, every voice counts!
There are many examples of parachutes in our Parachute Database . Each parachute should include a LARGE CENTRAL IMAGE AND MESSAGE, SMALL ARTWORK and COMMENTS expressing how you live sustainably, are affected by climate change and a message of hope.
*Explanation of Synthetic Parachutes: At present, there are hundreds of parachutes worldwide created from reused bedsheets and cotton fabric. The problem is that cotton has a large carbon footprint as it requires a lot of water to grow. And many countries worldwide suffer from humidity and mold issues, which make cotton not a great material for multiple sustainability events. Synthetics, although a part of the large plastic problem on our planet, are quite resilient. So, MEP has decided to use polyester because they have longevity and they can be repurposed into play parachutes that kids can enjoy for many years. They are much lighter and fun to play with! Last, polyester creates the smallest carbon footprint when shipping them worldwide. They are as light as a smart phone! Polyester can be recycled and apparently recycled polyester requires 32% less energy than creating polyester from scratch. Unfortunately, everything has a yin and yang, as electric cars have lithium-ion batteries that have recycling and disposal issues, but they are an excellent next step toward sustainability.