Maitri Sojourner shared that “recycled art is near and dear to my heart, as I use recycled fabrics in my art, and have been a recycler since my college years.” Maitri purchases clothing at thrift stores and garage sales to cut up for her art, and has used discontinued sample books from upholstery stores. Maitri’s friends also sleuth out unusual fabrics for her. A friend recently gave her a beautiful royal blue silk robe that cost just $3 at a local thrift shop–Maitri is busy turning it into sky! Maitri draws out her design on paper—rather like a cartoon, then transfers the shapes onto fabric, backs each piece with a double-sided heat-sensitive adhesive (available by the yard from fabric stores), and adheres the piece to either paper or fabric. Maitri says, “It’s fun to repurpose items—it’s a bit like a treasure hunt–and it’s just the right thing to do—REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE!!!”
A free app for Earth Day
This year I wanted to do something different for Earth Day. I’d been developing recycling education programs and noticed how challenging it was for students to understand that everything we use comes from nature. Plastic was always the most challenging. When I’d tell classes that plastic originally comes from nature, I’d get blank stares. “No way,” a little girl in the front row told me one day. “I don’t believe plastic comes from oil. Oil is black…plastic bottles are clear.”
Instead of deluging children with more facts that can be hard to wrap their heads around (such as that 31 million tons of plastic waste were generated in 2010), I decided to develop a different approach…through story. Earth Day Carol is a green retelling of Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol. In it, Plastic Bottle Scrooge is visited by the ghosts of Plastic Past, Plastic Present, and Plastic Future. The story is now a free app that explores the idea of reduce, reuse, recycle through narration, full-color illustrations, and animation. It’s available here: http://earthdaycarol.org/?page_id=293
What started as an idea for a story grew into an actively involved volunteer project bringing together a neuroradiologist and software developer (Evan Fram, app development), an illustrator and former accountant (Jack Hunter, illustration), a children’s book author (Michelle Parker-Rock, editor), and myself, an environmental educator and writer. We came together to bring this story to life and to give plastic a voice. Readers like the enthusiastic girl in the front row can follow Scrooge as he learns where plastic comes from, how it litters the land and oceans, and what can be done to stop pollution.
We’d love for this story to be a useful Earth Day resource for kids and adults alike. Join us in sharing Plastic Bottle Scrooge’s Earth Day adventure. For ongoing information, visit www.EarthDayCarol.org and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you, Celebrate Green!
The free app is complete and now available for the Kindle Fire tablet family. We plan to make it available for other devices soon. For more information on the development of the app please see the App Development page.