What Would Nature Do?

What Would Nature Do?

The Climate Ribbon was the closing ritual of a month-long course in Boulder called What Would Nature Do?, co-taught by Emma Ruffin and James Edwards. The course focused on systems design methods—Theory U and Permaculture Design—as powerful pathways to co-creating a resilient, regenerative, and equitable future for all. For this closing ritual, we asked students to put their ribbons into a basket once they finished writing on them, and asked them to choose a ribbon at random. We stood in a circle and read ribbons aloud, after which the group stated, “We are with you” or, “Your commitment strengthens mine,” so that each person’s love and commitment wove a group poem. We closed by linking arms: left hand - the person who read your ribbon; right hand - the person whose ribbon you read. This formed a web of interconnectedness before we parted ways.

To see photos from the event, please click on the title above or “View Post” on the top right.

Weaving Earth Care into Presbyterian Church Worship

Weaving Earth Care into Presbyterian Church Worship

On April 28, 2019, Reverend Hansen Wendlandt and I wove the Ribbon into Sunday morning worship at Nederland Community Presbyterian Church. The Sunday service was dedicated to “Creation Care”; parishioners were invited to write ribbons, tie them to ropes strung across the church altar, and take home someone else’s ribbon, becoming the guardian of that person’s story. The service included hymns praising the Earth, a sermon on what it means to really love one another and the Earth, and the writing and exchange of Climate Ribbons.

You can read (or download) the full order of worship, and you’re welcome to use it as a resource when planning to weave the Climate Ribbon into a Presbyterian or ecumenical service.

For more details, videos, and photos, please click on the title or “View Post” on the top right.

Spiritual Companionship at the Spiritual Directors International Annual Conference

Spiritual Companionship at the Spiritual Directors International Annual Conference

The 2019 Spiritual Directors International Conference was in my backyard and I volunteered to help with setup and cleanup. Somehow, within the lovely order of the universe, I was given the assignment to assemble the Climate Ribbon project – Northwest Style. What a fun opportunity to reflect in action. From a simple sketch of a U-shaped arbor, we worker bees assembled lumber to create a frame and draped it generously with freshly-cut evergreen boughs and branches. Putting fir branches on the frame, we enjoyed the clean fragrance reminding us of where we live. Putting up the ribbons from previous displays, we connected to people from other countries with their yearnings and love of nature. The ribbons became both a visual and a spiritual immersion into the beauty of our created world…

Temple Beth Hatfiloh Celebrates Tu B'shvat

Temple Beth Hatfiloh Celebrates Tu B'shvat

In connection with Tu B'Shvat, we held a day-long Shabbat service and workshop, dedicated to the element of Earth and the world of Assiyah. We read a Torah portion that told how frightened the people were when they felt G-d speaking to them through the shaking mountain and thundering clouds, and we drew parallels to the fear we feel when we let ourselves listen to the messages coming from the earth through climate chaos. We connected with the Tree of Life and set intentions, painted little terra cotta pots to make loving containers to grow in, and planted little rosemary seeds to nurture…

Wilderness Torah's Tu B’shvat Tree Celebration

Wilderness Torah's Tu B’shvat Tree Celebration

The Climate Ribbon was featured at Wilderness Torah's Tu B’shvat in the Redwoods near Berkeley, CA. Tu b’Shevat means “the fifteenth day of the month of Shevat”— this day in the Jewish calendar is the Festival of the Trees. This year it began on Sunday night, January 20 and continued until Monday, January 21. The Talmud describes the holiday as the date on which all trees should be counted a year older, so it is known as the birthday of the trees.  This day takes on added meaning now that we must wonder about the future for our oxygen-giving, life-supporting forests, which face rising global temperatures and increases in fires, floods, and other climate-related catastrophes… 

Holiday drinks with the Sustainable Finance Initiative in Hong Kong

Holiday drinks with the Sustainable Finance Initiative in Hong Kong

The Sustainable Finance initiative (SFi)’s network of investors gathered together to mingle over holiday drinks and reflect on the past year in Hong Kong. During the event, they held a Climate Ribbon session in which investors shared what they love and hope never to lose to climate chaos. Key messages shared on the night can be seen in the word-cloud graphics…

Food Shift anniversary party

Food Shift anniversary party

In addition to scrumptious locally-made vegetarian food and drinks, take-home products like pickles and jams, and a silent auction, attendees at Food Shift’s 7-year anniversary party in Oakland, CA witnessed a beautiful Climate Ribbon display.  Many of them filled out ribbons with their thoughts of what they love and hope not to lose to climate chaos, and these ribbons are now displayed at Food Shift’s office. 

It’s so nice to see Food Shift take interest in the Climate Ribbon, and with the aid of our DIY kit (available on our Participate page), take the initiative and include the Ribbon in their event!

Weaving a Sacred Space for Climate Grief and Hope at the 2018 Parliament of the World’s Religions

Weaving a Sacred Space for Climate Grief and Hope at the 2018 Parliament of the World’s Religions

The Ribbon returns to the Parliament with a new focus

In the first week of November 2018, over 7,000 people from all over the world converged in Toronto, Canada for the Parliament of the World’s Religions. The Climate Ribbon was there at the entryway to bring home the urgency of the climate crisis and to demonstrate a ritual pathway for faith leaders to engage congregants in making meaningful commitments to action.

This was not the first time the Climate Ribbon was woven into this conference. We were at the previous Parliament (in Salt Lake City in 2015), where we set up a large Climate Ribbon installation at the entryway of the convention center. It was an instant hit, as participants were excited to make their ribbons immediately after registering. Led by clergy from many faiths, over a thousand people made ribbons and tied them onto a large story-sharing wall. We took these ribbons to Paris and gave them to UN negotiators at the historic COP21.

In 2018, our focus was different: to demonstrate the power of this simple ritual and encourage faith leaders to take it home to use in their congregations around the world…

Making an Impact on Impact Investors

Making an Impact on Impact Investors

As attendees streamed into the festival pavilion at Fort Mason in San Francisco for the 11th annual Social Capital Markets (SOCAP) conference — one of the biggest of its kind in the nation — they were greeted by a grove of sculpted trees tied together with ropes filled with brightly-colored ribbons from around the world. Amidst a sea of corporate booths and sleek furniture, the Climate Ribbon offered something rarely seen at a finance conference: a sacred space for reflection on one of the biggest challenges of our time.  

SOCAP18 took place just days after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released their eye-opening report concluding that we have a 12-year window to take action to prevent climate change catastrophe. This was exactly why the Climate Ribbon was at SOCAP - to ask attendees: What does it mean to talk shop on “impact” investing, given the necessary impact needed to keep the planet habitable? …

For the rest of the story, please click on the title above or “View Post” on the top right.

A space for reflection in a sea of marchers - Rise for Climate in San Francisco

A space for reflection in a sea of marchers - Rise for Climate in San Francisco

On September 8, 2018, the Climate Ribbon showed up in multi-colored force in San Francisco for the Rise for Climate mass mobilization. As 30,000 marchers poured through the streets, the Climate Ribbon was there to help remind people what they were marching for.

For one woman it was “Coastal Louisiana: My culture & people.” Patricia from Sacramento, CA, told us how her Unitarian Universalist church community had already woven the Ribbon into their congregation’s meditation labyrinth. As we were still setting up, local Californian Guido stopped by and shared his story of seeing the giant tree we built for the COP21 on display at an eco-village in Southern France.

The Climate Ribbon — this time installed in a striking 12-foot-high two-panel installation, adorned with eucalyptus branches and leaves — was a familiar sight to some marchers, and a novel discovery for others. It provided a space for everyone to ground themselves, go deeply inwards, and reckon in a personal way with what each of us has at stake.

(See our short time-lapse video of the creation and take-down of the Climate Ribbon.)

Some teared up when they realized they were being invited to become the guardian for what someone else most treasured in the world that was under threat by our changing climate — and caught their breath yet again, when they realized some sympathetic stranger would eventually be doing the same for them.

And that was just Day One of what was to be a long week of climate activities, inside the halls of power, on the streets, and in countless people-powered spaces around the Bay. The following day, the ribbon was woven beautifully into a human hummingbird mandala aerial action by the edge of the Golden Gate Bridge (see a 90-second video created by Spectral Q, Dancing Without Borders, and partners).

The Ribbon was also featured at the Multi-faith Service of Wondering and Commitment at Grace Cathedral with our partners at Greenfaith, who launched their new initiative, Living the Change, with commitments from all major faiths to sustainability and renewable energy.

Next up: We’re taking the Ribbon to SOCAP18 (a major socially responsible investment conference in SF) in October, and then the massive Parliament of World’s Religions in Toronto in November.

Love and solidarity,

—Andrew & Rae and the whole ribbon team

A Tree Grows in Boulder: SOCAP meets the Climate Ribbon

A Tree Grows in Boulder: SOCAP meets the Climate Ribbon

On June 20, 2018, SOCAP (Social Capital Markets) convened investors, entrepreneurs, and social impact leaders at the Highland City Club in Boulder, Colorado to encourage the funding of climate solutions. As part of the proceedings, SOCAP invited the Climate Ribbon to install a Ribbon Tree and lead a ritual of climate grief and hope. Ribbon co-creator Rae Abileah brought a Ribbon Tree first created by residents of Estes Park, CO. At the SOCAP 365 Chasing Solutions event, over 70 participants had the opportunity to make ribbons and engage with the stories on the Tree. 

Climate Ribbon co-creator Rae Abileah first spoke about the importance of storytelling and art to create cultural change. She was followed by award-winning documentary filmmaker Jeff Orlowski (Chasing Coral, Chasing Ice) who shared what he has witnessed on the frontlines of climate change, and how his films have sparked conversation on climate chaos in faith communities, especially in the South. The presentations complemented each other in highlighting the importance of narrative and visuals in prompting action.

The Climate Ribbon Tree became a sacred space for people to share their climate griefs and hopes. Participants wrote on ribbons what they love and hope to never to lose to climate chaos (Matt from Denver, CO, wrote: “If temps continue to rise, the trout that I love to fish for cannot survive. You can only protect what you love.”). People then tied their ribbons onto the Tree, found another one that moved them deeply, and became the guardian of that person’s story. This last step helped to build an “intimate solidarity” that now — with thousands of people having shared ribbons at hundreds of rituals  — spans the globe. 

Since the Climate Ribbon was so well received, it may make an appearance at SOCAP 18 from October 23-26, 2018 in San Francisco, CA.  Stay tuned!

The experience at SOCAP 365 brought an interesting lesson home. While we often use the Climate Ribbon to engage communities who have not yet activated around climate change, time and again we see how important it is for people in the movement - from climate experts to seasoned activists - to reconnect with what’s personally at stake for them. The Climate Ribbon creates a meaningful space to do this, helping participants renew their commitments to action and forge relationships with strangers they may never meet again yet with whom they feel a common destiny. This is as true at the huge climate mobilizations (NY 2014, Paris 2015, etc.) where the Ribbon has been displayed, as it is at the many smaller funder and investor gatherings to which the Ribbon Tree has been invited, such as the Climate & Energy Funders Group Meeting, the Tides Foundation in San Francisco, and the Compton Foundation funders’ gathering in Paris

Invite the Climate Ribbon to your next event or conference! Be in touch with us at mailto:climateribbon@gmail.com.

Or, learn how to build your own Climate Ribbon Tree: here and here.

Download our DIY kit here.

A big thanks to SOCAP 365 event coordinator Liz Maxwell who made this installation in Boulder happen, and was an integral team member for the Climate Ribbon’s first-ever installation at the People’s Climate March in NYC in 2014! And thanks as well to volunteer help from Micha Kurz and Munq DeVoe. Finally, our gratitude to the Highland City Club for hosting this powerful evening in their beautiful garden amphitheater.

Elementary Kids Exchange Ribbons Across the Country

Elementary Kids Exchange Ribbons Across the Country

In April 2018, we had our first long-distance exchange of ribbons between elementary school classes. We received an email from teacher Jennifer Doolas, who made Climate Ribbons with her students at a school in Chicago and wanted to exchange them. This prompted us to get in touch with another teacher, Dena Maple, who teaches at a Jewish day school in Encino, California, and she was inspired to do a lesson plan with her students on climate change, and to have her kids make and exchange ribbons with Ms. Doolas’s class. 

Pictured above are some of Ms. Maple’s students holding up their ribbons. 

Would your school like to make Climate Ribbons and exchange them with other classes? Download our Climate Ribbon DIY kit to learn how to do it. And email us at climateribbon[at]gmail[dot]com if you have questions or want help finding a class to exchange with!

Junior Ranger Day at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Junior Ranger Day at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Over 150 children and their families added climate ribbons to a pop-up exhibit during Junior Ranger Day in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Participants were inspired by a baby sequoia tree from the park's native plant nursery to think about what they'd like to protect from climate chaos. They were invited to tie their ribbons to a trellis surrounding the sequoia. By mid-day the trellis was completely covered, the ribbons ran out, and rangers substituted pink flagging material--normally used as markers during resource management projects--for the rest of the event.

A big thank you to Emily Zivot, Subdistrict Interpreter at Sequoia's Foothills Visitor Center, for coordinating the Climate Ribbon activity!  We look forward to more Ribbon activities at future national park events.


The Climate Ribbon as an Activity for Art Teachers

The Climate Ribbon as an Activity for Art Teachers

On April 19, 2018, Megan Stevens led her class in the Climate Ribbon art ritual, and students tied their ribbons onto a living tree at Metro State University in Denver, CO. Megan led her fellow 14 classmates in Intro to Art Ed: History and Philosophy in the ribbon, as part of a presentation on how to use art in the classroom to talk about social justice themes. 

This is a text that one of her classmates sent her after the presentation: "Can I just tell you how much I appreciate you. I loved your presentation and thank you for including us in something so important. ️” 

We agree that the Climate Ribbon can be a meaningful project to do in art classes with students in the 4th - 12th grade. Download our Climate Ribbon DIY kit to learn how to do it. And emails us at climateribbon[at]gmail[dot]com if you have questions!




How to build a tree and facilitate a unifying ritual for a group of 50+ participants

How to build a tree and facilitate a unifying ritual for a group of 50+ participants

Here's the story of how the Estes Valley Indivisible group used the Climate RIbbon project to create a Tree of Unity in the Colorado Rockies... and how you can too. 

By: Rae Abileah and Jasmine Holan

On Sunday, April 8, the Climate Ribbon was invited to Estes Valley Indivisible (EVI), as a main feature at their one year anniversary special event. After an inaugural year of many success, a major challenge that could have split the group was overcome. To mark the anniversary and celebrate coming together, Jasmine Holan and Rae Abileah co-created the ritual presentation, and in the process dreamed up a new version of how to make and assemble a Climate Ribbon Tree, that you can use in your community. The ritual went beautifully and the group brainstormed ideas for how to use the Climate Ribbon in their local outreach, renewable energy campaigns, and community engagement moving forward. They formed a steering committee with eight people to put these ideas into action… stay tuned for more!

Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth invites participation with Climate Ribbon Chalice

Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth invites participation with Climate Ribbon Chalice

Following a successful Climate Ribbon event back in 2015 at the Unitarian Universalist Association’s General Assembly, featuring a 5-foot tall “Climate Ribbon Chalice” made from a discarded patio umbrella, in April 2018 the UU’s Ministry for Earth renovated the Chalice and invited members to create new ribbons.  They invited UU climate activists to use the Climate Ribbon to engage members of their congregations in climate justice ministry by creating an interactive community art installation that would stand throughout 2018 and beyond.

They recalled that the Climate Ribbon ritual at the 2015 assembly was particularly moving, with hundreds of participants weaving their ribbons into the chalice. Together, their ribbons created a collective testimony to Unitarian Universalists’ connection and commitment to climate justice, and were used in a worship service organized by the UU Young Adults for Climate Justice, as shown here:

Climate Ribbon Chalice -- Worship Service @ General Assembly 2015 (Portland)

We are so happy to hear that the UU has renovated their beautiful Chalice, into which they will continue to weave their heartfelt thoughts and emotions!

2017 Year in Review

The Climate Ribbon team hopes you’re having a wonderful holiday season. However, we understand if sometimes it’s hard to maintain a cheery face amid the onslaught of national and global crises.  And since you’re reading this, you surely understand perhaps the greatest crisis of all: ever-quickening climate chaos.

We at the Climate Ribbon believe the best way to approach this alarming new reality is head-on – and together.  Much like the AIDS Memorial Quilt galvanized its generation, the Climate Ribbon uses art and ritual and to help us witness our mounting losses, and turn our grief into action.

In 2017, people across the country — from the People’s Climate March in DC to Congregation Nevei Kodesh in Boulder to the Climate & Energy Funders Group Meeting in San Francisco — created climate ribbon installations and committed to using their life force in this unique moment in history to turn the tide on climate change.

In 2018, we’re taking the Climate Ribbon to the next level, with several exciting partnerships in the works, which we’ll tell you more about in the new year.

Here are some highlights from 2017:  

Climate & Energy Funders Group Meeting, San Francisco, CA, April 14

People's Climate March, Washington, DC, April 29

Native Plants & Prairies Day, Dallas, Texas, May 6

Get Organized BK, Brooklyn, NY, July 25

ARISE Music Festival, Loveland, CO, August 4-6

Rosh Hashanah prayer service, Congregation Nevei Kodesh, Boulder, CO, September 21

5 Years After Sandy: We Remember, We Resist, We Rise, New York, NY, October 28

The Climate Ribbon inspired the youth-led Sunrise Movement to launch a nationwide Climate Time Capsule campaign in fall ‘17.

And here are some of the beautiful thoughts people wrote at these events:

  • “Wildlife, birds, trees, flowers, my sanity, soil, recreation, walks by the lake, my joy.”
  • “I will miss the opportunity for my grandson to enjoy nature as I knew it.”
  • “Hope – I pray to never lose hope, no matter how dark it gets.  And, fresh peaches!”
  • “My state – Florida – and all of our unique flora and fauna. The Everglades!”

If you’re inspired to put together some ribbons yourself, you can do so with the help of our new 1-page DIY toolkit!  Let your imagination run wild. And if you do put a ribbon display together, please tell us about it at climateribbon@gmail.com!

And, if you’re inspired to contribute to keep this project going into the new year, please support the Climate Ribbon’s work towards environmental sanity and sustainability with a tax-deductible contribution. Only with your support can we continue our work into 2018 and beyond.  From the bottom of our hearts, thank you!

If you'd prefer to donate by check, please make it payable to "Backbone Campaign” (our 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor). On the memo line, please indicate "Climate Ribbon." Mail your check to: Climate Ribbon, ℅ Backbone Campaign, PO Box 278, Vashon, WA 98070. Thank you. 

Thank you so much for your consideration!  Again, we wish you and your families all the best as our precious home Earth makes another trip around the sun.

For future generations,
Andy, Andrew, Gan, Kate and Rae

5 Years After Sandy: We Remember, We Resist, We Rise

5 Years After Sandy: We Remember, We Resist, We Rise

The Climate Ribbon participated in an important event commemorating the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Sandy in New York City – “We Remember, We Resist, We Rise” (#Sandy5). Over 3,000 attendees gathered to honor the people affected by one of the worst storms in U.S. history, and to demand bold climate action from Mayor de Blasio, Governor Cuomo, and Senator Schumer.  Following a rally in Brooklyn’s Cadman Plaza Park and a march across the Brooklyn Bridge, attendees congregated at the Alfred E. Smith houses, a housing complex that was severely impacted by the storm.

Upon arriving, attendees participating in an art build – painting the tarmac, drawing banners, and writing on & hanging ribbons on our screen!  In response to what people love and hope never to lose to climate change, people wrote messages such as:

“Hope – I pray to never lose hope, no matter how dark it gets.  And, fresh peaches!”   - Daniel, 24, Boulder, CO

“My state – Florida – and all of our unique flora and fauna.  The Everglades!”   - Sharon Brown, St. Petersburg, FL

“Earth, water, wind and fire – for all”   - Anonymous

We wish to thank our four incredible volunteers who helped set up, explain the CR to interested passers-by, and close down shop afterward: Sally Gellert, Becca Lynch, Brenna Cohen, and Caron Atlas.  It was such a great help to have you there.  Thank you again!



Andy Wanning, Climate Ribbon Project Coordinator


ARISE Music Festival

ARISE Music Festival

The 350.org Colorado booth featured the Climate Ribbon at the 2017 Arise Festival in Loveland, CO. Many concert-goers made ribbons, including dozens of kids and parents, and read through the collection of ribbons from around the world that hung from the booth. Photos and action were facilitated by CR co-creator Rae Abileah. 

The Climate Ribbon is a simple activity you can bring to your organization’s next tabling event. Download our toolkit on our Participate page to find out more! 


Huge shout out to Caron Atlas, Arts & Democracy, for bringing the Climate Ribbon to Brooklyn! The #GetOrganizedBK Civic Festival took place on July 25 from 5-8pm at the Prospect Park Bandshell. The festival celebrated the great work being done by local community members and organizations. Around 1,500 Brooklynites were in attendance, and the Climate Ribbon was a moving part of the tabling activities. Councilmember Brad Lander, Advocate Letitia James, NY State Assembly members Robert Carroll and Jo Anne Simon made ribbons alongside many Brooklynites. Thanks Assemblyman Carroll for tweeting about the Climate Ribbon and thank you Councilmember Lander for posting about it on facebook! And thanks to Raquel de Anda for volunteering to help bring the Ribbon to Brooklyn! 

Thanks #GetOrganizedBK and thank you Caron!