SciQuilt – Project Drawdown

Leave a comment

July 27, 2019 by Dr. G

Drawdown is the point in the future when levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere stop climbing and then start to steadily decline, ultimately reversing global warming. — from Project Drawdown website

In Summer 2019, I was extremely fortunate to be able to serve as a faculty mentor to one of the 55 undergraduate student researchers selected to be a part of the Project Drawdown REU at Penn State University (my Drawdown Scholar is a rising sophomore at Penn State Brandywine, a food science major that worked on a project to generated Pennsylvania-themed podcasts addressing efforts in the state to reverse global warming).

During the first day of Drawdown orientation, each student and faculty/staff in the room (and on Zoom) were asked to introduce themselves and reveal a “superpower” they have, or unusual skill/experience. I shared that I crochet science data and quilt science stories. The reaction from the students in the room was exciting for me to hear, and it inspired me to think of my own project during this Project Drawdown summer. I decided to create a quilt that highlights the eight sectors (the broad categories that solutions are grouped in to, where each solution reduces greenhouse gases by avoiding emissions and/or by sequestering carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere).

The eight sectors are represented by the fabrics in this slideshow:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Links to additional information about these sectors on the Project Drawdown website:

Buildings and Cities, Electricity Generation, Food, Land Use, Materials and Waste, Ocean, Transportation, Women and Girls

For the quilt, I decided to use a Sudoku pattern from McCall’s QuickQuilts Magazine (November 2006). I used the Penn State Drawdown REU logo and created a fabric with the image at The other fabrics were purchased at Jo-Ann’s and online at Spoonflower.


I felt the Sudoku pattern was appropriate, with Sudoku known as a challenging puzzle. It is one where multiple options must be explored to reach a solution, but a solution can be achieved. Each of these sectors are contained in the solution but relate to the other sectors in different ways within each of the nine blocks (meaning, are in a different position and may be more closely related/adjacent to each other than in the other blocks).

The pattern of each fabric matches each sector. The blue and white for the borders are Penn State colors. Both fabrics have a “cracked” pattern. The outer white fabric has a lighter color for the cracking, making it harder to see and what represents to me the closer we are coming to solutions and healing the planet. How are we reaching those solutions? Through the efforts of the 55 Drawdown Scholars that completed their research at Penn State this summer. The students are getting us closer to solving the puzzle! This is why the students have signed around the border of the quilt.


The backing fabric is a global print, representing that global warming is a global challenge and takes a global effort to reach drawdown.


This is my story of Drawdown – a challenge that has a solution, but we may need to spend some time and think about different ways and combinations to approach the solution before reaching it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Follow me on Instagram

Tuesday of the @scienceathon #DayOfScience and there won't be much posting, as today is a full day of teaching (three 75-minute classes). This semester, I'm teaching multiple sections of a course titled "Earth in the Future: Predicting Climate Change and Its Impacts Over the Next Century." We're currently discussing ecosystems and agriculture, and today's topics will include the Svalbard Seed Vault and Biosphere 2. We'll listen to some short podcasts on each topic and map the narrative to the COMPASS Message Box, which the students are using to design their own podcasts this semester, recording solutions to reversing global warming according to the Project Drawdown sectors. This is my first chance to introduce students to the #scienceathon and to the recently-posted final exam schedule (we're starting Week 8 of the 15-week semester, but who's counting?). #scienceathon #scientistswhoselfie #womeninscience #womeninstem #whatfacultydo
Ending my Monday @scienceathon #DayOfScience by taking a walk around the neighborhood, listening to some groovy tunes, and meeting my husband at his trolley stop (he works in Philadelphia, but we love living in @visitmediapa which is where I work. Fortunately, he can take advantage of public transit to get back/forth to the city). I try to walk to meet him as many days as possible to get away from the computer screen and to exchange stories about how our days went on the walk home. Tonight, we grabbed take-out from a local Thai restaurant, since he has to work late the next two evenings and we won't have the opportunity to eat together again until later in the week. #scienceathon #scientistswhoselfie #womeninscience #womeninstem #worklifebalance
Another @scienceathon #DayOfScience activity for Monday - meeting after meeting after meeting around the two letters that faculty members dread to hear together. Yes, I'm talking about P&T, which stands for promotion and tenure. I've successfully navigated this process, yet I'm frustrated and disappointed that I can count on one hand the number of women in STEM that have reached the rank of full professor outside of the Penn State University Park campus (and Penn State has 24 campuses). So I mentor rising STEM stars and colleagues in all disciplines, and I serve on P&T Committees and complete reviews at all levels to work towards bringing more diverse voices to the ranks. #scienceathon #scientistswhoselfie #womeninscience #womeninstem #whatfacultydo
Monday of my #DayOfScience starts off with finishing up a blog post that I need to wrap up from my experience at the Sound Education Conference last week. I maintain two blogs - one is on geoscience education and educational technology (GeoEd Trek, for AGU), and the other is my Journeys of Dr. G blog, where I share my stories of what it is like to be a scientist, mentor, teacher, etc. It is a deeper dive and reflection into my professional experiences (and an explanation for why I had to cancel classes on students). I'm blogging in the dark, since the motion sensor for the light in my office is nowhere near my desk, and the lights go out which has caused this glaring screen image. But I finished the post! Time for a 9AM meeting! #dayofscience #scienceathon #scientistswhoselfie #womeninscience #womeninstem @americangeophysicalunion @soundeducationfm @scienceathon
More Sunday @scienceathon - Hanging out with my stuffed dog Razzie (named from RSMAS (University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science, where I earned my PhD - the school colors are green and orange; hence, the name!) for another celebration today, the @tasteofsciphl first #SciFailFest Twitter Chat! It's a pretty cool idea - the national Taste of Science Twitter account tweets out questions pertaining to failures in science, with the hashtag #scifailfest. Individual city teams (such as Philadelphia) then respond to these questions with responses collected from their respective communities. I contributed responses to the Philly questions - thrilled to see my answers contribute to the online conversation! #DayForFailures #ScienceTwitter #AcademicTwitter #tasteofsci #tasteofsciPHL #scicomm #SciFailFest #ScienceFailures @tasteofsciPHL @umiamirsmas @tasteofscience #DayOfScience #ScienceAThon #ScientistsWhoSelfie #WomenInScience #WomenInSTEM
%d bloggers like this: