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Group Fights Climate Change with Knitting

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IOWA CITY, Iowa - Seven grannies, in the Old Capital Mall, at a table. They're not playing Parcheesi, or a mundane game of Mahjong. They're fighting for a cleaner environment with needles and yarn, what they call a "snit-in."

"It's kind of a take off a sit-in and a knit-in. And we're in a snit because of the climate change," said Rebecca Ross with the Iowa City-based environmentalism group 100 Grannies for a Livable Future.

Ross said the ladies worry pollution will have wrecked the world by the time their grand kids grow up.

"If we don't solve the climate problem, the other problems aren't going to matter," said Katharine Nicholson with100 Grannies.

So how will the stitching of knitting and sitting help? The women admit their first ever "snit-in" isn't really about the things they're stringing together, but rather the attention they nab from people passing by.

"We mainly just wanted to get together, have some fun, and have our posters out. Just get people aware of what's going on," said Maureen Arensdorf, another member of the group.

The "snit-in" came to the group, after they saw a similar environmentalism group, Knitting Nannas, give it a try in Australia.

"They're really a hoot, so we're hoping to somehow get to their level eventually," said Arensdorf.

The ladies want to grow their numbers and have a "snit-in", each month. They said they realize they can't tackle climate change all at once. So, they're starting small, petitioning city and county government to phase out the use of plastic bags.

"Plastic bags are made from fossil fuels and basically never go away. They're a big pollution problem," said Ross. "We feel like we're making some progress."

The group is nearly two years old, and they do more than knit. 100 Grannies will sponsor lectures on climate change at the Iowa City Senior Center in February and March.

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