The earth cannot take it any more

https://theconversation.com/human-disruption-to-earths-freshwater-cycle-has-exceeded-the-safe-limit-our-research-shows-182562

Please read the above. Learn how each of us can stay informed and help with solutions. We cannot be silent or passive. We can help if we use our 7 billion minds together.

See how young scientists are working on Tech Solutions:

https://www.climatetrace.org/

My notes made some years ago
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Oil Plunder

Virunga National Park, home, to the last mountain gorillas and people of the Congo, has been placed in a deal to auction off the precious territory to countries like the US and UK so they can drill for oil!

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2022/07/25/world/congo-auction-land-oil-companies

This is a major and significant betrayal of all those posturing leaders who have promoted climate change pledges.

Fossil fuels must be allowed to decline. PLEASE – NO MORE DRILLING FOR NEW OIL SOURCES. WE KNOW WE ARE TIPPING INTO CLIMATE CATASTROPHE ALREADY.

Whatever we do from this day forward to innovate we must first establish with evidence our activities WILL DO NO HARM.

Clearly, DRILLING in new territory oil WILL DO GREAT HARM. We all know the immense poverty of the Congolese will not be changed by this auction. The rich will get richer as always.

https://www.awf.org/pressroom/iucn-africa-protected-areas-congress-culminates-kigali-call-action?ms=B23N01E03M&af=aUGcATiWFTZ2JSL9EEC62qp0uZUvWUEi%2BvVX3FNSQWZuw0kMNZjZm95oD8o5WMbnrucktUqyhaYE4CpVqae59fL%2BfzEWeurUcvV9enbDNN8%3D&spMailingID=27082657&spUserID=MTkyNTk5MjIwNzczS0&spJobID=2244093764&spReportId=MjI0NDA5Mzc2NAS2

Understanding Carbon Credits:

https://www.desmog.com/2022/07/28/murky-world-of-carbon-offsets-faces-greater-scrutiny/

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The Sand is Running Out

This metaphor is so appropriate as we miss deadlines for reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, as we plunder finite resources to intensely build renewables and electricity storage technology, thus expanding the greenwashing message.

We cannot unlearn the centuries of intelligent technological development. We rightly pride ourselves in these magnificent achievements and we are still excelling. We love and wonder at our economic miracles based on technology in all spheres. We cannot stop. We will not stop. We will go down with the ship. We are committed.

I recognise my efforts to study how we have evolved to become such a threat to this incredibly wonderful planet has led me to this sad conclusion. The last straw was when I read of another start-up brilliant idea from two young Finnish entrepreneurs – to store electricity using a sand battery.

Sand Battery

It is such a clever idea. Like all solutions it will have to harm the planet immeasurably if it is to be mass produced. I have written of the harm lithium batteries cause, but sand seems so much kinder.

So I asked myself, as I was impressed with the concept, has the Earth enough sand to meet the demand it currently has provided, let alone add to the demand created this new invention?

It didn’t take long to find a blog on the subject.

That blog highlighted a 2019 UN Report on the problem urging global governance of this scarce resource.

Everything we try to do to combat climate change involves us doing what we know best: plunder the remaining resources this Earth can offer to create products which are widely sold to tell us we are using them to combat climate change.

Rivers are the source of the gritty sand which is in demand here.

Builders Sand

The alarming destruction is rarely put before us as the crisis it is. The Guardian tackled the issue here.

From Cambodia to California, industrial-scale sand mining is causing wildlife to die, local trade to wither and bridges to collapse. And booming urbanisation means the demand for this increasingly valuable resource is unlikely to let up……

Greenpeace has been campaigning on this subject for a long time. But maybe people do not take any notice as they say, ‘well they would, they are Greenpeace’ as if they are bored with their continual efforts to protect our planet.

Combine Fracking with Sand mining and you get appalling ecological harm. In this linked article it says:

The journal Science reported that there have been over 300 earthquakes above magnitude 3 on the Richter scale, which are therefore deemed significant, from 2010 to 2012. This equates to 100 a year – which is compared with a past average of 21 per year.

But there is no protection of any real meaning as the gas obtained has turned around the economy of the US, which in turn is keeping gas supplied to many nations who would otherwise have to seek it from less friendly nations.

Everything we do to keep our endeavors moving forward, in the way we have chosen through technology, is causing immense harm to the planet. We do not appear to have any alternative ideas going by what the corporate world presents to us.

Given the will, emissions can be reduced effectively without adverse consequence: see

https://www.watttime.org/

We can make immediate changes if we use our well documented intelligence. Maybe we are really not that clever? Or are we being led by the nose to inevitable destruction through Greenwashing techniques and investments in destructive processes?

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Agricultural solutions

I have just watched a Euronews coverage of how enterprising solutions have enabled Algerian farmers to utilise the water table below the desert and renewable electricity to grow potatoes and other foods in specially cultivated areas. Watch at:

https://www.euronews.com/2022/06/27/from-sand-to-spuds-how-algeria-galvanised-its-agricultural-sector

This made me think to look for more ideas around the world to help farmers. I will keep looking and adding to this page.

Sustainable farming in a drought without irrigation, California:

https://earthjustice.org/blog/2015-august/real-sustainability-dry-farming-in-a-drought

Imperial College, London, pointing out possible nature based solutions when combating the effects of climate change:

https://www.imperial.ac.uk/news/232336/nature-based-solutions-mitigate-impact-climate-change

And we can avoid pesticides to clear weeds. Just use goats!

https://www.goatsforweeds.ca/post/why-goats-are-better-than-pesticides

Those who live in poverty in Brazil are gardening their way to healthier eating:

https://m.dw.com/en/the-thriving-gardens-at-the-heart-of-rio-de-janeiros-favelas/a-61377873

Decontaminating soil before growing vegetables:

https://www.thriftyfun.com/Decontaminating-Soil-Before-Growing-Vegetables-1.html

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Does history tell us anything?

I read this recently in Ruth Ben Ghiat’s book, Strongmen:

“The Cold War made Mobutu’s long rule and luxurious lifestyle possible. The age of decolonization marked a shift in the economic order, with the end of European empires bringing the removal of European state capital and the influx of new private and institutional investors. Mobutu’s pro-Western anti-Communism set him up to be a primary recipient of funds from Europeans and Americans who sought to contain the left and continue their influence in a postcolonial age. Over the years his champions and investors included his lobbyists Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, US ambassador to Zaire Sheldon B. Vance, and the family of French president Giscard d’Estaing. In the 1980s, the d’Estaings controlled construction-related businesses that accounted for almost a third of Zaire’s foreign debt. The IMF and the United States Export-Import Bank also lent Mobutu money, even after IMF banker Erwin Blumenthal warned in 1982 that they would likely never recoup their funds. By the time Mobutu was forced into exile in 1997, he had amassed a $5 billion fortune. Zaire lost $12 billion in capital flight and gained $14 billion in debt, with a 699.8 percent average annual rate of inflation and more than 70 percent of the population living in poverty on an average daily wage of $1.4.”

Is your mind connecting the dots? Depending on your personal perspective you may draw different conclusions to me as we now contemplate our present global crises.

Poverty and the associated pain of hunger, disease and shortened lives, seem to me to be linked to manipulations by those who have a psychopathic pleasure in perpetuating outcomes like the above.

Ruth Ben-Ghiat explains:

“Corruption is a process as well as a set of practices, and the word’s Latin and Old French origins imply a change of state due to decay. As implied by popular sayings like “one bad apple spoils the whole bunch,” corruption has always been associated with contamination and degradation, whether of physical objects (like fruit and computer files) or the soul. This notion of corruption captures the operation of strongman regimes. They turn the economy into an instrument of leader wealth creation, but also encourage changes in ethical and behavioral norms to make things that were illegal or immoral appear acceptable, whether election fraud, torture, or sexual assault.”

Democratic Republic of Congo was renamed Zaire by Mobutu. It has a long history of being rich in resources but exploited to this day. See

Africa: the suffering of DR Congo peoples

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When we rebuild

Bertrand Piccard says we must develop wisdom and respect. He is collecting 1000 solutions which exist already, but then will promote them to attract greater investments. We can rebuild whilst not recreating the harmful environments of the past centuries.

https://bertrandpiccard.com/articles/the-1000-solutions-call

Look for existing solutions yourself and try to work out how you can apply them wherever you live. For example, I just found this one today:

Hot sun drying up drinking water? This company have the answer (In the US)

https://energy.phoenixlb.com/source-hydropanels

Cleaning up steel industry slag heaps:

https://imtech.imt.fr/en/2021/02/17/decontaminating-and-treating-waste-from-the-steel-industry

Cleaning up contaminants from hazardous industries:

https://www.environmental-expert.com/health-safety/decontamination/companies

Keep track and decontaminate military waste. This is what happens if you do not:

https://redgreenandblue.org/2017/09/29/military-lost-track-hazardous-waste-put-us-risk

When the land is clean and healthy, only build green cities:

https://thegreencities.eu/

When industrial production and it’s waste was transferred to countries where labour was cheap and industrial regulation was weak, rich countries could clean up their environments and promote cleaner living conditions at the expense of poorer nations. The industrial harm worldwide must end.

Clean and safe water and sanitation for the world population is a priority:

https://ourworldindata.org/water-access

Drinking Water ATM

If you experience butter cold winter and heatwaves over summer, yet use gas to power heating, then build in to new homes air pumps which run warm air in winter and cold air in summer.

https://greenbusinesswatch.co.uk/guides/air-source-heat-pumps#:%7E:text=An%20air%20source%20heat%20pump%20works%20very%20much%20like%20a,compressor%20to%20increase%20the%20temperature

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‘You play with our world, like it’s your little toy’

Dylan put it into words. I am singing it now.

I cannot believe we are seeing a beautiful land and its people being attacked in the 21st century, with the most cruel weapons.

The industries that made these weapons are getting richer as more are ordered. Death will stalk this world whilst the battle for finite resources continues.

We build, you destroy. See Aleppo, then see Mariupol.

https://www.mic.com/articles/162425/syria-before-and-after-these-sobering-photos-show-a-war-torn-aleppo

https://filmmakers-for-ukraine.com/mariupol-i-love-you-takflix

Pontiac Greeks in Mariupol

https://cosmosphilly.com/greeks-and-ukraine-a-long-history

https://www.francona.com/travels/iraq

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Battle for Resources

In Ruth Ben-Ghiat’s book ‘Strongmen’ she says geopolitics is when authoritarian regimes have a …. conception of the state as an organic entity with the right to defend itself from threats to its safety and the right to expand into foreign territory to secure the resources it needs.

Here we are in 2022, watching the world’s leaders scramble to do deals for their nations. Deals to pay oligarchs instead of once state owned resources for finite supplies of oil, gas, rare metals, wheat…..the list goes on, now are shifting to negotiations with other suppliers. Resources are now weaponised. The losers are always at the bottom of the pyramid.

Russia is the largest supplier of fertiliser in the world and shares being a major supplier of wheat with its neighbour, Ukraine.

The crippling situation in Ukraine has resulted in massive trade restrictions on top of disruptions in supply chains globally due to the ongoing Covid pandemic. Countries like Brazil are dependent on Russia for supplying fertiliser for their food security plans. Thousands are suffering famine due to continuing conflicts as countries such as Yemen, Sudan will not get vital wheat supplies, turning their situation more critical than it now is.

I have written about the harmful aspects of the fertiliser industry. Historically, land is grabbed to expand what was once individual plots for local farmers to create huge areas for industrial farming.

Britain’s land use has adapted over the centuries as war and conflict changed the ownership and farming practices. Arable farming is now a science, often discarding good understanding of retaining soil and allowing it to rest and restore its health after use. The Soil Association tries to encourage good practice but it is an uphill struggle against industrial heavyweights who promote harmful products to ‘improve soil and produce’.

Here are the ten countries who had the most arable land in 2016:

Here are the 10 countries with the most arable land:

  1. India (156,463,000 hectares)
  2. United States (152,262,500 hectares)
  3. Russia (123,121,820 hectares)
  4. China (118,900,000 hectares)
  5. Brazil (80,976,000 hectares)
  6. Australia (46,048,000 hectares)
  7. Canada (43,766,000 hectares)
  8. Argentina (39,200,000 hectares)
  9. Nigeria (34,000,000 hectares)
  10. Ukraine (32,776,000 hectares)

According to the FAO, in the year 2013, the world’s arable land amounted to 1,407 million hectares, or about 5.4 million square miles. Arable land worldwide has decreased by nearly one-third since 1961, because of re-forestation, soil erosion, and desertification caused by global climate change.

The United Nations FAO reminds us of the increasingly worrying world food security situation impacted by climate change and conflict over fewer resources. See their charts where they say

The FAO Food Price Index makes a giant leap to another all-time high in March (Release date: 08/04/2022)

Read more about arable land left toxic where toxic weapons have been used.

Our Parliament in the UK saw this tabled in 2018

TOXIC CONTAMINATION OF WAR ZONES

EDM (Early Day Motion)1329: tabled on 04 June 2018

That this House recognises the problem of toxic contamination of war zones, particularly in Iraq; notes the research presented, in March 2018, by Dr Mozhgan Savabieasfahani at the European Environment Foundation; expresses concern at reports of uranium and thorium contamination in the tissues of children living near the US military base in the ancient city of Ur, with those children being seven times more likely to have birth defects; further notes a 2015 resolution by the American Public Health Association stating that parties involved in military activities have a post-conflict responsibility to decontaminate polluted areas; and calls on the Government to work with the US Administration on action to clean up areas polluted by the allied military forces and assist the Iraqi people with remedial health care.

And now we can read of environmental harm as it happens in Ukraine, a country renowned as tenth in the top ten list of countries with a high farming output across its 32,776,000 hectares of arable land. Look how optimistic Ukraine was about projected wheat harvests for 2019 here.

This paragraph is from the Emerging Europe website:

Ukraine’s favourable geographical location; it’s extremely fertile black soil; decent infrastructure and relatively cheap labour force make the country’s agribusiness sector highly competitive. A lot has been achieved in the country over the past 25 years to enable Ukraine to live up to its status as the “breadbasket of Europe” and to help, at least partly, address the global challenge of sustainable food supply and food security.

Why are supplies of sunflower oil running low in some countries?

About 80 per cent of sunflower oil exports come from Ukraine and Russia. Exports from Ukraine have fallen 95 per cent due to Russia’s attack, Ievgen Osypov at trading company Kernel told Bloomberg TV on 5 April. Russia is still exporting the oil, but has said it will impose a quota from 15 April.

Read more: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2315466-why-is-there-a-sunflower-oil-shortage-and-what-can-i-use-instead/#ixzz7QLLzGqm0

This was written in 2020:

“With the flood of grain coming off the fields, Ukraine’s silos will start bursting at their welds next month. Ukraine’s privately run farms are doing fine. Ukraine’s privately run ports are doing fine. In between, the creaking state railroad creates a big bottleneck between the farm gate and the port gate. The solution is to allow private locomotives on state tracks — a practice followed by all of Ukraine’s EU neighbours. In addition, cargo rates have to be raised to regional levels. At present, several well-known oligarchs are beggaring the public railroad for private gain,” UBN editor Jim Brooke said in a note.   

The likely replacement for sunflower oil will be the infamous palm oil from plantations which do such great ecological harm.

Brazil and Argentina will be growing their own wheat to feed livestock, destroying the Rainforest in order to supply burgers and beef to meet high demand. No wheat will be arriving from Ukraine any time soon.

Reducing the emphasis on meat eating and improving farming practices would free up produce to feed the world without much effort.

We must rethink how we use the food we grow, how we use the land to provide uncontaminated crops, how we make each plot of land sacred and tied to our human survival.

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Recycling Plastic and Thinking Disassembly

This planet is drowning in plastic, the forever chemical made from oil.

Peak oil production was during the 1970s.

If we assume that consumption patterns continue at their current rate, we will need three times as many natural resources by the year 2050 compared to those used in the year 2000.

World Footprint: Today, we require the equivalent of 1.7 Earths to provide the resources we use and to absorb our waste. See Global Footprint Network, 2019

Industrial uses of oil to make polymers for textiles is slowly moving from new to recycled production.

Recycling is big business.

Plastic recycling machine

We now see clothing manufacturers, such as Craghoppers UK, informing us of how many plastic bottles it took to make a particular garment. Lifelong guarantees are issued for each garment produced in this way. The philosophy is that these forever chemicals have been recycled into clothing rather than allowed to end up in the oceans. But, even if the next generation can still wear these items of clothing, they will never safely biodegrade. Thus, like all forever chemicals used over the last two centuries, they all pose a threat to life on earth.

During the 2000s, designers like Stella McCartney, influenced the fashion world to avoid animal based fabrics and find alternatives. This was a response to the appalling billions of animals murdered cruelly for human fashion demands.

In this presently resource scarce world, young designers  propose a vision to eliminate, or at least minimize, the use of pure virgin materials.

In ‘Circular Fashion’ by Peggy Blum, we can see the ideas emerging in the fashion and textile industries to lead us out of the mire of constant planet harm. Instead we can be inspired and empowered to think differently.

We can all be designers of our personal creative expression. We can decide on the way forward to assist our ailing planet and aim to reduce our waste from extremely hazardous to harmless.

You can still have fast fashion if you select materials that decompose naturally. Just as we are seeing packaging becoming compostable, so we can wear compostable clothing.

She also informs us of another technique, drawn from the world of architecture

DISASSEMBLY IN DESIGN Design for disassembly takes its cue from sustainable architecture. It is one of the six core principles within the Cradle to Cradle Certified™/Built Positive movement, in which buildings and products are designed intentionally for material recovery, value retention, and meaningful next use. When designing for disassembly, materials, products, and components must be easily separated and then easily reassembled without damage so that they can be recovered, with their value retained, and then meaningfully recycled. There are three important rules for disassembly in design:

1. Careful selection and use of materials: If you check the label of a garment you are wearing right now, there is a high chance that the fabric is composed of a blend of different fibers, usually a mix of cotton and polyester. When designing for disassembly, it is recommended to use mono materials—materials that consist of one fiber, as these can be easily recycled.

2. Healthy and safe design of the components and product: Toxic dyes, glues, or finishes that may cause negative environmental impact should be avoided.

3. Simple selection and use of fasteners: Any hardware, trims, or notions should be easy to remove, so they can be recovered and reused. Currently this often has to be done by hand.

Consider how a garment can be designed for disassembly. Start by identifying each component (material, buttons, trims, linings, etc.) of the product, and then take into account how each component can be reused or recycled.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has been involved in helping focus minds on reducing waste since its founder, the famous round-the-world yachtswoman, retired and dedicated herself to the cause.

This is from her website:

“Everything that surrounds us has been designed by someone: the clothes we wear, the buildings we live in, even the way we get our food. The Montreal Design Declaration defines design as “the application of intent: the process through which we create the material, spatial, visual and experiential environments in a world made ever more malleable by advances in technology and materials, and increasingly vulnerable to the effects of unleashed global development.”

Put another way, design is the way we create products, services and systems, and is the mechanism by which we shape the material environment around us to meet our needs and desires.

Crucially, when something is designed important decisions are made that impact how it is manufactured, how it is used, and what happens when it is no longer needed or wanted. It is exceedingly difficult to go back and undo the effects of those decisions if they are later found to produce undesirable consequences.”

We can no longer let other people battle against these problems. As consumers, we can choose eco friendly, preferably biodegradable, products. We can buy products which have been designed for disassembly and recycling. We can watch YouTube re-purposing, upcycling videos to inspire us and learn how to turn items we have bought into further useful items. We can work extra hard to give lifelong use to what we already own and thus avoid sending to the last resort, landfill.

Find out what young people are doing to create sustainable products, example, this from waste produce.

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A to Z of Synthetic Fibers for Fashion

A fiber is defined as any product capable of being woven or otherwise made into a fabric. (See educational site).

Fibers created for the textile industry through:

Agricultural products: cotton or wool

Units: such as nylon or polyester manufactured in a chemical plant

The first commercial production of a manufactured fibre was achieved by French chemist, Count Hilaire de Chardonnet, who in 1889 caused a sensation in the Paris Exhibition when he showed his ‘artificial silk’.

Chemists have been responsible for creating many synthetic materials since the 19th century. The acceleration of environmental harm caused by chemicals began during the Industrial Age. Such was the innovation and perceived brilliance of polymaths since Robert Hooke in the two centuries earlier, that these minds were hailed and sought after by those who wanted to build industries based on their ideas.

Hooke determined that if proper liquid were squirted through a small aperture and allowed to congeal a fiber can be produced. This is how the life of man made fibers begins. They are a sticky liquid which is ‘spun’ or extruded through spinneret holes, forming streams that are solidified into fibers. Just as we know the Spinning Jenny transformed cloth production, so engineers have advanced the making of materials in the textile industry. As humans, we constantly marvel at these machines and systems and the constant improvements, innovations and intricacies of the manufacturing process. After all, the fashion industry is clothing us all, to suit all types, to suit all climates, often breathable fabrics without movement restrictions, fitting close to our skin or hanging elegantly to keep us cool. Now the textile industry is having to find alternatives to the seductive oil based resources, and this is a tall order.

During the last century oil has been the main resource for creating fibers. Our dependence on oil has sounded the death knell for the Planet, a major contributing factor of which we are all aware and have been for over a century. But corporates continue to expand and invest in ‘brilliant’ innovations which utilise oil based fibers in everything we humans deem is vital to our immediate, short term, survival. There is a view that we can intensify our use of fossil fuels in order to escape our dependence by building ‘green’ solutions such as wind turbines and solar panels. This is not a circular plan, it is a linear plan; and that is why it is hard to see the logic.

The Fashion Industry seeks cheap solutions with Fast Fashion churning out thousands of items marketed as wear and dispose. Companies like Zara are one of the biggest Fast Fashion suppliers most of us have heard of. If Fast Fashion encourages plastic based clothing into landfill, then it has to come to a Fast Halt.

Man Made Fibers we all recognise as being part of our wardrobe:

  • Acrylic: Cheap to produce, can be used to make fake fur, cloths and furnishings. It’s warm and resistant to dirt but can pill and get bobbly when rubbed.
  • Polyester: Strong and holds a pleat well. It can melt if heated too high. It is easy to wash and dry. Suitable for sportswear, sheets and curtains.
  • Elastane: A very stretchy fabric which is easy to care for. Washes and dries well, highly flammable. Used for leggings and tights, can be blended with other fabrics to make them stretch.
  • Microfibres: Microscopic fibres are knitted or woven into tight, strong materials which are warm and easy care. (Tactel, Tencell).

Here are some fabrics, many we have known as made from wool, cotton, silk but now are blended with oil based fibers:

Bunting is traditionally made from a lightweight wool, but alternative materials include plastic, synthetic fabrics, and paper. To find eco friendly bunting search online.

Challis is a lightweight woven fabric. It can be made from cotton, silk, or wool (or often a blend), but is now sometimes produced from man-made fabrics, such as rayon.

Chiffon is a lightweight and sheer fabric. Can be made from cotton, silk, or synthetic fibers

Elastane is a synthetic fiber that is stronger and more durable than rubber, while still retaining exceptional elasticity.

Faux-leather is a synthetic fabric that replicates the look of real leather.

Fleece and microfleece are made from PET, a plastic. Not to be confused with the fleece of a sheep or goat.

Gabardine is a tough fabric with a tight weave. Traditionally worsted wool, but can be cotton, polyester, or a blend. Used for suits, overcoats, uniforms.

The allure of these amazing materials which influenced us such as Lurex, with Elvis making his famous lurex suit the memorable image of the 1950s, is why it is so hard to turn ourselves away from purchasing items like lurex (made from a polyester fiber with a vaporized layer of aluminium applied).

For a more detailed alphabetical list of fabrics, see this glossary by the NY Fashion Center. So many times you will read of a familiar fabric which is now blended with a synthetic fiber. These blends bring improvements and advantages to the cloth, (such as durability, stretch, stain resistance and cost efficiency) but the introduction of oil based fibers has brought us to the endgame for our beautiful planet.

Looking down the list of fabrics we still have some recognisable material which has not been blended with synthetics, but so often it originates as cotton or wool, and previous blogs explain why there are environmental issues with those most popular sources. We have seen animals driven to extinction when they were our first choice for clothing, so oil based yarn developments have rescued many from the edge of extinction. Now we are all threatened with extinction with our dependence on oil.

The Fashion Industry is going to have to lead us out of this mess where we dispose of our clothing into landfill, where it will not biodegrade ever. Oil is a forever chemical. As consumers we have to educate ourselves about alternatives and biodegradable Everything. We can support all companies which are working to offer us a way forward, but we must not be fooled by marketing lies.

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