The True Cost

True-Cost5-620x330I have considered myself a relatively well-informed person, but there was a lot of information in “The True Cost” that surprised me. The documentary travels around the world to show the impact of the fashion industry on both human rights and the environment. It’s shocking and horrifying – far worse than you ever dreamed. In other words, the true cost of the clothes we wear is extreme.

We’ve all heard of “sweat shops” around the world, but filmmaker Andrew Morgan puts a face on those sweat shops by interviewing some of the workers. They talk about their lives and what has happened to them – in tears. He also interviews Stella McCartney, Livia Firth (Colin Firth’s wife) of Eco-Age, and Indian environmental activist Dr. Vandana Shiva.
True-Cost4-620x349 - CopyHere are just a few of the tidbits I learned from the film:

  • In the past two decades, clothing consumption has increased 500%. It’s called “fast fashion,” and it’s deadly – literally – in several different ways.
  • In the 1960s, the U.S. produced more than 90% of our clothing, but now we only produce 3%. Why? Because corporations go where the labor is cheapest and where there are no regulations to protect the workers. Why do governments allow it? Because if they didn’t, corporations would pull out and go someplace that does allow it.
  • The average garment worker in the Third World makes the equivalent of $2-$3 per day. And no, that is not a living wage in those countries.
  • Prior to the collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh that killed more than a thousand garment workers, they had told management many times that there were cracks in the building.
  • The year after the tragedy at Rana Plaza, the fashion industry had its most profitable year of all time.
  • If workers dare to complain to management about their working conditions, they are often beaten.
  • The fashion industry is the most labor-dependent industry on earth.
  • Demand for cotton is causing farmers – both in the U.S. and elsewhere – to turn techniques with terrible health and ecological effects.
  • Due to the chemicals used in farming and in factories, children of workers are often born with horrific mental and physical defects. The workers themselves, both in the U.S. and abroad, often develop cancer and other illnesses.
  • In 16 years, more than 250,000 farmers in India committed suicide – one every 30 minutes. They often kill themselves by drinking the pesticides used on their crops.
  • The cheap clothing we buy is now overflowing our landfills. They do not biodegrade for 200 years.
  • Only about 10% of the clothes we donate to thrift shops are actually sold.
  • The fashion industry pollutes the planet more than any other industry except oil.
  • According to the documentary, the major clothing corporations (H&M and The Gap among them) don’t directly own the factories or employ the workers, so they can pretend to be blameless in all this. Yet, when legislation was introduced to make sure workers abroad are treated fairly, these corporations fought it.

These are just a handful of the things I learned from “The True Cost.” I recommend that you see this film if you care at all about the environment and global human rights, and if you don’t want to buy clothes without knowing the true cost of them. Opening worldwide on May 29th. Visit http://truecostmovie.com for more details.  Look for it in your city, and if it isn’t playing there, watch for it on VOD and DVD.

Source:  True Cost Movie, Reel Life With Jane

Adidas New Pledge

In an effort to bolster its commitment to sustainability, Adidas announced on Monday that it would begin developing materials out of plastic ocean waste to ultimately use in its products.

In a press release, the iconic clothing corporation said it’s teaming up with the Parley for the Oceans, a group of artists, scientists, musicians and designers dedicated to cleaning up the world’s oceans. Together, they plan on developing fibers made from plastic ocean waste that can be used in the manufacturing of clothing and potentially in shoes.

areyouready-plastic-bags

In the short term, Adidas also pledged to phase out plastic bags at its 2,900 stores worldwide.

 

“By partnering with Parley for the Oceans, we’re contributing to a great environmental cause and co-creating new fabrics from ocean plastic waste that we’ll gradually and constantly integrate into our product,” Maria Culp, a spokesperson for Adidas, told ThinkProgress.

According to a recent study in Science, between 5 and 13 million metric tons of plastic waste ended up in oceans in 2010 alone, an amount that’s expected to increase in the coming decades if waste disposal techniques aren’t improved. Another study estimatedthat the ocean has about 600 pieces of plastic in it per every person living on earth.

Each ocean has its own massive whirlpool of plastic debris, but those patches only account for 1 percent of the plastic thought to be in oceans. No one really knows what happens to the other 99 percent — it might wash back to shore, it might breakdown into very small bits, or it might be eaten by fish and enter into the food chain.

Adidas isn’t the first company to look to marine plastic waste for innovative manufacturing materials. Last year, G-Star Raw denim partnered with producer and musician Pharrell Williams to debut a line of jeans made with fabric spun from recycled ocean debris. Williams is the creative director of Bionic Yarn, which creates fabric primarily using plastic bottles.

Bionic Yarn has also partnered with Parley to create the Vortex Project, whose mission is to retrieve marine plastic and transform it into yarn that can be used in manufacturing garments for the fashion industry.

The partnership is just one part of Adidas’ growing commitment to sustainability, which it outlined in its 2014 Sustainability Progress Report. The company also sourced 30 percentof its cotton from sustainable sources in 2014, exceeding the goal of 25 percent that it had set for itself. Ultimately, Adidas says it wants to source 40 percent of its cotton from sustainable sources by the end of the year, with the goal of transitioning to 100 percent sustainable cotton by 2018.

2014 also marked the opening of Adidas’ first “green” retail store in Nuremberg, Germany. The store is run by an intelligent control system that automatically optimizes the store’s heating, cooling, and ventilation. It’s also completely outfitted with LED lights, and other energy-efficient devices meant to reduce the store’s overall carbon footprint.

As environmental groups like Greenpeace pressure fashion companies to become more sustainable in both sourcing and production, Adidas isn’t the only company to shift its attention toward sustainability. According to Reuters, the Swedish retailer H&M — which is the leading user of organic cotton in the world — has committed to tripling the amount of products made from recycled fibers by the end of 2015. In late March, Eileen Fisher also announced plans to begin sourcing only organic linen and cotton in the hopes of becoming 100 percent sustainable by 2020.

Source: Think Progress

Seedy Valentine

How pleasantly surprised I was this morning while browsing my favorite sustainable news source, Feelgood Style.  If you’re a sucker for wildflowers and sustainability – you’ll love this DIY Valentine.  If you aren’t familiar with seed paper, allow me to getcha up to date.

Seed Paper is a plantable, biodegradable paper product that can be used just like paper.

Seed Paper is a plantable, biodegradable paper product that can be used just like paper.

Seed paper is a special paper is handmade by using post-consumer materials.  The paper is embedded with wildflower, herb or vegetable seeds.  When you plant the paper in a pot of soil or outside in a garden, the seeds in the paper germinate and grow into plants.  I’m challenging myself to have a sustainable Valentine’s day this year with the help of seed paper.  I am refusing to participate with the 145 million others in our annual Valentine’s glossy card sending.  This doesn’t mean I’m giving up Valentine’s Day – it just means we need to think about Valentine ideas that are more about the love and less about the stuff.  I think these seed paper hearts are the perfect alternative to conventional Valentine’s Day cards.  And your sassy Valentine can plant and enjoy the flowers they produce for much longer than they’d probably display a paper card.

Seed Paper Valentine by Scott Meeks, Crafting a Green World

Valentine-Idea-Seed-Paper-Hearts-300x300What You Need

  • 1 cup of ripped-up newspaper or junk mail
  • 2 cups of water
  • Wildflower seeds
  • 3 heart-shaped mini aluminum pie tins or silicone molds
  • 2 large bowls
  • Blender

Prep Your Paper

  1. Tear the newspaper or junk mail into small pieces. This is the perfect task for tiny hands that need something to do! Be sure to throw in a few small pieces of red or pink paper.
  2. In a blender, blend the water and paper until it’s a chunky. It should look like oatmeal.
  3. Dump the mixture into a bowl.
  4. Take handfuls of the pulp and squeeze out most of the water. The pulp should now be moist, but not sopping wet.
  5. Put your squeezed-out pulp into a clean bowl.

Make Your Seed Paper

  1. Sprinkle your pulp with wildflower seeds and gently mix with your fingers.
  2. Divide your pulp into three equal parts.
  3. Mash each part into the mini pie tins or silicone molds.
  4. You can pat the tops dry with a cloth to get rid of excess moisture.
  5. After 24 hours, pop the paper hearts out of the tins and place them on a cookie rack for another 24 hours to finish drying.
  6. Attach these hearts to homemade cards or simply wrap them in wax paper and give away as Valentines.

Get non-toxic and cruelty free beauty and health tips from our source, FeelGoodStyle!

“we shall overcome someday”

Let’s make it today. Join me & boycott all merchandize and produce that abuses our fellow people & earth (as much as possible). Caring for the environment, we humans were so generously given, is my passion. I see “the environment” not only as the earth but as all of creation.

I found Etsy in search for a way to shop, buy, trade, share, and appreciate fine work of others for purchase in “clean” ways (ain’t second hand and vintage awesome?). It’s about time to treat our neighbors as ourselves overseas AND across the street from us. I am a hardcore supporter, advocate, and (as much as I can be) activist for good working conditions, fair pay, love, and care for those enslaved.

love & peace y’all,
Mairi.
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