By now, if you’ve ever read anything from this blog, you know that I am on a mission to promote organic cotton and GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) fabrics. To read one of my previous posts about organic cotton, go here.
I tackle the business of organic cotton because, frankly, as sewists, this is one thing we can impact. We are the end users of a product we think very little about and we worry even less when we have a project in mind.
We like our fabric.
We love the feel of it, we love the bright colors and the textures, and the sweet, cheerful designs. But it’s very possible that if you saw the conditions under which your fabric is made, and the chemicals involved in the treating of the fabric, and the dyeing process, you might have second thoughts. If you are thoughtful enough, you might also be concerned about the livelihood and well-being of the independent farmer who grows the cotton and small villages around the world who must learn to live sustainably off this income. They cannot destroy their land in the interest of a short term gain and then have ruined land that cannot be farmed in the future. This is a real thing. Farmers understand regenerative practices. It’s obvious…just not to everyone else.
I’m attaching a link to a document created by the United Nations Environment Programme. In their words:
“The report serves to translate the current state of scientific knowledge into crisp, clear and digestible facts-based messages that the world can relate to and follow up on. It first provides an Earth diagnosis of current and projected human-induced environmental change, by putting facts and interlinkages in perspective, including by using smart infographics. In building on this diagnosis, the report identifies the shifts needed to close gaps between current actions and those needed to achieve sustainable development. The analysis is anchored in current economic, social and ecological reality and framed by economics and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. By synthesizing the latest scientific findings from the global environmental assessments, the report communicates the current status of the world’s urgent issues and opportunities to solve them. “
Our small quilt shops only have exposure to sales people who bring the brightly-colored sample books to them every season for ordering.
Through social media, we are exposed to the designers (whom we love). They show us their studios and their creative ideas. However, their designs are simply licensed by fabric distributors. In other words, our favorite designers basically give up all their rights to determine the way fabric is created, other than seeing proofs for color and accuracy. They don’t get to tell manufacturers not to use toxic chemicals or not to pollute the ground water. They get a paycheck and that’s what matters. To them, at least.
In reading this UN document, it’s obvious to me, and I hope it is to you as well, that this way of living has made us blissfully happy, unaware and unaccountable to the planet we live on.
I know this sounds cliche.
But if we don’t soon change everything we’re doing now, in every supply chain, all the way back to the raw materials from the Earth, we may not survive as a species for much longer.
Here’s a tidbit: did you know that if current sperm count trends continue, by 2045, the median male will no longer be able to reproduce? Ha. Now I have your attention.
Look, all I’m saying is that everything around us now indicates that we are going to have to make BIG CHANGES.
And if there’s one thing that the human species is resistant to, it’s BIG CHANGES.
But I believe we have to start thinking seriously about how our food is produced, where our energy comes from, how much waste we produce, how much we consume, and on and on and on.
It’s daunting, I know.
- Make yourself more aware of the materials you use. Where did this really come from? What are the chemicals used? Do I know anything at all about this fabric?
- Ask your local quilt shop these questions. They are dealing with the distributors who make the decisions.
- Become a savvy user. Can you make it from your already-way-too-big stash? Can it be made from other textiles you already own?
- Start making yourself an educated consumer. Below are a few links that will assist.
Here’s a new fabric I’ve seen available: Lenzing Ecovero. “Take less, Give More”. You’ll want to watch their video.
Are you ready for change? Ready or not, it’s coming. Let’s be ready, willing and able. And start where we can.