Clothing industry (Part 1)
In this era of climate crisis, many are quick to blame certain sectors, anything but themselves or their own lifestyles in fact. In reality, most aspects of current living have an impact on the environment. This article examines the clothing industry. The topic invites discussion, even dissension. Some people are intrigued and delighted by fashion shows; thrilled by new designs; spend hours perusing shops to buy the latest fashions; buy on-line, where it is oh-so-easy to view, click and purchase; enticed by ‘three for the price of two’ offers – the latter two activities often result in the purchase of more clothes than are needed or, indeed, will ever be worn. Others are horrified at the prospect of needing to buy yet more clothes for their rapidly growing children, maybe facing severe financial hardship in so doing. Some buy many items of cheap, often poorly made, clothing, whilst others buyer fewer, more expensive, better made and longer lasting clothes. Yet others make their own clothes and upcycle, using old outfits to refashion new ones. Many go to charity or vintage shops and other outlets to buy ‘pre-loved’ clothes. Whichever category you belong to, several important points pertain:-
The clothing industry has a large environmental footprint.
The fewer clothes you buy, the lower the environmental impact.
Fast fashion relies on mass production (often involving child labour and poor work conditions), low prices and large volumes of sales, whereas circular fashion makes re-use and recycling easier and slow fashion produces fewer clothes of better quality.
A vast array of chemicals is used in the processing and production of garments, in addition to the environmental cost of water and energy.
When outfits are made in large factories, up to 20% of fabric is wasted in cut-offs.
Once made, the clothes must be transported and distributed, leading to further energy use in the form of transport fuel.
The bottom line is for us all to reduce how many outfits we purchase annually. Try retaining outfits for longer, clothes swaps, hiring outfits for smart occasions, jazzing up ‘tired’ outfits with a bright scarf or tie. For items no longer worn, give them to a charity or swap shop.
It’s that time of year again when thoughts turn to Christmas festivities and celebrations. Our ever popular Service of Nine Lessons and Carols, with a host of readers drawn from across the community and county, this year is planned for Sunday evening 10th December at 7.00pm. If you plan to attend we suggest you arrive early to ensure a good seat.
There is no service that morning in Nun’s Cros
Yet again, another COP is in the news, this time COP28 (the 28th Conference of Parties, or UN Climate Change Conference) being held in Dubai. Thus far, a positive development has been the launching of a “loss and damage” fund for vulnerable countries, to which wealthier nations, including Ireland, will contribute. The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, highlighted the many benefits of reducing emissions, while acknowledging that the concerns of certain sectors need to be addressed and finance provided to change to a carbon neutral future. In his address, UK’s King Charles made a heartfelt plea that this COP MUST be a “critical turning point” in the fight against climate change, with “genuine transformational change”. He also made the sage observation that “The Earth does not belong to us, we belong to the Earth” – it would behove us all to echo those sentiments. The UN Secretary General António Guterres seeks the phasing out of ALL fossil fuels and has prevailed on the fossil fuel companies to transition to renewable energy, rather than extract more coal and oil, which in the long run will jeopardise the economic sustainability of those same companies. It is to be hoped that the “phasedown/out” of fossil fuels, contained in the first COP28 draft, will be agreed by all, as these contribute overwhelmingly to greenhouse gas and CO2 emissions. COP can seem far removed from our everyday lives, BUT we can (MUST) play our part. As Christmas approaches, we could all think before we buy – for example, how far has the proposed gift travelled? Is it made of plastic? Is it sustainable? Is it durable? Can it be reused or recycled? Is all the food in the trolley really going to be consumed? Would it be better to purchase one good quality item rather than many of poorer quality? Buying local where possible reduces air miles and aids the local economy.
The beauty and value of hedgerows
Spring saw the hawthorn (or aptly named may) trees ablaze with blossom. This autumn the trees are bearing the fruits of all those flowers, with hedgerows abounding with red berries. Apart from their aesthetic value, the flowers and haws are wonderful for wildlife – pollinators, small mammals, birds. They also provide shelter from wind and rain along field boundaries for farm stock.
Other native tree and shrub species occur, such as guelder rose, spindle, hazel (with bountiful nuts this year), holly (already bearing a profusion of red berries) etc., all interwoven with a jumble of bramble and ivy, which also provide great food and shelter. These healthy hedgerows are in stark contrast to those so evident in many areas, where fields are divided by short, stubby, over-trimmed “neat” barriers that barely deserve the moniker hedgerow. Not only are they poor reservoirs for wildlife, but their carbon sequestration abilities are seriously compromised. In the current era of biodiversity crisis and climate change, the value of trees cannot be overstated and maintaining proper hedgerows is one way to assist in this challenge. All landowners, be they of small rural holdings or larger farms, can play their part by allowing their hedges to flourish. Urban dwellers, too, can plant native shrub species in their gardens.
The Family service will be on the third Sunday this month instead of the fourth. So we meet on Sunday 19 November, in Nun’s Cross Church at 5pm. This short service is aimed at families with young children, and snacks are served afterwards!
Pliny the Elder – green views
Pliny the Elder died in Pompeii in AD 79 following the eruption of Vesuvius. He wrote the largest work to have survived from the times of the Roman Empire to the present – “The Natural History” (Naturalis Historia), which covered all spheres of the natural world. What is of relevance today from his writings is that, even back then, he realised that humans were having an impact on, and even poisoning, their environment. Needless to say, that effect has multiplied enormously since then. We all need to learn how to reduce our impact on planet earth. Maybe a good place to start is by appreciating what the natural environment has to offer us and from that may spring the desire to preserve it – for example, at present, the hedgerows are full of bounteous red berries as, following a spectacular spring display of flowers, the hawthorn trees are aglow with fruits. It is truly a wondrous sight, autumn at its best but, more importantly, provides many creatures with a valuable food source. Hawthorn trees are an integral part of native woodland planting, so we may expect to see more in the future as new forestry planting proceeds. Forestry aside, even smaller gardens could find space for native species such as hawthorn, spindle, guelder rose etc. A pleasant autumn activity could be to plant some of our wide variety of native shrubs or trees.