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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Read and discuss...

I just posted the following to a Ravelry forum. Thoughts? Opinions? Please?

There seems to be a lot of confusion about "eco-friendly" fibre and "cruelty-free" fibre.  

Something that is eco-friendly means it is good for the environment where it comes from. Possum fibre from New Zealand is eco-friendly. The possums need to be culled so they do not ruin the environment, and as a by-product of this the manage to use the fibre from the dead possums in yarns and fabrics.  

Likewise, rabbits are a pest in Australia, and as a result rabbit felt hats were made from the culled animals. The brand 'Akubra' is quite well known for these hats. Foxes are also a pest in Australia, and it would be quite eco-logically friendly to wear australian fox fur (though not cruelty-free).  

In a similar argument, just because something is "certified organic" does not mean it is "eco-friendly" either. 

Growing cotton uses lots of water - growing cotton in an environment experiencing drought (like Australia) does not make it "eco-friendly", and is, in fact, very eco-logically irresponsible, whether or not it is grown to precise certified organic practices. Cotton would ruin an environment like this.  

People are getting so caught up in what is good for the Earth, that they do not realise that a lot of this is just a marketing ploy to sell a new, different line of yarn. Sometimes the impact of these yarns can still be quite significant for the earth they are grown upon.


Bells said...

I agree with you that the lines are often confused and marketing plays a great role in this issue. My thoughts don't really extend beyond that because I feel rather ignorant.

Sally said...

I was really stunned when I found out, fairly recently, that Australia grows cotton. I thought that was bizarre in a country like this with such water shortages.

Agatha said...

^ Even more bizarrely we grow rice :-O

Cruelty-free fibres? Are those from sheep that aren't mulesed? Or just not animal products?

Lynne said...

Oh yeah! My parents live up-river from a major cotton growing area; they rarely have water restrictions because the water has to get to the cotton farmers but the quality of their water is very inconsistent! Unfit for drinking unless filtered! And the area has incredibly low rainfall - what were 'they' thinking putting cotton fields there?