Being a good steward of the environment is difficult these days. It seems like for every good choice you make, you have an equal negative impact. Switching to an electric car seems great, until you remember the electricity in your area comes from coal, and the batteries in your electric car are full of lead and other poisonous metals.
Wouldn’t it be nice to know what the right choices are when we want to give back to mother Earth? You started out recycling your plastic bottles, then you switched to glass, then you learned that glass is no longer recycled in your area, so you switched back to plastic. You want to make the right choices for the planet, but you need to know what those are.
With all of this confusion, there are a few choices you can make that are guaranteed to help the planet. One of these choices is the proper type of material for your clothing. Thankfully, the advent of new materials makes one of these choices clear.
Cows are Hard on the Planet
Cows have a huge environmental impact. By some estimations, cows contribute more greenhouse gasses than cars. As clean energy sources grow, and electric vehicles become common, this will go from a possible estimation to a guarantee.
Right now, cows aren’t going anywhere, cows provide one of the most popular meat sources, as well as milk for dairy products. Cows also provide hides for leather. Leather is still the most popular material for shoes, belts, and handbags. Having cows play such a huge role in the fashion industry carries some weight in our environmental woes.
Even as the food industry is making strides forward with vegetarian meat replacements and lab grown meat, the fashion industry’s need for leather will keep cows in high demand. The only traditionally viable substitutes for leather involved plastics or vinyls. These bring with them their own set of environmental issues.
If you want to give back to mother Earth, a great place to start is with sustainable clothing. Sustainable clothing could mean replacing leather shoes with canvas sneakers. It could mean replacing a wool pullover with a fleece made from recycled soda bottles. Another form of sustainable clothing could be naturally sourced synthetic leather.
The most important part of giving back to mother Earth is being aware of where the products we use and consume come from. We should be looking for clothing that travels as little as possible before it gets to you. These items should be made from items that are recycled when possible, or that require a minimal amount of time and processing to be ready for market.
To Give Back to Mother Earth, Avoid Fossil Fuels
Many ethical vegans have worn synthetic leather for years. While this avoids the pitfalls of being made from the hide of a once living animal, it has a different set of environmental problems. “Pleather” as it is often called is made from petroleum distillates. This means that without drilling for oil, there is no raw material for plasticine leathers or for polyester, rayon,
There are some very promising substitutes for what used to be called “vegan leather”. Just as mycoprotein has become a common substitute for meat, Mycelium fibers are now being used to produce leather substitutes that look and work very much like the real thing.
In summary, the best way to give back to mother Earth is by being thoughtful. If you remain aware of how the things you buy are made, and where they are sourced from, you can make sure to minimize your impact, and help heal the planet!