The fashion industry is considered by the UN Conference on Trade and Development UNCTAD, to be the second most polluting industry in the world”. In fact, according to UNCTAD, some 93 billion cubic metres of water – enough to meet the needs of five million people – is used by the fashion industry annually, and around half a million tons of micro-fibre, which is the equivalent of 3 million barrels of oil, is now being dumped into the ocean every year.
For its part, one of the top world bodies in charge of environmental issues UN Environment provides more conservative figures. It says that considering cotton production, manufacture, transport and washing, it takes 3,781 litres of water to make one pair of jeans. (That is equivalent to the amount of water the average person drinks over a period of 3 1/2 years.) Furthermore, “the process equates to around 33.4 kilograms of carbon equivalent emitted, like driving 111 kilometres or watching 246 hours of TV on a big screen”.
Even just washing our clothes releases plastic microfibres and other pollutants into the environment, contaminating our oceans and drinking water, UN Environment warns and adds that around 20% of global industrial water pollution is from dyeing and textile treatment.
Some studies estimate that the average garment is worn ten times before being discarded. “Of the total fibre input used for clothing, 87 per cent is incinerated or sent to landfill. Overall, one garbage truck of textiles is landfilled or incinerated every second”.
The issue is so alarming that it has pushed 10 different UN organisations to join forces through an Alliance for Sustainable Fashion, which was launched on March 2019 in Nairobi..
From Jason Hickel via Bengi Akbulut via Facebook
If you are interested in degrowth/post-growth critiques of the Green New Deal, check out these essays:
Together we say no to the alleged lack of alternatives. We want to show concrete scope for action and alternatives to the capitalist growth society, because a good life for all is possible!
Organize a picnic and talk about a “good life for all” – change often starts with a relaxed chat around good food. Of course, other forms are possible: be it a public debate with degrowth activists, a bicycle tour to a local CSA farm (Community Supported Agriculture), a visit to the next Repair Café, a lecture, a flashmob, an information booth, a small festival, a demonstration in front of a coal power plant… you can decide! But we recommend to have during, before or after the event, a convivial part, where people can interact and share food/drinks together.
Checkout this web site for ideas, posters, tips, resources, etc. and register your event.
A fascinating 6 page read. Troy Vettese, an environmental historian at New York University, starts by saying the killing of 54 million indigenous peoples in the Americas and the removal of some 12 million west Africans along slavery’s “Middle Passage” left millions of hectares of cropland fallow, and that their subsequent natural reforestation sequestered sufficient carbon to lower northern hemisphere temperatures by nearly one degree centigrade – ‘a little ice age‘. He then goes into Natural Geo-Engineering (NGE – vs artificial geo-engineering, AGE), outlines the phenomenal dangers of releasing millions of tonnes of sulphate aerosols to reflect sunlight back into space vs vastly increased carbon sequestration via afforestation, reducing forest scarcity by growing food crops instead of pasture. Of 5 billion ha. of global agricultural land, 3.5 B ha. is in pasture, with less than 1 B ha. to grow food for people vs industrial use or animal feed. He compares the power density of increasingly scarce fossil fuels (10,000 Watts/m2 – based on 300 million years of accumulated photosynthesis) vs solar (2-10 Watts/m2) or bio fuels (0.2 Watts/m2). He champions our need to free up much more land for afforestation to sequester enough carbon to counteract the worst effects of climate change. He dismisses the questionable proposals of Monbiot and Lovelock for a nuclear transition involving an increase from the current global 444 reactors to 2135 [dangerous] new reactors by 2050 to cover only electrical production, which wouldn’t even put a dent in fossil fuel energy for transportation or air conditioning. If 800 million ha. of land were reforested, billions of new trees would sequester 215 gigatons (GtC) over the next century, bringing atmospheric carbon to a much safer level in the low 300s ppm. (compared to today’s 410 ppm) But this can only come about if the richest make drastic cuts to their energy consumption and it cannot be fixed by the market. He presents the Swiss ‘2000-Watt Society‘ (48 kWh/person/day) vs the 12,000 W of average US citizens, 6,000 W for Europeans and 1,000 W in India and discusses the eco-socialist accomplishments of Cuba’s transition after the collapse of the USSR based on an average Cuban consumption of much less than 2000 watts.
A very interesting article. Below some clips.
How does capitalism condition the ways in which we measure, imagine and weaponise time – and what does this mean for our future? It’s Davos time again. Our overlords are arriving at the Alpine resort for the World Economic Forum (WEF). But the ski slopes all around are melting. The mountain’s snowline is receding.
Anthropocene is the buzz word, with Capitalocene its more accurate substitute.
Facing the catastrophes of his era, and the complacency of progressives, [Walter] Benjamin offered the image of the emergency brake: “Marx says that revolutions are the locomotive of world history. But perhaps it is quite otherwise. Perhaps revolutions are an attempt by the passengers on this train — namely, the human race — to activate the emergency brake.”
Thanks to Janet Eaton for bringing the toxic 5G issue to my attention. In addition to these health impacts, this should be read along with the articles on population and media linked below. These histories of technology, population, social media vs mainstream media, and growth, not to mention climate change, will have significant impacts and implications for the need to degrow our industrial and societal metabolism to the point where it is sustainable. One could even factor in Canada’s detention of the CEO of Huawei, one the foremost sellers of 5G technology, into these geo-technico-politico scenarios!
To the UN, WHO, EU, Council of Europe and governments of all nations
We the undersigned scientists, doctors, environmental organizations and citizens from (__) countries, urgently call for a halt to the deployment of the 5G (fifth generation) wireless network, including 5G from space satellites. 5G will massively increase exposure to radio frequency (RF) radiation on top of the 2G, 3G and 4G networks for telecommunications already in place. RF radiation has been proven harmful for humans and the environment. The deployment of 5G constitutes an experiment on humanity and the environment that is defined as a crime under international law.
The United States appears to be facing a possible population crisis. Statistics from the National Institutes for Health show that the U.S. birthrate has declined to the extent that it cannot sustain the current population level. Conventional wisdom suggests that countries experiencing population decline – largely industrialized nations – face serious problems. Yet in the latter half of the 20th century, we feared the threat of an exploding population. There are some subjects for which any outcome appears dangerous: a growing population because it outstrips resources and a declining population because it threatens to slow the economy. Are warnings of a new crisis valid?