The true cost of our modern garment industry has been laid bare by NASA. In a series of remarkale, sequential satellite images, the agency reveals the dramatic decline of water levels in the Aral Sea, a massive environmental disaster dubbed “the quiet Chernobyl”.
The size of the vast Asian lake known as the Aral Sea was already in sharp decline by 2000, when NASA’s Terra Satellite began capturing images showing how the lake has shrunk from its 1960 size.“It shows the power of long-term satellite observation from space,” a NASA spokesman told FoxNews.com.
The Aral Sea was once the fourth largest lake in the world, but now holds less than 10% of its original water volume – NASA’s millenial images show the lake split up into so called ‘eastern’ and ‘western’ basins due to severe water-loss. The man-made catastrophe, caused by diverting massive amounts of water from the lake for conventional cotton farming didn’t end there. Dry conditions in 2014 caused the eastern basin to completely dry up for the first time in modern times, according to Philip Micklin, a geographer emeritus from Western Michigan University.
Nasa went on to add that the water had become polluted with fertiliser and pesticides, as well as excess salt, and this has a devastating knock on effect on the surrounding regions fishing industry. In a statement accompanying the images, Nasa said “As the lake dried up, fisheries and the communities that depended on them collapsed”.
During the festivities of fashion week all eyes were fixed on the catwalk shows, supermodels and star studded front rows, however the true cost of the fashion industry was largely ignored; conventional cotton (as opposed to organic) production is responsible for 25000 miles of exposed sea bed! Fashion designer and environmentalist Katherine Hamnett says “Conventional cotton uses a huge amount of water and also huge amounts of pesticides which cause 350,000 farmer deaths a year and a million hospitalisations…it has got to be one of the most unsustainable fibres in the world”.
The non-organic cotton industry is a huge source of global environmental pollution, using almost one quarter of all the world’s insecticides and 10% of pesticides. Social conditions for cotton growers can be poor, with poverty, health problems and suicide common, and thousands of chemicals are used to turn raw material into clothes, towels, bedding and other items that we put next to our skin every day.
Is this a wake up call for fashion and garment industry to look at more sustainable fibres other than water-thirsty conventional cotton before they drain the planet dry?
A new, not-for-profit foundation targeting eco-conscious teenagers around the world is set to launch in the UK. Green Teen Team, founded by nine year old HSH Princess Theodora von Liechtenstein, aims to regenerate the planet’s most fragile ecosystems through engaging young people in conservation projects and educational summer camps across the globe. This project is set to launch in the UK next year, but we got a taster of its potential when it launched in Italy on October 12th.
As future guardians of our biodiversity, young people are at the centre of Green Teen Team’s philosophy; this is the first charity to target teenagers as future environmental guardians. Following the charity’s inaugural regeneration project – a highly successful turtle and tortoise conservation programme in Italy – the Green Teen Team Foundation are rolling out projects across the globe with the UK next in line. 9 year old Theodora says ‘“People think that big problems need big answers but that is not always true, sometimes small actions can make a big difference. If I start now at 9yrs old, and other young people join me, in 10 years’ time, together, we can make significant improvements to our future environment.”
Celebrate as the newly recognised registered charity, Legs4Africa, is having profound, life changing effects on the victims and amputees of Africa. Shunned and often ostracised for having missing limbs, members of African communities are being given their status and freedom back once again in an ingenious and shrewd example of intelligent recycling.
The organisation collects and distributes redundant prosthetic limbs from the UK to Africa, offering independence once again to victims of accidents or amputees. Current UK law states that used prosthetic limbs have to be destroyed by the NHS as medical waste and charity shops are prohibited from selling on second hand mobility equipment like crutches and walking frames. Legs4Africa’s work in collating this redundant equipment and sending it to trusted partners in Africa is both innovative and highly commendable; they have tackled the futile destruction of limbs in the UK head on, and as a result reinstated amputees with autonomy and freedom. Legs4Africa, we salute you.
Have you noticed how the women in Downton Abbey have all the best lines? Now you can add some ladylike sparkle to your repartee as ITV’s best loved period drama rockets into the digital age. Yes, the rarefied world of Downton Abbey is now available on your mobile with the launch of the official Downton Abbey app ‘Downtonisms’.
Fans can relive their favourite one-liners (or Downtonisms) from series one to four of the multi-award winning television show. With one-liners such as “vulgarity is no substitute for wit” from the scathing Dowager Countess and “I should hate to be so predictable” from the sassy Lady Mary, Downton aficionados are expected to download the app in their droves.
Downton Abbey, the addictive ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ of the 21st century, is nothing short of a television phenomenon. Dowager Countess, played excellently by the delectable Maggie Smith, and Lady Mary played by Michelle Dockery deliver memorable one liners with ease – and if Downton is anything to go by, sharp wit is most certainly making a comeback.
Download your ‘Downtonisms’ app now and join in the fun!