juliet: (get an allotment)
One of the things that made the lovely tipi at Waveform lovely was that it came with a bunch of sheepskin rugs. Which are totally the business when it comes to keeping you warm when sitting on the ground: they're thick, insulating, and unlike e.g. cotton don't feel damp when it's cold. However: not very vegan (not even vegetarian, really).

Which gave rise to another bout of my ongoing internal debate about the use of materials like leather and wool, and their alternatives.

The argument against wool is animal cruelty - although sheep aren't killed for their wool (obviously), there are issues of mistreatment with large-scale production. (Bottom line is: large-scale commercial production of anything is more or less guaranteed to be bad for most people, animals, and land involved.) However: there are increasingly large numbers of people producing organic wool from well-kept, well-cared-for animals. Ecologically speaking, if you are keeping sheep in, say, Wales, then there's really not a lot else that's useful that you could be doing with that land. Growing wool on it is, if done right, environmentally fine, and efficient.

The alternative non-animal based substances are cotton, and various artificial fibres that are all petrochemical based. Petrochemicals are, I'm pretty sure, environmentally worse than wool (& wool will probably last longer). Cotton is difficult to buy organic, and even if you do buy organic there are still monoculture issues. And textile-miles issues.

With leather: obviously, involves dead animals. But lasts better than non-animal alternatives (even if fake leather is a lot better than it used to be), and again has, or can have, less environmental impact. Although I haven't really seen leather around that has organic or good-husbandry labels on. I don't need new shoes in the foreseeable, but when I do, should I be thinking about going back to leather?

It comes down, of course, to the fact that moral decisions are complicated, and different moral issues don't necessarily run side by side. You have to decide what weighting you give to them and act accordingly. At the moment the thing I want to prioritise is "consume less", so the immediate solution to these issues is not to buy any of the options (I want to do some more sewing soon, but I'm going to see what I can use from my fabric stash, or go charity-shop hunting for things to repurpose, rather than buy more fabric of whatever sort. Similarly I'm still up to my eyebrows in yarn stash.). It's an ongoing consideration for the future, though.
juliet: (get an allotment)
One of the things that made the lovely tipi at Waveform lovely was that it came with a bunch of sheepskin rugs. Which are totally the business when it comes to keeping you warm when sitting on the ground: they're thick, insulating, and unlike e.g. cotton don't feel damp when it's cold. However: not very vegan (not even vegetarian, really).

Which gave rise to another bout of my ongoing internal debate about the use of materials like leather and wool, and their alternatives.

The argument against wool is animal cruelty - although sheep aren't killed for their wool (obviously), there are issues of mistreatment with large-scale production. (Bottom line is: large-scale commercial production of anything is more or less guaranteed to be bad for most people, animals, and land involved.) However: there are increasingly large numbers of people producing organic wool from well-kept, well-cared-for animals. Ecologically speaking, if you are keeping sheep in, say, Wales, then there's really not a lot else that's useful that you could be doing with that land. Growing wool on it is, if done right, environmentally fine, and efficient.

The alternative non-animal based substances are cotton, and various artificial fibres that are all petrochemical based. Petrochemicals are, I'm pretty sure, environmentally worse than wool (& wool will probably last longer). Cotton is difficult to buy organic, and even if you do buy organic there are still monoculture issues. And textile-miles issues.

With leather: obviously, involves dead animals. But lasts better than non-animal alternatives (even if fake leather is a lot better than it used to be), and again has, or can have, less environmental impact. Although I haven't really seen leather around that has organic or good-husbandry labels on. I don't need new shoes in the foreseeable, but when I do, should I be thinking about going back to leather?

It comes down, of course, to the fact that moral decisions are complicated, and different moral issues don't necessarily run side by side. You have to decide what weighting you give to them and act accordingly. At the moment the thing I want to prioritise is "consume less", so the immediate solution to these issues is not to buy any of the options (I want to do some more sewing soon, but I'm going to see what I can use from my fabric stash, or go charity-shop hunting for things to repurpose, rather than buy more fabric of whatever sort. Similarly I'm still up to my eyebrows in yarn stash.). It's an ongoing consideration for the future, though.

August 2017

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