The Global Fool

our planet is our village

Central Asia Large Mammals: Victims of (Cashmere) Fashion
Aug16

Central Asia Large Mammals: Victims of (Cashmere) Fashion

By Roberta Attanasio One thing here affects something else there.  This is the principle at the basis of The Global Fool’s mission — To raise awareness of environmental problems and their global nature. Last month, a team of international researchers published the results of a study entitled “Globalization of the Cashmere Market and the Decline of Large Mammals in Central Asia”. As the title suggests, the results of the study show a disturbing link between the global cashmere trade and declining native wildlife species in India, Mongolia and China’s Tibetan plateau. In other words, there is a link between Western world fashion (one thing here) and native wild animals in Central Asia (something else there). What’s going on? The study, published online in the scientific journal Conservation Biology on July 18, 2013, was carried out by investigators from the University of Montana (U.S.A.) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (U.S.A.), the Wildlife Conservation Society (Mongolia), the Snow Leopard Trust  (U.S.A.), and the Nature Conservation Foundation (India), The investigators found that the decline of native wildlife species is caused by a large Increase in the domestic goat population, increase related to the multibillion dollar cashmere industry and supported by the expanding demand for cashmere from the Western world. Production of cashmere requires the fine (dehaired) undercoat fibers from cashmere goats (Capra hircus laniger). According to the Cashmere and Camel Hair Manufacturers Institute (CCMI), most cashmere originates from the high plateaus of Asia. China, Mongolia and Tibet are significant supplier countries. In these regions, the goat undercoat is sheared using a gentle, harmless combing. The specialty animal hair fibers are collected during molting seasons when the animals naturally shed their hair. Goats molt only during a several-week period in the Spring. Therefore, enormous numbers of goats are necessary to satisfy the global cashmere demand.  The result is that the vast highlands and open spaces from the Tibetan Plateau to Mongolia — once populated by wild camel and wild yak, Przewalski’s horse, chiru, saiga antelope, Tibetan gazelle, kiang, khulan, and snow leopard — are increasingly dominated by domestic goats and other livestock. The native wildlife species are being driven to the edge of survival. What are, exactly, the factors that contribute to the cashmere-driven decline of large mammals? Wild habitat is shrinking dramatically, and the large mammals are increasingly coming into conflict with humans and their livestock. Goats eat up the grass that previously supported antelopes and other herbivores as well as their predators, as for example the snow leopard. Additional factors are retaliatory killings of leopards and wolves by herders after livestock attacks, killing by herders’ dogs and transfer of disease from livestock to...

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The Blue Jean Distressed Look: Sandblasting Versus Eco-Aging
Apr27

The Blue Jean Distressed Look: Sandblasting Versus Eco-Aging

By The Editors Sandblasting is used to make new blue jeans look distressed.  Unfortunately, sandblasting kills people. In 2011, a rigorous study published in the journal Chest showed that formerly healthy young people exposed to silica sand, used in the sandblasting of jeans, developed silicosis — a disabling and potentially fatal lung disease for which there is no cure.  The young people either became disabled or died. According to the American Lung Association, “Silicosis is a lung disease caused by inhaling tiny bits of silica. Silica is a common mineral that is part of sand, rock and mineral ores like quartz. People who work in jobs where they could breathe in these tiny silica bits—like sandblasting, mining, construction and many others—are at risk for silicosis.” Sandblasting jeans involves forcefully projecting a stream of abrasive particles (silica) onto a surface (jeans) with compressed air.  The force of the abrasion rubs off the indigo-dyed fibers. When small silica dust particles are inhaled, they can embed themselves deeply into the lungs, causing silicosis, which is characterized by shortness of breath, cough, fever, and cyanosis. The study was carried out in Turkey.  The investigators concluded “It is important to draw global attention to this occupation to prevent new silicosis cases in other countries.”  That year, Turkish health authorities banned sandblasting jeans. Many companies, including Levi Strauss & Co, H&M, Benetton, Armani and many others, have banned sandblasting from their supply chains.  Hopefully, a truly global, enforceable ban will soon be up and running.  The Clean Clothes Campaign, an alliance of organizations in 15 European countries, has been working very hard to raise awareness and make this ban possible.  . Should we give up the distressed look?  Not necessarily.  An Italian company, the Fimatex Group, has developed an eco-friendly process to obtain the distresses look.  The process is called eco-aging and uses a vegetable mix composed of the waste from the food chain.  The vegetable mix is ​​100% biodegradable (environmental impact zero) and allows us to conclude with a good example of corporate social...

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Globalization Collection and Chanel Globe
Apr23

Globalization Collection and Chanel Globe

By The Editors The latest Chanel collection is called “Globalization” and, during the Paris Fashion Week in March, it came with benefits: a giant, rotating, wooden replica of our planet, visibly positioned in the middle of the Grand Palais.    Does the Chanel globe provide a real global vision of our planet?  The are zillions of pin lights and 300 little flags on the globe.  The pin lights represent all our cities and the flags the 300 Chanel boutiques around the world.  It’s a Chanel globe. The globe is now gone, but virtually visiting the Grand Palais is a very pleasant Paris adventure.  Try...

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