About Holly Rose

My name is Holly Rose, I’m a writer, soil advocate, and environmentalist sharing tales of regeneration and rewilding through my multimedia projects HollyRose.eco and GatherGrounded.eco

Each piece I write is created with the intention of holistically marrying traditional ecological knowledge, sacred ecology, and scientific restoration. I try to write in a way which enhances my reader’s nature relatedness, encouraging relationships of reciprocity with all living things.

I believe that by amplifying education on regeneration, promoting provenance, and prioritizing on equality, we can restore our lands and communities with daily acts of regenerative reciprocity.

hello@hollyrose.eco

Hope In The Face Of Climate Change

October 22, 2019
Amongst all the dark news on climate change and the chaos rising around it, it is important to remember this degeneration of land and culture is a fairly new thing on the grand scale of human existence on earth.

Modern humans have been around for 200,000 years, but we only began pillaging the earth around 12,000 years ago through our ignorant farming, systems and habits. The industrial revolution, which bolstered our great leap to the brink of extinction, only showed up to throw us further off track a few generations back.

95% of the time we have been on earth, we’ve lived in symbiosis with the natural world, a reality of existence long forgotten by most. Yet despite nearly constant violent oppression for hundreds of years, this knowledge and way of life is protected in the hearts and minds of Indigenous peoples around the world.

In learning this, along with the principles of building healthy soil, cultivating regenerative cultures, and embracing lessons of sacred ecology (all Traditional Ecological Knowledge / Indigenous Ecological Knowledge), I find hope.
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Hope in the wisdom of minds who are training their brains to think critically and those journeys with vulnerability. Hope in the resilient rise of those oppressed by this world’s systems of supremacy. Hope in the possibility of a better world we’ve only just begun to (re)imagine and (re)build. Hope in daily acts of kindness, allyship and Love which are happening throughout the world.

Fredric Jameson said, “It is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism (and by proxy, colonialism)”, but we can, and we must, and it has to be now that we join forces, regardless of our beliefs and take collective action.

If we (mostly white peoples) are responsible for the cause of climate breakdown, capitalism and colonization, we are then capable and responsible for dismantling the continuation of these abuses as well.

Currently, 10% of the human population is responsible for 50% of carbon emissions and it is only the pattern of our daily lives that makes us believe we can do nothing to stop them. In reality, it only takes 3.5% of our population to overthrow what is and create what could be: a kinder, greener world, built with equality through regenerative reciprocity.
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We are not governed by capitalism and colonialism; these systems are buttressed by us. As eco-anxiety and social justice issues rise rife, don’t push away. No one knows the perfect path nor solution to the fairer future that awaits us, it’s something we collectively, and imperfectly, create by changing our collective fictions. Enabling instead a human story that is written by those who hold the conscious wisdom of our forgotten past (indigenous peoples), amplified and supported by those who have lost their way (white peoples).

It is a story built from listening, learning, amplifying, acting, thinking, and sharing. Creating outside, but also with, the systems surround us. Remoulding with speed what was, into an ever-evolving web of what must come.

Embrace, lean in, and learn, share ideas, reflect on criticisms, delete defensiveness. Amplify others’ thoughts, you never know how far a seemingly small idea may ripple to a wave of discovery that changes everything as we know it.
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Alpaca Wool Is Ethical, Cruelty-Free, Sustainable, And Regenerative

October 09, 2019
True sustainable fashion, is actually regenerative fashion, and what movements like Fibershed are showcasing, is that with regional fiber systems that build healthy soil and protect the health of our biosphere, we can create clothing in a way that leaves the planet better off for the fact the creation has occured.

One such regenerative fashion fiber, though 'foreign', can be created with ethical alpaca wool. Alpaca wool is a noble fiber, gifted by gracious grazers whose kind have inhabited Peruvian lands for 40+ million years . They create the foundation of garments so beautifully pure and lovingly made, each piece acts as amorous armour to the outside world.⁣⁣
ETHICAL ALPACA
Gathered while the earth is in full bloom from alpacas kept as pets, the fibres are cleaned and spun before they’re traditionally knit. For a brand called Mantari (pictured), each alpaca item by the hands of 100 mothers working in their own homes in the Junín region of the Peruvian Amazon, supporting indigenous ways of life and protecting indigenous lands.
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⁣SUSTAINABLE ALPACA
Undyed, yet exploding in a spectrum of whites, browns, beiges, and greys, they leave a small train of un-tainted water behind them ensuring the earth is not harmed in a garment's creation.⁣ The natural state of the fleece invites each piece to return to the earth from which they sprung when the garments they become have lived their lives.⁣ The process leaves waste wanting, as every inch fibre is respected and appreciated in a way long forgotten by our kind. ⁣

REGENERATIVE ALPACA
The alpaca who donate these fibers are nature’s perfect lawnmower, ‘ruminants’ they’re called, who eat less than most other domesticated animals and aid in the regeneration of the soil they wander on.

CRUELTY-FREEE ALPACA
To mistreat these conscious creatures would mean certain death to any business who hopes to benefit from their generous gifts, as they cannot thrive or produce fleece without the love and companionship of their kin and those who mind them. ⁣
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Carbon Sequestration In Soil And Sea Prevents Climate Change And Enhances Food Security

October 03, 2019
Regenerative Farming and Regenerative Aquaculture offer restoration of both land and sea beyond misconceived sensations of 'sustainable', restoring soil and ocean health by feeding carbon to plants, which in turn forms nutritious food, reverses global warming, and revitalizes local economies. But in order to make this possibility an accessible reality to all, and offer generations to come the flourishing future they deserve, we have to stop burning fossil fuels and end the degenerative farming practices which degrade our seas and soils. 
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WHAT IS REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE?
The bulk of current farming practices on land displaces carbon from the soil (where it creates life) forcing its migration into the atmosphere and oceans (where its overpopulation causes harm). 

Restoring soil with regenerative agriculture (by planting cover crops and perennials and eliminating monocultures, GMO, and tilling) offers heaping handfuls of hope. Properly practised using the principles developed by Indigenous peoples around the world, terrains that are desertifying through loss of carbon due to degenerative farming practices can instead sequester up to 60 tons of carbon per acre as regenerative agriculture creates an environment carbon can do positive things in.

This type of farming also increases crop productivity, water retention, nutrient uptake, and pest resistance, while culling the dangerous use of synthetic fertilizer, fungicides, pesticides and herbicides which cause our planet and its inhabitants harm.

Soil scientist Rattan Lal estimates that if we enhanced the carbon content of the planet's soil by 2 percent, we could offset 100 percent of current greenhouse gas emissions. Considering the apocalyptic reality to greet us if we don't do everything we can to reverse global heating, it's a movement worth working into policy and bolstering through grassroots movements like Kiss The Ground and Farmer's Footprints which fight for soil and food sovereignty.
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WHAT IS REGENERATIVE AQUACULTURE?
Soil isn't the only element that can be regenerated, and regenerative ocean farming or regenerative aquaculture, offers an incredibly hopeful solution for our waterways, closing the loop to create potentially sustainable food systems through the creation of small-scale coastal underwater gardens.

These vertical aquaculture gardens require only a few non-privatized acres of the ocean and can grow heaps of seaweed and shellfish (oysters, mussels, clams) which improve water quality, create habitats for other marine life, and offers sustainable food and biofuel to life forms above and below the surface. 

Both seaweeds and shellfish require no input, thriving off the sunlight, nutrients, and plankton benevolently offered by the natural world. In addition, oysters filter nitrogen pollution caused by 'conventional' agricultural practices by incorporating it into their shells and tissue as they grow, as they filter through 50 gallons (227 liters) of water a day.

Seaweed sequesters carbon dioxide from its overpopulation in the atmosphere, creating food for heterotrophs (beings which cannot produce their own food and thus eat autotrophs who feed themselves through the sun) while it does. It grows at a rate 30 to 60 times faster than land-based plants, so much so that one study suggests that if we cover 9 percent of the world’s oceans in seaweed farms, we could draw down the equivalent of all our current emissionsand grow enough protein to feed a population of 10 billion.  Supporting projects like Greenwave is a great way of creating a new generation of ocean farmers who are enhancing food security and reversing global warming in this way.

A FLOURISHING FUTURE
To ensure we make this hopeful promise of human and planetary health a reality, and offer generations to come the flourishing future they deserve, we have to stop burning fossil fuels and end the degenerative farming practices which degrade our seas and soils. Empowering instead unseen or ignored life forms beneath the surface of our feet and seas to aide us in unwinding ourselves from the grips of self-perpetuated acts of ecocide.

** IF YOU FOUND THIS PIECE EDUCATIONAL, PLEASE CONSIDER A ONE-TIME OR MONTHLY DONATION TO MY PATREON ACCOUNT **
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IS THE VEGAN SOCIETY GREENWASHING?

September 08, 2019
Disclaimer: This post is meant to be educational; I am by no means having a go at the vegan diet. I hope this information will help those who purchase their products divest, and instead make informed purchases which align better with their morals and values, while also encouraging The Vegan Society to reform their supply chain. 

We have the same problem with big agriculture we do with big energy, and whether you’re eating a vegan diet or not, power has become so centralized that policy supports companies creating with capitalism in mind.

Capitalism breeds greenwashing, which is a form of communication which deceptively promotes the perception that an organization's products, aims or policies are environmentally friendly.

Though The Vegan Society does not specifically state that products marked with their sunflower symbol are ‘sustainable’, their website uses similar language which suggests their food does somehow improve the planet, with subheadings like 'grow green' and 'plate up for the planet'.

Through their communication, they allow their symbol’s significance to remain vague and thus it is important to understand that when you are purchasing food with the sunflower symbol, and by piling pounds in the pocket of The Vegan Society, it only promises the products under their umbrella are free from are ingredients which cause direct harm to vertebrates and multicellular invertebrates who could be used in the ingredients of food production. 

It does not protect animals harmed directly or indirectly by the farming practices these vegan products are produced on, nor those harmed by the effects of their processed food’s production, nor those harmed in the after-life of the products created (from plastic pollution and food waste).

IE// The Vegan Society mark does NOT signify that the product is:
- Organic
- GMO-free
- Produced through Sustainable or Regenerative Farming Practices
- Produced without human slavery
- Packaged sustainably
- Does not consider land rights

In fact, when I questioned Chantelle Adkins, Head of Business Development at The Vegan Society at the Grow Green Conference earlier this year she stated:

“The best way to get [our] trademark out there is to stick to the standards that we feel affect the reduced exploitation of animals. So kind of the fringe issues around single-use plastics or human animals or the type of agriculture practiced kind of takes us away from the core standards of what we think will reduce exploitation of animals. Whilst I'm not against it, and I try to do my bit as an ethical consumer, as a vegan for the animals, I feel like the core standards of veganism, as we say they are, are what will really make the change. And then I would absolutely recommend other organizations that are looking at like plastic use, sustainability, and other environmental factors around plastics and things to be the authority on that, rather than trying to bring that in".

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WHY THESE AREN’T ‘FRINGE ISSUES’
Though I understand The Vegan Society can’t be responsible for every aspect of sustainability and ethics, there is some disparity between what they adamantly claim to be doing for animals, and the effects of their inaction on the animals they (cl)aim to protect.

ORGANIC / CHEMICAL-FREE FOOD
If a product is not organic, that usually means it is drenched in chemicals in its creation which runs off into the waterways directly harming life above and below ground, as well as human health

GMO
If a product is not free of GMOs, it is dependant on the herbicide round-up, which kills life below ground. In addition, most GMO crops are (most often) grown as a monoculture, meaning they degrade the soil and reduces the health of the biosphere, as well as species loss, soil depletion, global warming. When it comes to human health, the glyphosate-formulated herbicide and pesticides used on GMO crops have been linked to numerous health problems related to agrarian racism, including cancer, particularly non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in three separate peer-reviewed studies (1,2,3), ADHD, rhinitis, and hormone disruption.

REGENERATIVE FARMING PRACTICES
If ingredients are not produced regeneratively, they are degenerative, meaning they leave the planet worse off for the fact that they’ve been grown. Regenerative Agriculture is a system of farming principles, inspired by Indigenous practices, which increases increase biodiversity, enrich soils, improves watersheds, and enhances ecosystem services. It aims to capture carbon in the soil in aboveground biomass (plants) while reversing global trends of atmospheric accumulation causing climate breakdown. 

At the same time, it offers increased yields, resilience to climate instability, and higher health and vitality for farming and ranching communities. This type of farming protects the biosphere which wild animals inhabit along the production chain, while also increasing animal welfare standards, and promoting decreased meat consumption (the animal rights aspect of the Regenerative Organic Certification is run by an animal rights activist and lawyer).

SLAVERY
“Human-animals” as Chantelle put it, are not fringe issues. 13 million people were captured and sold as slaves between the 15th and 19th centuries; today, an estimated 40.3 million people – more than three times the figure during the transatlantic slave trade – are living in some form of modern slavery, according to the latest figures published by the UN’s International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Walk Free Foundation. In the UK alone (which does little of its own farming), an estimated 10,000 to 13,000 people are being exploited in the food and farming industry.

PLASTIC POLLUTION
Most food holding The Vegan Society’s mark is wrapped in plastic. As most of us know, plastic is not a ‘fringe’ issue. Microplastics have been found in every body of water on this planet, the deep seafloor, arctic beaches, sea ice, water column, sea surface, and the seafloor. Tiny plastic particles also a present threat to creatures in the soil and on land which is similar and possibly more problematic than the oceans. Researchers warn that the impact of microplastics in soil and sediments could have long-term negative effects on terrestrial ecosystems throughout the world. Scientists measuring microplastics in snow samples from remote locations as well as in Canada and France, found levels of microplastics are falling from the sky. Raising concerns that microplastics are being carried around the planet in atmospheric winds and being breathed in. A recent study also found that 94% of tap water in the ‘USA’ has microplastics in it as well. Worryingly, a new type of plastic - pyroplastic—has emerged as a newly described form of plastic pollution which ends up looking like grey beach rocks, is created by burning plastic and dumping it into bodies of water where it becomes part of the geological cycle.

LAND RIGHTS
Since the commencement of colonization and still today, the UK (and most ‘Western countries’) relies on approximately 20 million ‘ghost hectares’ (hectares of other people’s land) keep its citizens fed, clothed and consuming, enabling the country to overcome production limitations that would have otherwise inhibited domestic growth. This is an extension of colonialism and also an act of environmental racism as the majority of these ‘borrowed’ hectares are not farmed ethically or sustainably, reaping pollution and encouraging acts of slavery on foreign lands. If you are purchasing food products which come from another country (bananas, mangos, avocado ect …) it is likely you have supported this system with your diet choices. In addition, nearly all of the land being used as ‘ghost hectares’ is stolen Indigenous lands.
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SO WHAT DO WE DO?
PROVENANCE
If you are eating foods marked with The Vegan Society symbol, you hold enough privilege of finance and time to make alternative choices. Eat whole (unpackaged if possible) foods which are local and seasonal to you, farmed regeneratively or at the very least, organically.

Please note, that if you live on lands colonized by European (or other) parties, this will likely mean you need to be cognisant of land rights as all lands colonized by Europeans (and others) belong to those Indigenous to those lands. Thus, it is even more important that you are conscious about what you are consuming, where it comes from, and how its growth affects the land it is grown on. 

One idea to help rebalance the imbalance is to redirect the monies saved by buying whole foods (rather than pre-packaged food marked by the Vegan Society, for which they make a handsome profit) towards Indigenous-led organizations whose lands your food is grown on (this involves self-education of Indigenous territories, native-land.ca offers an interactive map of Indigenous nations worldwide). Francesca Willow has put together a list of Indigenous-led organizations worldwide which you can find via this link

Even if you, like The Vegan Society see 'human-animals' as 'fringe issues' of the 'vegan agenda', Indigenous peoples are responsible for protecting 80% of the remaining biodiversity on this planet (21). That biodiversity houses 8.7 million (give or take 1.3 million) of the total estimated number of species on Earth, with 6.5 million species on land and 2.2 million in oceans. So by protecting Indigenous land rights, you are protecting animal rights as well. 

POLICY
Healthy, plant-based food is a basic human right. No matter how you eat, the price-distorting government subsidies supported by lobbying from the agrochemical sector to push the sale of their chemical assistance remains rife. These subsidies benefit the conventional livestock industry, mono-crop farming, GMO farming, chemical cropping and so on, create an environment where ramped meat consumption and degenerative farming practices are encouraged. It should cost more to use pesticides and more to farm in ways which degrade land and reduce the health of the citizens of the land. Government subsidies should be used to help lower-income citizens access nutrient-rich plant-based food, farmed regeneratively. Write your local representative to find out what avenues you can take to push policy locally and federally. 

** IF YOU FOUND THIS PIECE EDUCATIONAL, PLEASE CONSIDER A ONE-TIME OR MONTHLY DONATION TO MY PATREON ACCOUNT **
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PLEASE NOTE: Nothing I write is meant to be insulting in any way. I aim to educate in ways that enhance critical thinking and nature relatedness, and that’s all. Though I recognize that sometimes that education is uncomfortable and that difference of opinion is a natural part of progression, I do require negative comments to come after the entire post, and all sourced material has been read and digested. This post + sources should take you 12+ hours to consume. I will not respond to aggressive or abusive comments, especially those which have already been addressed in the resources listed or in my previous work xo⁣⁣
IMAGES: Annie Spratt
⁣⁣SOURCES:
1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969719311969#f0020
2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780124095489112692
3. The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health, David R. Montgomery & Anne Bilke
4. https://ec.europa.eu/environment/archives/soil/pdf/soil_biodiversity_brochure_en.pdf
5. https://kisstheground.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/KTG_Purchasing_Guide_101718.pdf
6. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/jul/31/human-life-is-more-expendable-why-slavery-has-never-made-more-money
7. https://www.globalslaveryindex.org/2018/findings/global-findings/
8. https://www.gla.gov.uk/whats-new/the-nature-and-scale-of-labour-exploitation-across-all-sectors-within-the-united-kingdom/
9. Anderson Abel de Souza Machado, Werner Kloas, Christiane Zarfl, Stefan Hempel, Matthias C. Rillig. Microplastics as an emerging threat to terrestrial ecosystems. Global Change Biology, 2018
Web link: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180205125728.htm
10. https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/8/eaax1157
11. https://www.nature.com/articles/544297
12. R. W. Obbard, S. Sadri, Y. Q. Wong, A. A. Khitun, I. Baker, R. C. Thompson, Global warming releases microplastic legacy frozen in Arctic Sea ice. Earths Future 2, 315–320 (2014). https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/2014EF000240
13. B.E. Grøsvik, T. Prokhorova, E. Eriksen, P. Krivosheya, P. A. Horneland, D. Prozorkevich, Assessment of marine litter in the Barents Sea, a part of the Joint Norwegian–Russian Ecosystem Survey. Front. Mar. Sci. 5, 72 (2018) https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2018.00072/full.
14. L. D. K. Kanhai, K. Gårdfeldt, O. Lyashevska, M. Hassellöv, R. C. Thompson, I. O'Connor, Microplastics in sub-surface waters of the Arctic Central Basin. Mar. Pollut. Bull. 130, 8–18 (2018).
15. M. B. Tekman, T. Krumpen, M. Bergmann, Marine litter on deep Arctic seafloor continues to increase and spreads to the North at the HAUSGARTEN observatory. Deep-Sea Res. Part I 120, 88–99 (2017). https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S096706371630200X
16. https://orbmedia.org/stories/Invisibles_plastics/
17. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969719335351
18. Via Sebatian Cox / Meat: A benign extravagance. Simon Fairlie 2010 + www.tfa2020.org + www.ota.com
19. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/27/western-idea-private-property-flawed-indigenous-peoples-have-it-right
20. https://ethicalunicorn.com/2019/03/05/supporting-indigenous-rights-fighting-colonial-conservation/
21. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2018/11/can-indigenous-land-stewardship-protect-biodiversity-/

Clothing Dyed With Plants

September 04, 2019
Plant dyed clothing is almost unheard of in the sustainable fashion industry, but dyes can be created from minerals, bugs, and plants protecting the planet in the process of creation. Most of the clothing we wear gets its vibrant colours from synthetic dyes, made with the help of non-renewable resources like petroleum and coal.

Colouring fabric is an incredibly resource-intensive process, releasing 70+ toxic chemicals into the water supply, including known carcinogens that poison the living planet's soil, water, and air, increasing risk of cancers onto its inhabitants.
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Using these chemical dyes in our clothing and textiles is yet another form of environmental racism, as the majority of the people directly affected by the poisons the fashion and textile industries emit, are low-income, minority communities, working for slave wages to make the products we frivolously purchase. Begging to question whether clothing dyed with anything but plant-dyes is truly ethical or sustainable (it's not).

Textile dye is the second-largest polluter of clean water globally, after conventional agriculture; however, there are simple solutions to the problem in most of our backyards and on our farmlands. If the garments are dyed with plant materials created with regeneratively farmed cultivations that regenerate the soil, then the dye not only halts harm but also contributes to carbon drawdown, reversing global heating and preventing climate breakdown. 
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Some of the colours on the natural dye wheel even make use of potential food waste diverting it from the landfill to be put to positive use. Reduced food waste is the THIRD most effective way of reversing global warming, according to Project Drawdown, adding yet another positive to the practice.

This type of production would difficult to implement on a mass scale, but large scale systems are part of the problem with the ethics and sustainability of the fashion and textile industry as a whole. This is one of many reasons I believe that supporting small businesses who are actively investing in truly ethical and spectacularly sustainably supply chains, encourages a future for fashion which does more good than harm, leaving the planet better off for the fact that it's occurred.

CLOTHING CREATED WITH PLANT-BASED NATURAL DYES

ONE. HOUSEWORK
** regenerative brand
women's clothing, homeware, accessories, beauty products, books
Curating a collection of exclusively undyed or naturally dyed, organically grown, natural fibers, Houseworks Store works with transparent textile supply chain to ensure their clothing is circularly ethical and sustainable full-circle, free of polyester, nylon, or polycore stitching, free of synthetic elastics, and no chemical finishing. For their homeware, they ensure each piece is free of plastics and petrochemicals right down to the dyes, glues, resins, and coatings. All of their ceramics are lead and cadmium free, made with a natural mineral glaze. Their body care line, Haeckles, is entirely free of plastic-packaging, and their soaps, include climate beneficial pastured tallow, as well as single-origin, locally sourced, organic true extra virgin olive oil, seaweeds, and salt.
WHERE TO BUY? housework.store

TWO. EARTHEN WARRIOR 
** regenerative brand
women's clothing, sleep masks, accessories, dye classes
Using plant dyes created from the cultivations of Free Verse Farm, Earthen Warrior creates clothing, homeware and sleep masks from upcycled cashmere, silk, and vintage one-of-a-kind textiles. She also offers natural dye classes in New York, spreading the green colour wheel beyond her own work.
WHERE TO BUY? earthenwarrior.com/

women's clothing, men's clothing, baby clothing, homeware, undies
The organic cotton used to make Monsoon Blooms’ underwear and apparel is sprouted from non-GMO cotton seeds on small farms across India through Chetna Organic, who is dedicated to improving the livelihoods of small scale farmers by helping them convert to organic ecological agriculture practices. The cotton is then processed and knitted into bolts of fabric by Fair Trade USA, Fair Trade International, and Social Accountability International (SAI), Rajlakshmi Cotton Mill (RCM). The fabric is then dyed with medicinal plants foraged from deep in the forest of Kerala, using the ancient dyeing technique of Ayurvastra. Over 1200 medicinal plants contribute to the rainbow of pastel colours on offer at the dye-house, many of which are grown in their own backyard. After the dye is fixed and dried, our newly coloured organic cotton is ready for stitching into underwear and apparel at an ethical and fairtrade factory which offers interest-free loans to their workers to pay for life's big expenses like building a home, hosting a marriage, educating their children and arranging medical treatment for their employees' family, as well as a pension fund and state insurance.
WHERE TO BUY? monsoonblooms.com

FOUR. WEFT END
home linens
Canadian brand, Weft End, creates its collections with 100 natural, chemical-free, plant-based dyes cultivated through organic agriculture. No chemicals or bleach every touches the products they sell. To create a gorgeous clean and bright white, the ecru cotton threads go through a hot saltwater process to brighten the natural colour of the fabric. Each piece is hand-loomed using a traditional shuttle loom and made 100% G.O.T.S. Certified Organic Cotton sourced in Turkey.
WHERE TO BUY? weftend.com

FIVE. MARA VERA 
homeware and scarves
Mara Vera collaborates with master artisans in Gujarat and Rajasthan and works with locally sourced materials to deliver high quality, hand made textiles. All Mara Vera textiles are handwoven on pit-looms and hand block printed with natural and azo-free dyes, Pomegranate peels, Marigold flowers, Madder roots, jaggery, horseshoe nails, guar gum, red kasis, natural minerals are some of the sources used to create dyes used for printing Mara Vera scarves. To set up the pit loom, it takes five days to wrap more than 8,000 locally sourced cotton yarns around the wooden pegs. Then starched cotton warps are stretched across the loom and interwoven with carefully selected silk yarns to create each signature cotton scarf. Once woven, each piece is block printed by hand, then soaked in hot water and dipped in Harda paste before being laid in the sun to dry. 
WHERE TO BUY? maravera.co.uk

SIX. SUSTAIN BY KAT
** regenerative brand
women's clothing, baby clothing, accessories
Every aspect of Sustain By Kat‘s creation is as sustainable as currently possible, with a collection that is created both ⁣ ethically and sustainably in Los Angeles from 100% natural organic fibres, including her organic cotton thread and labels. Her pieces are either left undyed or dyed with natural plant dyes from Botanical Colors or Aura Herbal Wear which are organic and locally sourced, making them free of harmful chemical whiteners, optical brighteners or industrial fabric softeners.
WHERE TO BUY? sustainbykat.com

underwear and loungewear 
With a mission to bring change, awareness and education to the issues within the fashion industry, Hara The Label is creating ethical, plant-dyed underwear and loungewear using bamboo fabric (I don't normally recommend bamboo, but they are one of the few brands creating body inclusive undies, and say it is created in a closed-loop system). They use a portion of their profits to support the Environmental Justice Foundation who are working to irradicate environmental and human rights abuses, giving a voice to the voiceless.
WHERE TO BUY? harathelabel.com/

EIGHT. KAKAW DESIGNS
clothing and accessories 
The creator of Kakaw Designs, Mari, was born in Guatemala and returned to volunteer for non-profit organizations in indigenous areas. From her experiences, she found that providing long-lasting change within the country by providing meaningful work, rather than charity, created meaningful, longer-lasting change from within the country. So she created Kakaw in an effort to meet meaning with action, supporting talented traditional textile artisans in Guatemala to create handmade textile and leather products made from woven natural products, embroidery, and natural plant dyes.
WHERE TO BUY? kakawdesigns.com

NINE. GAIA
women's clothing, children's clothing, and accessories
Slow Fashion brand Gaia, focuses on organic material, mindful energy supply, and artisan quality goods and services for their creation. Observing every step of the creation of a garment, from seed to shirt.  They use locally produced (USA) certified organic fabrics and a mix of natural and low impact fibre reactive dye colours. They create their collection made-to-order to reduce waste and energy, and have hired a team of artisans to cut, sew, and dye each garment by hand in their North Carolina studio.
WHERE TO BUY? gaiaconceptions.com

TEN. BUY ME ONCE
Carrying Pendleton's new 'eco-wise' collection which is made in 'America' with renewable wool and natural plant dyes. It's certified by the Cradle-To-Cradle Products Innovation Institute, an independent nonprofit that’s developed manufacturing standards around renewability, sustainability, and social welfare. Even better, each Eco-Wise blanket, throw and sham is machine washable, designed to hold its rich colour and soft texture through every wash.
WHERE TO BUY? /buymeonce.com

ELEVEN. AZURA BAY
Azura bay carries natural vegan vegetable dyed non-GMO organic cotton yoga pants, bras and pjs in a range of beautiful colours. Unlike most yoga apparel, the stretch in the clothing is made from spandex which is thiuram and caba-free.
WHERE TO BUY? azurabay.ca
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Why Climate Beneficial Leather And Recycled Leather Might Be The Future Of Fashion

August 26, 2019
As inhabitants of a planet crumbling under the pressures of global heating, it's crucial for us to cull the frivolous corners of our culture. Instead of perpetuating plastic pollution and extraction of fossil fuels by supporting fashions made from synthetic materials and vegan leathers, our energy ought to be concentrated on making use of by-products from the plant and animal agriculture which feeds us. As well as upcycling natural materials which would otherwise make their way to the already overflowing landfills.
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OPUS MIND Circular Backpack | AZURA BAY Organic Cotton Tshirt KEMP GADEGÅRD Trousers

THE POSSIBILITY FOR CLIMATE BENEFICIAL LEATHER
Though the issues of conventional animal agriculture have been well documented and agreed upon, when it comes to fashion, it assumes that if people stopped buying leather, farmers would stop raising cattle. Instead, U.S. consumers are eating more beef than they have in a decade, but due to misinformation on the 'sustainability' of 'vegan leather', animal hides are piling up, sending the durable material to the landfill or incinerator unused.

Fortunately, the rise in awareness of regenerative agricultural practices offers a solution to both the dastardly deeds sustained by conventional agriculture and the unnecessary waste from food production and consumption.

In a recent carbon footprint evaluation of the beef produced through regenerative grazing at White Oak Pastures' zero waste farm, it was revealed that White Oak Pastures' beef stores more carbon in the soil than the cows emit during their lives, with the carbon footprint of their meat coming in 111% lower than conventional agriculture. In addition, White Oak Pastures' beef has a smaller carbon footprint than other non-beef protein sources, including Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger (based on their own LCA). Indicating the 'sustainability' of beef, and by proxy leather, is a result of how an animal is raised, not if the animal is raised.
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OPUS MIND Circular Backpack | BON HOPE Recycled Silver Bracelet



WHY VEGAN LEATHER ISN'T A SUSTAINABLE ALTERNATIVE
Unfortunately, instead of investing in regenerative fashion systems built from regenerative food systems, or even in circular fashion, shoppers who once chose to purchase durable products built from 'waste', are choosing synthetic alternatives instead.

What these consumers don't realize is that for every kilogram of plastic-based synthetic material produced, 1.1kg of oil is extracted and used. In vegan leather, the most common types of plastics used are dangerous and pollutive. To create PU for example, a highly toxic chemical solvent is used to create a liquid which can be painted onto the base material. Similarly, PVC, which vegan brand Matt & Nat use in their products, is considered by Greenpeace to be the "single most environmentally damaging type of plastic" ever created, and is a known carcinogen.

In addition, the dying process for vegan leather is also extremely pollutive, as plastic materials cannot be dyed with plant matter (only natural materials will take plant dye), so chemicals and toxins are applied in the form of toxic dyes and chemical fabric paints.

Like all plastics, synthetic fabrics and 'vegan leather' (even Piñatex and Apple Leather are primarily plastictake upwards of 1,000 years to biodegrade. When they breakdown they release phthalates, which can enter the food chain and the atmosphere causing respiratory problems, breast cancer, hormonal disruptions and birth defects.

Synthetic leathers also produce further pollutants in the process of being downcycled (vegan leathers cannot be recycled because plastic breaks down to a lesser material each time it is processed), and cannot be recycled indefinitely - meaning every plastic item produced will end up in the landfill eventually.

Conversely, wool and leather (and any other natural material) can be recycled without further harm as a part of the closed-loop system created by mama nature. In addition, programs like RecycLeather™ add nearly infinite regenerative loops to already (potentially) Climate Beneficial™ materials. Because leather is a natural material, it can be tanned chemical-free using traditional hide tanning practices like 'brain tanning' combined with being soaked in tannins from plants, oak, willow and chestnut.

We've seen this sort of soil saving circular story emerge from Fibershed's Climate Beneficial™wool, and Pela Case's upcycled agricultural waste to make phone cases and sunglasses which biodegrade. Leading the way for a future for fashion which is truly conscious and spectacularly sustainable because it is regenerative at its base.
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OPUS MIND Circular Backpack | BE FOR CHANGE Upcycled Leather Shoes | AZURA BAY Organic Cotton Tshirt | KEMP GADEGÅRD Trousers

NOT ALL LEATHER IS CREATED EQUAL
It is important to understand; however, that not all meat, nor leather goods are not created equal, and currently there are very few potentially Climate Beneficial™ products on the market. Most of the meat making its way to consumers plates is created in horrific scenarios for both the animal and the planet in mafia-style production which needs to be eradicated as soon as possible (read this article here to learn more).

Therefore, conventional leather is a byproduct of this harmful industry and is more than often processed using harmful chemicals. That said, we should not be wasting animal hides no matter how the animal is raised; so, if the option is available to you financially, you should be more concentrated about where the food you are eating is produced and how it is farmed (whether you are vegan or not). Cow skins represented 6% to 8% of a cow’s total value than your vegetable tanned leather consumption.

We have to learn to make use of resources in line with what the natural world yields when it is healthy and functioning, giving back more than we take rather than extracting every ounce offered. That means consuming significantly less (regardless of diet). Consumption itself is our worst enemy no matter how we eat, and our food has been dropping in nutrient density due to our ignorant farming practices which produce neither healthy food nor healthy soil, causing us to eat more and use significantly more resources.

Regeneratively raised carbon-negative cattle are not raised and slaughtered at speed. It's a slow and careful process that takes time. For example, The Horned Beef Company - who produce beef where crops won't grow through rewilding, regenerating the land, biodiversity and soil - only produce a limited-edition of meat four times a year. Animal slaughter is not a mass, nor everyday affair, as is seen in conventional agriculture. So our consumption of potentially Climate Beneficial™ leather would have to mirror limited-edition production as well. Creating a whole new system of place-based regenerative food and fashion.

This means that if you're going to eat meat, or buy leather, and you have the privilege of choice (which many people don't) the best way to do this responsibly is to purchase locally from farmers practising as many regenerative agriculture principals as possible, by looking for artisans processing leather and other byproducts traditionally, or brands recycling natural material waste responsibly.

RECYCLED LEATHER INTEGRATES INTO REGENERATIVE FASHION 
Despite leather's bad rep, some brave brands, like Opus Mind, are creating luxury recycled leather bags and accessories with waste reduction and circularity in mind. Upcycling industrial off-cuts that would otherwise end up in the landfill and extending the life and appreciation of durable materials.

Opus Mind helps close the loop with current leather wastage with the help of RecycLeather™, minimizing the production's carbon footprint and waste. Reclaiming and recycling, redirects some of the 23.22 million tons of leather yearly which would otherwise end up in the landfill, buried, or burnt.

The future of 'fashion', in my opinion, is a series of systems which leave the planet better off for the fact that they've occurred, rather than worse. Circular design, paired with natural materials, which integrate easily into potentially regenerative fashion systems, creating designs like Opus Mind, which will last a lifetime or two. Putting plastic into the past and building soil for the future.
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PHOTOS: SHANE WOODWARD
SPONSORED POST: This post was sponsored by OPUS MIND. The story, including all content, experiences, suggestions and opinions, are my own research and opinion. It is with the support from companies like this that I am able to continue researching, writing and sharing these sustainable stories. I'm most grateful for both their support as a brand and yours as a reader.

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