Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day

This is to honor the Blog Action Day post that Joanne from The Laid-Back Buddhist requested.

While I am not as eco-concious as I should be, I do try. I no longer get newspapers or magazines, I try to re-use plastic bottles for awhile before I set them in the recycle bins, and I take our city's light-rail system when ever possible. I planted 10 trees in my yard in the last two years, and I keep our heat and AC systems off for as long as possible. If I can cut down on my red meat intake, I can smugly strut about in the knowledge that my carbon hoofprint is offset.

However, another brewing environmental disaster has reared its horned and shaggy head, and this one hits me in the softest part of my underbelly. (Purrr.)

If you've been reading here a bit, I have tried to make it clear that I wasn't raised with a silver spoon. I was raised by poor ex-hippies super liberal types who tried to instill their view of proper values within me. For the most part, it took.

However, as I have gotten older, and more able to sustain myself and my family, some of the "finer" things in life now call to me. Red Wine, a housekeeper, massages, and...cashmere.

Now, it's not like my folks dressed me in rough spun burlap sacks and shuffled me off to school each day, but I never had very nice clothes, mostly hand-me-downs or secondhands. I never had anything besides cotton sweaters from the Gaaaaap (in my best "Pat" imitation) and a couple of super itchy wool sweaters my far away auntie sent on Christmas.

That is, until I got older and could dress myself. Then one crisp fall day, back in '99, I bought my first cashmere sweater. Glorious would be the only way to describe the sensory output from this black v-neck, and soon we were in love. I wore it as often as I could without people starting to comment.

("What, this? No this is a different black cashmere sweater, I just happen to own three....")

Sadly if I only had carefully read the cleaning instructions, I'm sure we would be fast friends even to this day. . .

That type of article of clothing was as close to being metro sexual as I would get, but it started a love affair of all things cashmere for me. As I get older and have run out of things I want or need for any gifts, cashmere __________ is my stock answer. I now have ten sweaters, a scarf or two, even cashmere lined gloves! It's eight times warmer than wool, hard to wrinkle, has less pills and gets softer as you wear it. There are several sources of cashmere, but the largest and cheapest now comes from China.

Now, it has come to my attention that my love affair with this natural textile is bringing about the destruction of civilization!

Apparently, there are actually other humans on this planet as fond of cashmere as I am. This has spawned a huge boom in the farming of the goats - who's hair cashmere is made of. The demand is so great, the goods have actually gotten much cheaper.

These goats are very voracious consumers (much like my pugs) and will eat all the vegetation down to the very roots, strip bark from trees and woe betide anyone suffering from narcolepsy who goes down nearby a herd. They will wake up stripped of their flesh.

(Ok, probably not really, but still not a good idea.)

The mass expansion of these farms have now greatly contributed to the desertification of a large portion of China, which in turn causes more dust storms, which affects weather patterns worldwide, and especially in North America. All because of our need, my need, to consume.

So, in response to this global concern, I can act locally. I will no longer request cashmere, which will no longer be purchased for me, which will no doubt cause a worldwide glut of these goods, which will cause these farmers to switch of to far more sustainable crops, thus reducing the vegetation loss, and possibly return that grassland into a veritable paradise.

So, in years to come, if you see me strolling down the avenue in my ill-fitting, threadbare and ancient cashmere sweater, don't think of me as a poor dresser. Think of me as an environmentalist. I sacrificed so that future generations can still enjoy a fertile earth and breathe without a respirator.

You're welcome.


Some sources that cover this topic in a more serious and scientific manner:

Chicago Tribune article on the true cost of cashmere

Treehugger article also covering it, and how to feel good on your purchasing decisions.


Jackie said...

*crosses cashmere from Christmas list* siiiigh

Just promise if red wine gets on the bad for the environment list you keep that to yourself.

Joanne said...

LOLs. I've only just started making my rounds on the blogs that participated in Blog Action Day...but I have to say, this post is my favorite so far!

My parents were poor international graduate students when they had me and it really wasn't until middle school that I realized the difference of how much better off we are now than when I was a little kid. Clothes is a huge issue for my little sis, my mom and I...we have wayyy too much. Cashmere is a favorite in the fall and winter...and we all want our own!

tee-plate said...

wait, are you actually CONSIDERING cutting down on your red meat intake? from what i've seen, that would be a big sacrifice for you.
But, i would be honored to help you on this quest. I honestly think giving up meat would be easier than giving up cashmere....
Kudos to you and your environmental awareness SA!

meleah rebeccah said...

"That type of article of clothing was as close to being metro sexual as I would get..."


(dont give up Red Meat yo!)

But you are certainly on top of environmental awareness

moooooog35 said...

Does this mean we can eat the goats now?

I mean, we either eat them or wear them. So I see eating them as much more beneficial to the environment. goes really well with red wine.

wildcatsthree said...

I had no idea cashmere could cause such upheaval. I'm glad I've been enlightened, and also will no longer request it. thanks for the info

the domestic minx said...

Oh dear...

I am the hedonist you described earlier; red wine, designer goods, gourmet foods, CASHMERE..

My cloven hoofprint is embarrassing now that you have drawn attention to a very real concern...
I shall solve the problem by turning my fickle attentions elsewhere...for I can/will never be caught wearing anything ill-fitting or threadbare.
Tut tut, for shame, SA..


Speedcat Hollydale said...

I thought cashmere was made from giant squid fur, and only worn by royalty... what a gas!

thanks from Speedy

LOBO said...

I still get shivers when I see that poor woman.

This is the single scariest post I've ever read.

I'm still having nightmares about the goat ...