This week, we’re taking a closer look at the natural and synthetic materials you’re probably wearing right now.
How did cotton become the “fabric of our lives”? Elise explains the reasoning behind advertising a material rather than a brand, and tells us which policies we should be paying attention to in regard to cotton manufacturing.
Then Olivia takes on the massive (but nearly invisible) problem of the synthetic material industry: microfibers. 1.4 million trillion of them.
Other topics discussed: exciting life changes, the limits of individual action and systems-change advocacy, and TikTok Olivia Rodrigo theories.
Story #1: Cotton (Elise)
Farm Bill, USDA
Cotton Incorporated – Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on Cotton Incorporated, Reference For Business
Those whimsical “Fabric of Our Lives” ads hide the ugly truth about cotton, Vox, Oct 2018
UNITED STATES: Cotton subsidies, New York Times, Nov 2007
DS267: United States — Subsidies on Upland Cotton, World Trade Organization, Oct 2014
America’s $24bn subsidy damages developing world cotton farmers, The Guardian, May 2011
Cotton Commercials: Do They Really Make You Want To Buy Cotton? (VIDEOS), Huffpost, Dec 2017
The Impact of a Cotton T-Shirt, WWF, Jan 2013
Organic farming is actually worse for climate change than conventional farming, Quartz, July 2015
How sustainable is organic cotton, really?, Vogue, Oct 2019
Cotton Still the “Fabric of Our Lives” After 25 Years, Sourcing Journal, Dec 2014
This Huffpost article (also in sources) has a ton of videos!
How to Save a Planet, Farm Bill episode
Story #2: Microfibers and Synthetic Materials (Olivia)
The Story of Microfibers, The Story of Stuff
You’ll Never Want to Buy Synthetic Clothing After Watching ‘The Story of Microfibers’, Treehugger, Oct 2018
Guppyfriend vs. Cora Ball for Reducing Microfiber Pollution, Earth Friendly Tips
Your Laundry Sheds Harmful Microfibers. Here’s What You Can Do About It., Katie Okamoto, New York Times, Apr 21 2021
Psst, do you know microfiber’s dirty little secret?, Ask Umbra, Grist
Check out both seasons of Trace Material to learn more about the social histories of hemp and plastic in the US.
You can sign The Story of Stuff’s Stop Plastic Microfiber Pollution petition now. It’s one step towards a systemic solution that puts the burden on clothing companies, not consumers. From the page:
Our bill requires clothing companies to attach a garment label informing consumers that laundering synthetic clothing in washing machines causes plastic fibers to shed. [If you live in California, click here to call your assemblymember to ask them to support AB 2379.]
Elise got married!!! Please welcome our new official podcast husband Lan Tolleson to the stage 🙂
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Thanks for listening!