Every April 22nd, we celebrate our fragile planet. People in countries around the globe engage in activities that raise environmental awareness to get us thinking about what we can do to make the world a healthier place for future generations.
Earth Day began in 1970, the year after a huge oil spill off the coast of California killed over 10,000 birds and marine mammals. That first year, it was only recognized in the United States but over the past five decades, Earth Day has grown into an international event that’s celebrated by more than a billion people every year.
Events and activities on Earth Day draw attention to the complex network of issues that pose a threat to our planet. Over the years, it has focussed on things like the need to recycle, global warming, deforestation, air pollution, renewable energy sources and safe drinking water. This year, the theme of Earth Day is “Protect Our Species” and looks at how human activity is destroying the planet’s flora and wildlife populations.
Which is why this is the perfect time to talk about natural fibers.
What is a Natural Fiber?
Natural fibers are produced by plants and animals. They are usually spun into yarn and woven, matted or bonded into a wide variety of textiles. Plant fibers include things like cotton, bamboo, flax, jute, hemp and rattan. Animal fibers make up a range of materials including silk, wool, angora and mohair.
What are the Benefits of Natural Fibers?
Unlike synthetic fibers which are essentially made of plastic and petroleum products, natural fibers decompose and don’t end up sitting in a landfill for hundreds of years. They are also:
- Breathable in warm weather
- Better insulators in cold weather
- Less likely to produce skin irritations
- Better at keeping their good looks than synthetics
Why is Using Natural Fibers Good for the Earth?
The manufacture of synthetic fibers involves the use of hundreds of toxic chemicals, and clothing made from synthetics are often finished with coatings that have been linked to cancer. They’re both bad for the environment and hazardous to the people who produce them. In addition, micro-fibers are invisible to the human eye, remain undetected in water processing plants, and end up polluting our drinking water and being ingested by fish.
Natural fibers, on the other hand, are often carbon-neutral. That means they don’t contribute to global warming because animals and plants absorb at least the same amount of CO2 as they create. Natural fibers are also fully biodegradable and because they use less energy to produce, the manufacture of natural fibers is a sustainable industry.
Non-organic cotton farming notoriously uses more pesticides than any other crop on the planet, and bamboo requires the use of harsh chemicals to break down the tough fibers. So yes, even some natural fibers have a long way to go in terms of reducing their environmental footprint. But compared to the irreversible damage being caused by the manufacture of synthetic clothing for the “fast-fashion” industry, using exclusively animal and plant sourced fibers is progress in the right direction.
At Brave Era, all our products are made from 100% silk that’s naturally hypoallergenic and chemical-free. It might seem like a small step on the long journey to undoing the damage we’ve inflicted on our planet, but that’s what Earth Day is all about.
Saving the planet, one mindful action at a time.