Fashion Revolution Day asks consumers to question their favorite brands over where and how their apparel has been produced.
Friday marks the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh, that killed 1,133 people and injured more than 2,500. It was this tragic event that caused two women in the UK to take action.
“We knew a disaster like this was going to happen,” Orsola de Castro, cofounder of Fashion Revolution Day, tells Mashable. “There were workers complaining about the infrastructure for months but were threatened with being fired if they did not show up to work.
Susan Davis Cushing's insight:
I worked in a wearable art store on clothing-conscious Capitol Hill in DC. If something was inexpensive and not made in America, it went to the back room. If it was made in the US, it wasn't inexpensive. People asked #WhoMadeMyClothes? When they saw the price tag for fair-trade clothing, they usually hung it back up and walked away.
This is the full story, as it has evolved over the past two years. Well worth a read and a pause.
The Obrenovac First Elementary School is the first established school in Belgrade, almost 200 years old. During the two centuries pupils of this school had no adequate indoor space for physical education and sports activities.
From the very beginning the idea was to design low budget, energy efficient and sustainable building with no unnecessary details.
As Obrenovac Municipality is close to the river Sava banks, it is under the influence of the underground water. This was the crucial technical problem which had to be resolved from the first preliminary design phase. Through design process, the solution for these challenges has been successfully found by designing the waterproof concrete hull, 5 meters deep in the ground, just few centimeters over the highest underground water level. This concept provided some kind of waterproof box, as boat sink, for all premises inside.
"Most swimming pools are doused in chlorine as a disinfectant, despite the fact that the chemical can react with other things commonly found in pools—like pee and skin cells—to create byproducts linked to asthma and cancer. A new temporary pool in London takes a different approach by cleaning the water with plants instead.
"In a "regeneration zone," plants like pondweed and water lily absorb nitrates and ammonium and release oxygen, while microorganisms reduce algae and germs. Another section of the pool uses a gravel bed to host another layer of microorganisms for more cleaning. Throughout the day, pumps push the water from the swimming area through the filters."
ALL FOR ENTRIES: We are seeking design IDEAS that are socially, ecologically and technologically relevant to humanitarian causes. The competition will be held April 23 at the Anti-Summit-beta at the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards, with 50K in prizes awarded. Apply by April 6th.
The discovery specific fungi are capable of eating up some of the most toxic of materials is spurring on research into fungi as an answer for our global waste problem connected to our addiction to disposable, cheap plastics goods. Fungi may also become the foundation of a new chain of food supply if this intriguing growing system can move beyond the prototype phase and eventually help grace our plates with the “fruits” of its terrarium growing labor.
2014 was an incredible year for green design – and here’s why. We’ve seen technological breakthroughs ranging from airborne wind turbines to Tesla’s first battery-swapping station and a floating device that could clean the world’s oceans.
In March of this year, we unexpectedly received an email with the subject line, “Asante Sana (Thank You) from Kenya!” It was sent by a woman named Nirvana, who is part of a team working to empower rural Kenyans with life and entrepreneurial skills. It seems that their goal is to inspire people to challenge the current social and cultural systems that tend to keep rural Kenyans impoverished. Read part of Nirvana’s first email to us:
Dear Alabama Chanin,
You inspired 39 rural Kenyan women and men to start a tailoring class to learn hand sewing! They thought they had to have a sewing machine to learn tailoring. They also thought only poor people sewed by hand!
My American team and I are living in rural Kenya to teach Kenyans how to move beyond survival entrepreneurship. When so many community members said they wanted a tailoring class, I had to get creative. I knew there had to be a way to empower these youth without having to buy or find at least 20 sewing machines. So I Googled “hand sewing.” Of course, that led me to Natalie and Alabama Chanin!
When they realized that hand sewing is an art that people will pay the big bucks for, they were clearly inspired. They also loved learning that Natalie started with second-hand clothes. Your story is so perfect for these students! Every Monday and Friday from 10:00 am to noon, a core group of at least 21 students meet together to inspire each other to master hand sewing as a means to becoming tailors.
Our first group project is to make three new curtains for the local church that graciously hosts many of our classes, sewing and others. The current embroidered velvet curtains are at least 20 years old and are falling apart! We’re using this project to teach them the value of criticism for the creative process. These youth have been taught to be good students, to do perfect work and to make no mistakes! What a challenge to open their eyes to the power of critique! We are learning how to teach the students to have the sensibilities of an artist.
Our first response was: Wow. We’ve so often marveled at the power of the internet, its potential as a teaching tool, and its ability to connect those all over the world in shared experiences. We know this to be true and have seen it in action, but this connection felt larger—like a confirmation that the Alabama Chanin mission of sustainability and advancement of the “living arts” has meaning on a global level.
Recycling plastic may be expensive, but we've got oceans of it to deal with, both literally and figuratively. This project will spin out enormous capacity for innovation -- Imagine the 3d printer tough enough to use recycled materials!
The world is becoming more centralized, increasingly focused on economies of scale and transferring wealth to a tiny elite at the top of the financial system. Yet, at the same time there is another movement that is actively working to decentralize the world.
Susan Davis Cushing's insight:
This post by Dan West identifies real tools that make grassroots sustainability possible to real people. Refreshing, simple, comprehensive.
The first commercial aquaponics farm offering fish and vegetables has opened its doors in Berlin. The small farm could be part of a bigger picture, as the world looks for sustainable ways to feed the world.
Susan Davis Cushing's insight:
Aquaponics is finally scaling up to a truly viable level. Kudos Berlin!
"The world burns or cuts down about 26 billion trees a year. It replants about 15 billion. You can see the shortfall. At the moment, we're not planting trees quickly enough to combat deforestation—a problem with big implications for climate change.
"A 100-kilometre array of floating barriers designed by a 20-year-old inventor aims to clear the oceans of waste plastic, and is one of the projects shortlisted for this year's Designs of the Year award (+ slideshow).
"Dutch engineering student Boyan Slat created The Ocean Cleanup concept with the aim of clearing the oceans of their plastic gyres – floating islands made of millions of pieces of waste that accumulate where currents converge. (more)
We live in a material world, people — synthetic material, that is, with all the attendant mess that makes. But how can a society addicted to Ziploc baggies, Styrofoam coffee cups, and cheap building materials do without?
For Riz Boardshorts, the 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic choking up the world's oceans is 5.25 trillion pieces too many. The British swimwear label wants to transform some of that dross into the world's first 100 percent recycled board short.
The Future Living house took twenty six designers to create it, with every technologic leap analyzed to make sure all proposals were possible by 2050. It’s a paradigm shift in home resource creation and location with water using gravity to generate pressure and energy harvested from solar and wind. Air, water and waste are cleaned using a living bio wall.
Development in rural African communities is often limited by lack of access to reliable power – hospitals, schools and businesses all require a steady source of electricity in order to function. The government of Ethiopia just announced plans to address this need using the AORA Solar-Hybrid system. The AORA system is ingenious because it is modular and uses less water than other systems, but perhaps best of all, the concentrated solar tower looks like a gorgeous energy-generating tulip high in the sky.
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