I have been avoiding (like the plague) using plastic water bottles and plastic grocery bags for a few years now, ever since I learned about the Pacific Gyre.
On January 9th, I was watching the sunset from our favorite local beach and noticed a lot of tiny plastic fragments in the line where the tide and the beach meet (see photo). Was this the first signs of the Pacific Garbage Patch making its way to my home town? Three weeks and a couple of storms later, virtually all of the sand from the beach was washed out to sea and what remains is a rocky landscape formerly hidden below the sand. My friend Lizzy thinks the beach looks "cleansed" since all plastic shards (and most of the sand) are now gone. I am told the waves will slowly bring our beach sand back. It will be interesting to observe this phenomena. I have started a personal Secular Sabbath Sunset Series blog and will document what I observe there.
Meanwhile, The Green Bag Lady and I think 5Gyres is the best web site for explaining the trash that is collecting in our oceans around the globe. I highly recommend you take a few minutes and check it out. Everyone should know about this important topic and 5Gyres is a fabulous resource for learning more.
Happy Birthday to US! January 2010 marks Harmony Art's 5th anniversary! What started as a wild idea/dream, has blossomed into almost 40 colorful organic cotton fabrics.
To mark the occasion, for the entire year (or while supplies last), order 5 wholesale rolls of Harmony Art fabrics (at one time) and receive a FREE roll of any of our limited release or clearance fabrics.
Thank you VERY much for your continued support and loyalty over the last 5 years! Cheers to us -- All of us!
As a follow up to yesterday's post, this article (with help from the non- profit Organic Exchange) hits the nail on the head and clears up some of the misinformation being spread. Here is the the last paragraph from the article:
"Ultimately the problem comes down to one of intent. The brands and retailers that are leading the way in ensuring the minimization of environmental impact of their sourcing programmes should not be censured if there is some degree of accidental contamination in their product. The beneficial impact of organic farming techniques still applies. Organic farming brings many social and environmental benefits; eliminating the use of harmful and toxic chemicals, reducing the cycles of debt that farmers, particularly marginalized ones in countries such as India, find themselves in, and contributing to healthy ecosystems that benefit farmers and their communities. While GMO contamination is a serious issue that must be addressed, it is important that the majority of farmers who are operating honestly continue to receive support and encouragement."
Well said. In case you are wondering, the picture is of a huge pile of cotton seeds taken while we were on the Sustainable Cotton Project farm tour in October of 2005.
You may have read some of the news reports about H & M organic cotton from India being found to contain Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). I find this both disturbing and heartening. Disturbing because organic cotton seeds are NOT allowed to have GMOs -- my personal opposition to GMOs is part of the reason that I have embraced organics (in food and fiber) so vehemently. For a great in depth post on GMOs visit our friends at Oecotextiles.
So why am I am encouraged by this disturbing report? Well, it means there are checks and balances and that they are working. The publicity of this discovery will no doubt serve to ensure there is better care in avoiding GMO seeds in the future. GMO drift is indeed real and also a serious threat to all organic crops. I hope this brings the attention needed to the problem so that moving forward we can ensure "organic" indeed means GMO free!
Rest assured, we are most certainly looking into our own "organic" fiber from India. According to my manufacturing partner:
"As far as we can see, there isn't any direct link to the farms they were buying from and where our production is-as you know I've gone through the farms where our fiber comes from and there is very meticulous paperwork and controls. However, I do understand that with GM/non-GM crops, tracking can be difficult."
I do want to point out that although a very important part of the organic story, GMOs are in no way the end of the story! Please visit our conventional vs organic page which shows many of the other improvements that organic fabric production address. I am hopeful this issue will help ensure better transparency and record keeping in India and all over the globe moving forward. Stay tuned... the journey (albeit bumpy sometimes) continues.
I spent the last week in Albany, NY getting to know my sweet little name- sake: Harmony Grace. (In case you were wondering, my middle name is Joy.) I am in love. She is such a sweet, alert, fun baby! She is pictured here wearing a hooded towel from Itty Bitty Spitty. A gift made by the incredibly talented Green Bag Lady.
I met Harmony Grace for the first time in the Albany airport. Did you know the Albany airport has an art gallery in it? The first thing Big Harmony & Little Harmony (and Mary!) did together was check out the current display called Material Witness. It is all about discarded materials being reused to create art. So, Harmony's first art show at 9 weeks old was recycled art. How cool is that! It couldn't have been more perfect. Here's a photo I took of one of the sections. Sorry, I don't have the name of the artist to give credit to but the show was produced in cooperation with the Rensselaer Schools of Architecture, and Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.