Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My Ecological Footprint

I attended last week a conference by Guibert de Marmol with as a theme: “Seul la metamorphose de l’homme peut engendrer la metamorphose du monde.” A very interesting and direct message was given to the 150 or so business men... ‘You have a ecological responsibility’ and it is NOW that you must act. That was clear... Now, I’m only running a small practice but still I too have a responsibility... so where is it that I leave my trace, what is my professional CO2 footprint? I don’t use that many products except for towels. Cotton towels... and didn’t I read somewhere:

When produced with conventional agricultural practices, cotton generally requires the use of substantial amounts of fertilisers and pesticides.

Globally, cotton accounts for 11% of all pesticides used each year, even though the area of production is only 2.4% of the world’s arable land.

With regard to the subset of insecticides, cotton producers use 25% of all insecticides used each year. In developing countries, estimates suggest that half of the total pesticides used on all crops are applied to cotton.

Forty-six insecticides and acaricides (compounds used to control mites and ticks) comprise 90% of the total volume of all pesticides used on cotton. Five of these are classified as extremely hazardous, 8 as highly hazardous, and 20 are moderately hazardous (Soth 1999).


So what are the alternatives... Bamboo! Time to get in contact with Nick from Mobboa. A Belgian bases online shop which sells Bamboo bassed textiles. I had his details from Simone ( http://thehubbrussels.pbwiki.com/ ) and always wanted to contact him to get some more information but had pushed it always forward and eventually forgotten... the conference however said act now... so I did.

Very interesting... and no the textiles aren’t made of 100% bamboo... but at least most of it is... this is a start... and no the cotton isn’t bio-cotton... and some of the processes needed to liberate the bamboo fibers still needs chemicals but it is a start and has in the long run an positive impact (read his website). Also the more we change towards the better alternative... the more funds are available to develop new techniques to do even better (enzymatic approaches to get to the bamboo fibers exist but are still too expensive) ... So my resolution the next towels I need will be from bamboo... which are also softer and more water absorbable then cotton... great!


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