Get ready for a revolution in textiles that will help save the planet! Cloth made from seaweed that will safely biodegrade instead of rotting in landfills, adding chemicals to the earth… garments made locally using 3D printers instead of being shipped around the planet from distant factories… textiles dyed with harmless bacteria rather than chemical dyes and ridiculous amounts of water… it’s all there to see at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Museum of Design, or check it out online HERE.
The theme of the current Triennial is about designers working with scientists, farmers, engineers, doctors, and environmentalists to create solutions for pollution, extinctions, and climate change. Everything from eco friendly graves to monarch butterfly habitats that can be attached to buildings – NYC is on the monarch migration route – to bioplastics inspired by shellfish casings and colored with plant dyes (that’s the featured image of this post, created at MIT)… here is some hope for our ticking time bomb of a planet. (Fingers crossed it all gets implemented in time).
My attention went to the textiles, not only because they are my love, but because the textile industry is one of the biggest polluters of the planet. Cotton is the most pesticided crop in the world. Dyeing cloth requires unbelievable amounts of fresh water, never mind the chemicals and bleaching. Factories and global shipping of products – no need to elaborate. And then the sheer waste of textiles, either dumped or burned! So seeing these solutions coming down the pipeline was heartening.
I was so glad to discover that people have been diligently working behind the scenes to create options for us all. I think piecemeal solutions at this point in time are not enough – worldwide legislation and widespread consumer demand is needed to get these solutions in place, like how they got men on the moon within a decade when all resources were directed at that goal.
I write this as I attend NYC’s Climate Strike, with a lot of hope as I see so many children with their signs made of reused cardboard, especially three little girls holding a picture of polar bears, chanting fervently for their future. There are so many marches and protest movements that fizzle; hopefully this one will grow like the civil rights, suffragettes, women’s liberation, and Vietnam protests 💪🏻🌎🤞🏻.