¿Por qué en la moda se está hablando de la agricultura regenerativa?

Especial para Infobae de The New York Times.

A la moda, como a la política, le encantan las palabras que están en tendencia, en especial cuando se trata del medioambiente. ¡Sustentabilidad! ¡Circularidad! Son palabras que salen con facilidad. Y ahora hay un nuevo término favorito: regenerativo.

En enero, el grupo de lujo Kering, propietario de Gucci y Saint Laurent (entre otras marcas), se convirtió en cofundador del Fondo Regenerativo para la Naturaleza, cuyo objetivo es convertir un millón de hectáreas de tierra que producen materias primas para la moda y llevarlas de la agricultura habitual a la agricultura regenerativa en un promedio de cinco años.

En febrero, The New Zealand Merino Company anunció que se unía a Allbirds, Icebreaker y Smartwool para crear la primera plataforma dedicada a la lana regenerativa.

The North Face y Patagonia ya promocionan prendas hechas con algodón regenerativo. Y Secteur 6, una nueva marca indoestadounidense que solo utiliza materiales cultivados de manera regenerativa, como la seda de pétalos de rosa, se ha asociado con la marca de ropa urbana Freak City L.A. para producir una colección cápsula que incluye camisetas de grafiti de algodón regenerativo con el lema: “Regenerar o morir”.


The New Buzzword in Fashion

The hottest new buzzword in fashion was borrowed from a group of people more likely to be spotted at a grain silo than at fashion week: farmers.

“Regenerative agriculture” is a term that was coined in the 1980s and that started gaining real momentum in 2017. It is used to describe a series of farming practices that prioritise soil health, biodiversity and holistic ecosystem restoration. Because proponents claim it can pull carbon out of the air and store it in the soil, making it a potential climate solution, it’s started to garner widespread attention even among people who don’t take an active interest in farming.

Partly for that reason, “regenerative” has become a descriptor that’s moved beyond agriculture and started cropping up more and more often in the world of fashion. Luxury heavy-hitters such as Prada, Gucci and Stella McCartney, independent designers Marine Serre and Mara Hoffman, and outdoor outfitters Timberland and Patagonia have all started using variations on the term in their PR and marketing.


La nueva apuesta por el algodón orgánico regenerativo que se abre camino dentro del mundo textil

Para producir 1 kg de algodón – equivalente a una camiseta y par de jeans – se utilizan 20.000 litros de agua. Pero eso no es todo, ya que esta industria presenta un alto consumo de productos como fertilizantes solubles y pesticidas, impactando significativamente a los suelos y a toda la biodiversidad asociada. Así, al igual como ocurre con la producción de alimentos, el modelo convencional de agricultura para la obtención de fibras ha generado numerosos impactos ambientales y sociales, por lo que distintas marcas han comenzado a apostar por el algodón orgánico sustentable.

La agricultura convencional está basada en fertilizantes solubles y en pesticidas. Además, el suelo está expuesto constantemente a arados profundos, que junto con la utilización de fertilizantes sintéticos y pesticidas, generan la pérdida de la materia orgánica del suelo, lo que trae serias implicancias para el medio ambiente y el cambio climático. El uso de la tierra para fines agrícolas, silvícolas y de otra índole generan alrededor del 23% de las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero, como dióxido de carbono, metano, entre otros, según recoge el informe de 2019 publicado por el Grupo Intergubernamental de Expertos sobre el Cambio Climático (IPCC).


Regenerative Agriculture Can Change the Fashion Industry—And the World. But What Is It?

“The word sustainable is like a dinosaur now,” Aras Baskauskas, the CEO of Los Angeles label Christy Dawn, tells me on a recent call. “What are we trying to sustain—the fires, the tornadoes, the mass extinction? We don’t need to be sustainable, we need to be regenerative.”

That conversation took place in early March, just before the coronavirus outbreak. Now, Baskauskas’s words feel almost prescient. Those natural disasters he mentioned are the result of our climate emergency, but so is the coronavirus; both are symptomatic of our fast-paced lifestyles and one-sided relationship with the planet. “We’ve forgotten that we are nature, and because of that, we’ve extracted from the earth without giving back,” he adds. “We take and don’t return.”

That’s true of many industries, but especially fashion. Even as we shift towards a more sustainable mindset, we can’t really say that anything we’re doing is “giving back” to the earth.


California Cotton Fields: Can Cotton be Climate Beneficial?

In this series, we highlighted stories of cotton producers in California who are continuing the legacy of growing cotton in the state but in a manner that’s more in tune with the current climate, weather conditions, and soil health challenges. Cotton can be grown in a more regenerative fashion, and these tenacious farmers are illuminating the path forward.

Cotton is abundant: in our wardrobes, where it makes up close to 25% of global textiles; in our national production, because the US is the third-largest producer of cotton after China and India; and in our home geography of the Northern California Fibershed, where enough is grown to provide each resident of the state with the equivalent of 7.5 pairs of jeans per year.

The Climate Beneficial™ stamp of approval was created to denote fibers coming from landscapes where carbon flow from the atmosphere and into the soil is being enhanced, and since it’s a practice-based verification managed by Fibershed, it supports farmers and ranchers as they shift their production method.


Why I’m Paying Farmers to Convert to Biodynamic Cotton

When you think about curbing pollution, taking aim at the clothes in your closet is probably not high up on the list. But the textiles industry is one of the most polluting on the planet. New trends and “ultrafast fashion” has clothing entering popular clothing stores on a weekly or even daily basis.

As a result, Americans have increased how much clothing they buy, with the average person bringing home more than 65 articles of clothing in 2016, according to the “Toxic Textiles” report by Green America.1 Where clothing was once valued for durability and practicality, we’re living in an age where people feel pressured to keep up with clothing trends, at the expense of quality and the environment. Green America noted:2

“[S]ocial media has led to a new trend of ultra-fast fashion — where companies are able to design, manufacture, and sell hundreds of products mere weeks after the initial conception of design, thanks to a large network of local and international factories.


Exposing the Dirty Business Behind the Designer Label

Even before it gets worn once, that new T-shirt you bought is already dirtier than you can imagine. It’s soaked through with toxic waste, factory smog and plastic debris—all of which is likely just a few spin cycles away from an incinerator, or maybe a landfill halfway around the world. Our obsession with style rivals our hunger for oil, making fashion the world’s second-most polluting industry after the oil industry.

According to the think tank Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF), the majority of fast-fashion products —the hyperactive production and marketing cycle fueled by high-volume, high-speed supply chains, which often bludgeon the environment while driving ultra-cheap retail market —are incinerated or trashed within a year. In the U.S., wasted leather, cloth, rubber and other scraps constitute over 8 percent of the total volume of solid waste. Global clothing consumption averages about 22 pounds annually per person, though the U.S. and Europe each average roughly triple that amount.


The Next Wave of Sustainable Fashion Is All about Regenerative Farming

“I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.”

These words from Nobel Prize-nominated teen activist Greta Thunberg helped galvanize 1.4 million people to take to the streets earlier this month to participate in the global school strikes for climate action. And while Thunberg’s message about the environment was alarming, the underlying assumption was that there’s real hope for addressing climate change.

Photo credit: Pexels

When human beings have made such a mess of the planet, where does that hope arise from? For many experts, a groundbreaking way of thinking about agriculture — regenerative farming — offers one of the most concrete reasons for optimism.

“Agriculture really represents the best chance that we have of mitigating and ending the climate crisis,” said Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario at the National Retail Federation in January.



Weaving Success Through Organic Cotton

In India, there is an urgent need for a shift towards ecologically and financially sustainable cotton

Author: Anita Chester | Published: June 25, 2018

India is the largest producer of cotton and the crop is of significant importance to the economy. Closely woven into the cotton story is the fate of over 6 million small and marginal farmers who plant this crop annually.

However, today, we have reached a point of inflection. The so-called successes of past decades heralded by the hasty adoption of transgenic Bt technology are being eclipsed by the recurrence of pest attacks, worsened by unsustainable land and water use. The growing resistance to pests, such as the pink bollworm, and an alarming rise of secondary pests, suggests that there has been an increase of pesticide use.

Other factors like erratic rainfall, poor extension services, dubious seed quality and lack of credit at reasonable rates, aggravate and worsen the situation for farmers who are not able to cover the increasing costs of production. Poor returns and debt cycles are thus driving cotton farmers to despair, and at times, death.


Slow Clothing, The Book

Author: Jane Milburn | Published: November 20, 2017

Slow clothing is following the lead of slow food as a way of responding to waste, pollution, and exploitation issues in the way we dress.

Australian social entrepreneur Jane Milburn, founder of Textile Beat, has spent five years studying the need to transform a culture of excess to a more thoughtful and engaged approach. She believes slow clothing is the antidote to fast fashion.

In her new book, Slow Clothing: finding meaning in what we wear, Jane presents a compelling case for wearers to change the way we dress so that we can live lightly on Earth.