Something I realized when Shannon and I were planning our notes for the Green Crafts panel at the Summit of Awesome is that there’s a lot of talk about how to be a greener crafter, but we don’t talk as much about why green crafting is important. I thought I’d share why it matters to me, and I hope you’ll tell me why green crafting is important to you, too!
What does green crafting even mean?
I feel like green is a crazily overused term. Sort of like “natural,” it really doesn’t mean anything when you see it in a marketing setting, because that’s just what it is: a marketing term. I think that it’s time for us to take back the word green by talking about what it means to us and why it’s important!
To me, “green” means:
- Thinking about the social and environmental impacts of my materials.
- Considering the entire lifespan of my materials and of what I’m making, and trying to craft cradle-to-cradle whenever possible.
- Choosing repurposed materials wherever I can and hunting for organic and other sustainable solutions for materials that I can’t find second hand.
- For me, vegan crafting goes hand in hand with green crafting. I don’t want the joy I get from my crafting to come at the expense of animals.
Why green crafting?
Right, so we covered the what, but what about why? Why is green crafting important?
The crafty community spends billions of dollars on craft supplies every year, and that adds up to a huge impact. I touched on this in the panel at the Summit, and I thought I’d share some of these facts about materials with you guys, too:
- Conventional cotton is responsible for 16-25% of the world’s pesticides. That is huge. All of those chemicals impact workers and pollute surrounding ecosystems. Imagine the impact if crafters rejected conventional cotton in favor of organic, which is grown sustainably.
- Conventional cotton is soaked in blood. The majority of conventional cotton on the market today comes from agricultural giant Monsanto, a company known for its shady practices. In India, farmers are committing suicide at an alarming rate because Monsanto basically sold them a bag of goods with their genetically engineered cotton and refuses to take responsibility. I know that the commercials tell us that it’s a natural material and “the fabric of our lives,” but this is far from true!
- Metal mining destroys ecosystems. Mining for copper, gold, and silver is a lot like mining for coal. Companies use strip mining techniquest to shave the tops off of mountains and get at the minerals below. The result? Polluted waterways and devastated communities.
- All of that plastic. Anyone with an eco-mindset knows that plastic is no good for the environment. It never breaks down, it pollutes our oceans, and it’s made from oil.
These are just a few examples, and any craft supply you’re using is going to have some sort of impact. I think that as green crafters, it’s important for us to stay informed, so that we can make responsible decisions about what we will and won’t craft with.
Cheer Up, Pup!
When you really start to think about your materials from their origins, it can get a little bit gloom and doom, and that’s not what I want at all. This is where our power as consumers comes in. As a community, we wield a pretty hefty wallet, and with that money we have the means for change. Every time you opt for vintage and reclaimed materials over new ones, you’re voting for the planet and social responsibility. When you buy organic cotton or sustainably-sourced metals, you’re telling suppliers that you care about where your materials come from.
I think that the craftivism part of this equation gets lost sometimes when we talk about green crafting, and I think it’s time that it made a comeback.
So, spill it, my green crafty peeps! Why is green crafting close to your heart?
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by nelsonro
Hi there! My name is Becky Striepe (pronounced “stree-pee,” like “sleepy”), and I am a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. My life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Check out my new book: 40 Days of Green Smoothies!