When it comes to climate change, there are two camps of people—those who contend with it and those who don’t—but the more time passes, the harder it is to ignore. Among the evidence? Rising seas, violent storms, and extreme drought. Not to mention the fact that 2015 is slated to be the hottest year on record.
And, according to a recent article on Quartz, climate change may well be affecting our wardrobes, too. Due to its depletion of so many crucial natural resources, a host of our favourite clothing and accessories materials are now at risk too. This could result in poorer quality or downright depletion—neither of which would be good for the fashion industry at large or our closets.
Scroll down to learn which materials are at risk and why!
This fine wool grows on a type of goat that resides largely in Mongolia and China and is at its best when the weather is cold. Due to rising temperatures and subsequent drought, the quality has decreased substantially, and millions of goats have died.
Cotton production requires tons of water, and unfortunately, most of it is grown in areas that are highly susceptible to drought. Extra-fine cotton is especially at risk, as are blends coming from Africa and South America.
Vicuña, a super-soft wool named for the llama-like animal it comes from, is the most expensive fiber in the world. It’s also found in only one region of the Central Andes already struggling with harsh drought that makes it difficult for the animals to survive.
While most silk is derived from a domesticated silkworm that’s raised indoors (and thus protected), silkworms that come from India are still at risk due to the growers’ poorly developed infrastructure for controlling climate. Extreme weather in the area has lessened the quality as a result.
Cattle herds at large can be greatly affected by climate change as higher temperatures increase the likelihood of diseases and pest infestations, which can discolor the hides. Intense heat also erodes pasture land, making it harder to care for large herds and, thus, produce hides on the same level.
Although sheep are quite adaptable, they still face the same risks as cows—a rise in disease and a decrease in quality pastures for grazing. Since most sheep leather comes from small-scale producers, there’s also the concern that they won’t have as many resources for adapting to climate change, limiting the overall availability of sheep leather.
Is climate change a concern of yours? Let us know why or why not in the comments!