Humans lived the hunter-gather lifestyle for many years. Eventually with the control of agriculture, we became sedentary farmers. Then, with the industrial revolution, we learned to use advanced machines to aid or replace our labour. The result was a great quantity of textiles. Textiles became clothing. Clothing got produced at a very cost-effective rate. And once people were paid enough wages, they purchased this clothing to complement their lifestyle.

And just imagine the complements we bestow upon each other as we acknowledge additions to our wardrobe. We hear phrases like, “Wow, that looks great on you.” But to what cost? Let’s compare. There’s an estimated 22 million tons of cotton grown globally and sold each year. Yet at the same time in the United States alone over 13 million tons of clothing are thrown away each year. Seems with this that our clothing is part of our throw-away culture. Perhaps it’s the complement that’s desired over the clothing.

Now imagine the energy costs to make the clothing. To grow cotton, to make cloth, to cut into clothing and to sell at a distributor. And enabling all these steps is the essential but energy hungry transportation sector. How long can the Earth support a throw-away culture? What happens if the cotton harvest fails or the transportation sector loses fuel? Could we think of something more important than the next complement?

3 thoughts on “Clothing

  1. China aims to prevent power generated by its renewable energy sector being wasted by 2020, the country’s National Energy Administration (NEA) said on Monday.

    Power from wind, solar and hydro plants is often wasted as there is not enough transmission capacity to absorb it, leading to high curtailment rates, especially in northwestern China.

    The NEA said in a statement that the utilization rate of hydro-power plants in the southwestern provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan should reach around 90 percent by 2017.

    It expects the wind power curtailment rate to drop to about 30 percent in the northwestern provinces of Gansu and Xinjiang and to around 20 percent in the northeastern region of Jilin, Heilongjiang and Inner Mongolia in 2017.

    Solar power waste in Gansu and Xinjiang provinces should be controlled below around 20 percent and in Shaanxi and Qinghai to below 10 percent this year, it added.

    Power generated from wind and solar power plants in other regions across the country will have to meet the 2017 targets set by the NEA last year, it said in the statement.

    China has vowed to raise the portion of its renewable and non-fossil fuel power consumption to 15 percent of total energy mix by 2020 and 20 percent by 2030.

    It also said that it will promote the power trade market and improve its cross-region power transmission capacity to boost renewable energy consumption and cut its coal dependence.

    Coal-fired power capacity across the country will be capped at 1.1 billion kilowatt-hours by 2020, the NEA said.


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