Thursday, August 23, 2007

High price of cashmere

I found a Really depressing story at the Chicago Tribune about the high cost of cheap cashmere.

My co-worker, who has family in South Korea and plans to return someday, was especially distressed by this story and the environmental damage caused by the cashmere goats. She says China's growing deserts are really frightening, that especially in the Spring and Fall in Seoul for a month it is so dusty you have to cover your face when you go outside. And she says in China at that time its much worse you have to cover yourself fron head to toe to go out and when you get back you are covered in a thick layer of dust and sand.

from the story:

The country's enormous herds of cashmere-producing goats have slashed the price of sweaters. But they also have helped graze Chinese grasslands down to a moonscape, unleashing some of the worst dust storms on record. This in turn fuels a plume of pollution heavy enough to reach the skies over North America.


Every product--every T-shirt, every SUV, every child's toy--has a global footprint defined by the resources and energy used to make it. In the case of cashmere, America snapped up a record-smashing 10.5 million Chinese sweaters last year, 15 times as many as a decade ago, and far more than every cashmere sweater imported last year from Italy and the United Kingdom combined.

It's impossible to say how much any single product contributes to China's choking air pollution. But the spike in demand for cashmere is taking a toll on the soil, air and water in China as well as the U.S.--a cost that never appears on any store's tag. And many consumers are unaware of the link.

1 comment:

mlantz said...

I had heard about this - it will be interesting to see who destroys their country first, us or China.