Frost flowers: beauty in the far north … a repost from 2013


by Lynda V. Mapes

Jeff Bowman had never heard of frost flowers when he decided to study them to earn his PhD in oceanography at the University of Washington. But, as it turned out, they are a ubiquitous, spectacular marvel at both poles, forming whenever the conditions are just right, with superchilled air hitting newly formed sea ice. The result is salt crystals in the seawater forming structures in the frozen sea water, atop the sea ice: frost flowers.
Acres and acres of them.

Frost_Flowers_Black_Ice.jpg

Photo by Matthias Wietz

Jeff Bowman was on an icebreaker in 2009 near the North Pole when his research team encountered miles and miles of new ice, covered with these frost flowers, each about one to two inches tall. The ice appears black to the eye, enhancing the visual effect. While it looks like rippled open water, the newly-formed sea ice is about three inches thick.

The team disembarked to collect samples of some of the flowers, which, it turned out, are teaming with bacteria. They also had surprising chemical properties, including very high levels of mercury, and formaldehyde, Bowman said.

His research team is still trying to understand just what these frost flowers are up to, chemically and biologically. But one thing that seems certain is whatever these flowers are, there are going to be many more of them as the area of perennial sea ice in the arctic shrinks. That means new sea ice forming on open water, blooming with frost flowers.

For more on Bowman’s research, here is a link to his blog.

Toxic Fashions


Sometime around the 21st  of November in 2012, Greenpeace discovered and exposed Zara as one of maybe many companies using manufacturers that have toxic chemicals in their clothing… 

On the 29th of November,  a statement of commitment from Zara’s manufacturing company to toxic-free fashion ~~ below  Clothes rack

Achieving the Zero Discharge

        Inditex‘s commitment, in connection with the use of chemical substances in the manufacturing process of its products, is reflected in its chemical policy, which establishes restrictions and prohibitions in the use of these substances.

        So far, this policy has been developed and periodically updated in conformity with the most demanding international legislation and in collaboration with the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain). The policy regulates not only those “substances whose use is legally limited” and which, if present in the product above certain levels, could be hazardous for human health, such as: Formaldehyde, Arylamines, Phenols (PCP, TeCP), Cadmium, Lead, Chromium (VI), Nickel, Allergenic Dyes, among others; additionally, it limits the use of certain parameters not contemplated by the effective legislation, such as: Organochlorinated Compounds and Isocyanates. In order to guarantee the compliance of said policy by Inditex’s suppliers, Inditex carries out audits and regular inspections of the production processes and continuous reviews of the products.

        INDITEX Commitment to Zero Discharge

        27th November 2012

        In line with Inditex’s long-term sustainability program Inditex recognizes the urgent need for eliminating industrial releases of all hazardous chemicals (1).  According to its approach based on prevention (2) and the Precautionary Principle (3) Inditex is committed to zero discharges (4) of all hazardous chemicals from the whole lifecycle and all production procedures that are associated with the making and using of all products Inditex sells (5) by 01 January 2020. Inditex recognises that to achieve this goal, mechanisms for disclosure and transparency about the hazardous chemicals used in its global supply chain are important and necessary, in line with the ‘Right to Know principle’ (6). In line with this principle Inditex will increase the public availability and transparency of its restricted substance list and audit process and will set up public disclosure of discharges of hazardous chemicals in its supply chain.

        Inditex also commits to support systemic (i.e. wider societal and policy) change to achieve zero discharge of hazardous chemicals (associated with supply chain and the lifecycles of products) within one generation (7) or less. This commitment includes sustained investment in moving industry, government, science and technology to deliver on systemic change and to affect system change across the industry towards this goal.

        The 2020 goal also demands the collective action of industry, as well as engagement of regulators and other stakeholders. To this end, Inditex will work with other companies in the apparel sector and other brands it could sell, as well as material suppliers, the broader chemical industry, NGOs and other stakeholders to achieve this goal.

        Inditex understands the scope of the commitment to be a long term vision – with short term practice to be defined by the following individual action plan:

        Individual action plan.

        1. Supply-chain disclosure.

        In line with Inditex’s commitment to the public’s ‘right to know’ the chemical substances used within its global supply-chain and the products it sells, Inditex will be taking the following actions:

        1. publish its updated ‘Restricted Substances List’ and audit processes by the end of April 2013, and annually thereafter.        

        2. begin public disclosure of discharges of hazardous chemicals in its supply chain via individual facility level disclosure of chemical use and discharges data, to be achieved via an incremental process, beginning with the following actions:

        i) by no later than end of March 2013 public disclosure of at least 10 Chinese supplier facilities, plus at least 10 additional facilities in other parts of the “global south” (i.e. 20 facilities in total);        

        ii) by no later than December 2013, at least another 30 Chinese  supplier facilities (in addition to the facilities in i) above), plus at least another50 additional facilities in other parts of the “global south” (in addition to the facilities in i) above, i.e. 100 facilities in total;

        using a credible public online platform, with full facility transparency (i.e.  location and individual data of facilities) and covering at least the hazardous chemicals within the 11 priority groups of chemicals (8)

        

        2. APEO elimination policy.

        Inditex recognises the intrinsic hazardousness of all APEOs, and therefore acknowledges it is a priority to eliminate their use across its global supply chain. There are multiple supply-chain pathways for potential APEO contamination (including chemical formulations). Inditex will enhance both training and auditing of its supply-chain in conjunction with other global brands, as well as ensuring its suppliers have the latest information on APEOs,  highlighting where there is a risk that APEOs may enter into the undocumented contamination of chemical supplier formulations.

        In addition to these actions, Inditex will enforce its APEO ban with the following actions:

        i. initiate an investigation into the current compliance to this requirement, reporting the findings to the public and simultaneously strengthening its supplier legal agreement language to ensure only APEO-free chemical formulations are utilized by the end of April 2013,

        ii. work with its supply chain and other global industry leaders, to ensure the most current technological limits of detection are reflected via the lowest detectable limits within its testing regimes.

        

        3. Perfluorocarbon (PFC) elimination policy.

        In application of the precautionary principle, and recognizing that enough scientific evidence is available pointing towards a recognizable hazard posed by PFCs, Inditex commits to impose a ban on PFOS, PFOA, their salts and derivatives, and  telomeric alcohols by January 2013. This prohibition includes the manufacturing of any products Inditex sells.

        With respect to the use of PFCs, Inditex agrees to the following actions:

        i. Inditex commits to eliminate C8, C7, C6 PFC based substances in manufacturing, and in any of the products it sells no later than the end of 2013.

        ii. Inditex commits to work with suitable technical / scientific partners and stakeholders to find safer, non-fluorinated alternatives in the shortest timespan possible, with the goal of substituting all perfluorocarbon compounds with suitable, non-hazardous, non-fluorinated alternatives.

        iii.    The timelines for the elimination of all remaining PFCs will be as follows: elimination of 50% of all remaining PFCs (from the base of PFCs used as of 2012) used by January 2015; and the total elimination of all PFC use in manufacturing and in products by the end of 2015.

        The elimination of all PFC use by the products it sells will be supported by:

        i. A review of all products it produces to ensure there are no PFCs in the products we sell,

        ii. a rigorous system of control to ensure that no traces of PFCs find their way into its supply chain in line with the above.

        

        4. Targets for other hazardous chemicals.

        Inditex commits to regularly review the science of the chemicals used in the textiles/apparel industry and periodically update its chemical policy, at least annually, to further restrict or ban chemicals, as new evidence on their impact becomes available.

        In this context, its recognizes the need to not only report to the public the evidence of elimination of the 11 groups of hazardous chemicals identified as a priority but also set clear intermediate progress targets on the elimination of hazardous chemicals (beyond these 11 priority chemical groups) and the introduction of non-hazardous chemicals by 2015 on the road to elimination by 01 January 2020.

        Inditex will also ensure that it is part of an industry wide approach to ensure the use of chemicals in the products its sells and that is managed responsibly and in line with the above commitment, and in particular the intrinsic hazards approach. In line with this, Inditex commits to reinforce the work of the sectoral chemical inventory and hazardous substance black list, aiming to establish this inventory, and the black list, based on an intrinsically hazardous screening methodology, by no later than December 2013.

        The individual actions covered above will be reassessed by Inditex at regular intervals – at least annually.

        

        5. Further Actions.

        Within 8 weeks of the public release of this commitment, Inditex will publish further actions for its Individual Action Plan:

        Including a number of substitution case studies (e.g. where in the past, or currently, Inditex has substituted any of the 11 groups of hazardous chemicals as per below (8), with others non-hazardous chemicals) via a credible format (e.g. ‘Subsport system’).

      Download – Further actions included in the Individual Action Plan (updated as of 1st February 2013)

        ——————————————————————————————–

         (1) All hazardous chemicals means all those that show intrinsically hazardous properties: persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT); very persistent and very bioaccumulative (vPvB); carcinogenic, mutagenic and toxic for reproduction (CMR); endocrine disruptors (ED), or other properties of equivalent concern, (not just those that have been regulated or restricted in other regions). This will require establishing – ideally with other industry actors – a corresponding list of the hazardous chemicals concerned that will be regularly reviewed.

        (2) This means solutions are focused on elimination of use at source, not on end-of-pipe or risk management. This requires either substitution with non-hazardous chemicals or where necessary finding non- chemical alternative solutions, such as re-evaluating product design or the functional need for chemicals.        

        (3) This means taking preventive action before waiting for conclusive scientific proof regarding cause and effect between the substance (or activity) and the damage. It is based on the assumption that some hazardous substances cannot be rendered harmless by the receiving environment (i.e. there are no ‘environmentally acceptable’/’safe’ use or discharge levels) and that prevention of potentially serious or irreversible damage is required, even in the absence of full scientific certainty. The process of applying the Precautionary Principle must involve an examination of the full range of alternatives, including, where necessary, substitution through the development of sustainable alternatives where they do not already exist. The Precautionary Principle is applied across all products sold by Inditex (and any entities directed by, or licenced by the Inditex “Group” of entities).

        (4) Zero discharge means elimination of all releases, via all pathways of release, i.e. discharges, emissions and losses, from its supply chain and its products.  “Elimination” or “zero” means ‘not detectable, to the limits of current technology’, and only naturally occurring background levels are acceptable.

        (5) This means the commitment applies to the environmental practices of the entire company (group, and all entities it directs or licences) and for all products sold by Inditex or any of its subsidiaries. This includes all its suppliers or facilities horizontally across all owned brands and licensed companies as well as vertically down its supply chain.

        (6) Right to Know is defined as practices that allow members of the public access to environmental information – in this case specifically about the uses and discharges of chemicals based on reported quantities of releases of hazardous chemicals to the environment, chemical-by-chemical, facility-by-facility, at least year-by-year.

        (7) One generation is generally regarded as 20-25 years.

        (8) the 11 priority hazardous chemical groups are : 1. Alkylphenols 2. Phthalates 3.Brominated and chlorinated flame retardants 4. Azo dyes 5. Organotin compounds 6. Perfluorinated chemicals 7. Chlorobenzenes 8. Chlorinated solvents 9. Chlorophenols 10. Short chain chlorinated paraffins 11. Heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, mercury and chromium (VI).

Stay tuned in to see if they are able to succeed … Be a Seed for Change

written 2012

Toxic T-shirts?


ZARA is using cancer causing chemicals and polluting the world’s waters.Toxic Water in China

It’s time Zara cleaned up its act. Send a message now urging it to detox by 2020!

 

For months, Greenpeace conducted research into many of the world’s top clothing brands and found disturbing news — ZARA, along with several other retailers — is polluting waters in China with hazardous chemicals.

Those chemicals then wash into our waters when we rinse our clothes. Most of the fashion industry is treating public waterways like its own private sewers.

It’s time we eliminate hormone-disrupting chemicals from the world’s waters before it’s too late. That’s why we’re challenging some of the most popular clothing brands to eliminate toxic chemicals from its process by 2020 — and we need your help.

If 40,000 of us send a message to ZARA in the next 48 hours it will encourage the company to take the pledge to detox its clothing and stop the use of hazardous chemicals.

www.greenpeaceusa.org 

Let’s face it, beautiful fashion shouldn’t cause toxic pollution. H&M and British retailer Marks & Spencer know that. These companies have committed to eliminating all toxic chemicals from its supply chains and products. But ZARA, one of the world’s biggest fast fashion retailers, remains silent.

ZARA is famously responsive to trends and keeps a close watch on buzz about its brand. If all of us can pressure the company to follow in the footsteps of those who have committed to clean up its act, this is one trend it won’t be able to ignore.

We know it’s possible to clean up the toxics, we’ve seen it happen before. Thanks to you, the detox campaign secured commitments from Puma, Adidas and other sports apparel makers to clean up their practices and detox their line by 2020. So it can be done, but we’ll need your help.

Reach out to ZARA right now with an urgent message to clean up its practices and detox today.

 http://www.greenpeaceusa.org

As consumers your voice is critical to convincing ZARA and other companies to do the right thing. If the company responds the rest of the industry could follow, so it’s urgent we act now.

Thanks for your help,

John Deans
Greenpeace Toxics Campaigner

What “Green” Means…organic, natural and sustainable


1)the certified organic label is regulated by the USDA and indicates the absence of most conventional fertilizers and chemicals.  A processed product(one that contains more than two ingredients)must have at least 95% organic material

2)The Demeter-certified Bio-dynamic designation means that farmers use practices emphasizing a holistic connection with nature.  The nonprofit has been certifying produce and wine since 1982 and bans harmful chemicals and synthetic fertilizers.

3)Fair Trade products like coffee and chocolate are certified by the Fair Trade Federation, an international group working to relieve poverty.  They ensure that producers receive a fair wage and that production practices promote long-term environmental sustainability and community  development.

4)Green Seal is an independent nonprofit that promotes the manufacture, purchase, and use of environmentally responsible products.  The seal accredits everything from hand soap to hotels.

5)Local generally refers to products grown within a 100-to-150 mile radius. Transporting goods locally uses fewer fossel fuels than shipping them from around the word. buy local

6)Natural means that the product contains no artificial colours or flavors ..not certified or regulated

7)Post-consumer recycled is material that has been sold, used and then recycled.  It is the gold standard for recycled products

8)Sustainable forestry paper products are certified by the forest stewardship council and come from forests that are managed for long-term productivity and biological diversity.

Rachel Mount

Climate-Friendly Gardening in Action


Picture UPDATED INFORMATION

Become a shareholder in Eden Place Farms and receive 20 weekly boxes of organic produce grown by local farmers right in Fuller Park. Half and full shares available.
Learn more.

Latest News

A repost

Are you interested in creating a climate-friendly garden? These videos can help get you started. Follow UCS analyst Karen Perry Stillerman on her visit to Eden Place Nature Center in Chicago to see how the same practices used to create this urban oasis can transform the American agricultural landscape.

Composting

Use yard waste and table scraps to turn your garden into a global warming mitigation machine.

Urban Trees

They provide shade, lower air conditioning use, and store carbon.

Today the Backyard, Tomorrow the World

What we do in our gardens, farmers can do in their fields.