From fast fashion to sustainable consumption

H&M is now renting clothes

Reading time 4 minutes

The Swedish retailer H&M has joined the eco-initiative previously put forward by competitors – Banana Republic and Urban Outfitters. The giant of the mass market began to test the service of clothes rental, the company said in its official statement. It was decided to start with a flagship store in Stockholm: residents of the Scandinavian capital will be able to rent their favorite items, wear them for a week, and then return them to the store. However, you should not flatter yourself – you can only have three items at the same time and the pleasure is not for free. The price of renting is 350 SEK (≈ 2,350 rubles) per item.

Interior of Times Square H&M store. Hennes & Mauritz  is a Swedish multinational retail-clothing company, known for its fast-fashion clothing for men, women, teenagers and children.

We have been looking in this direction for many years and are happy to finally provide fashionistas with the opportunity to rent items from our collections. H&M is committed to changing the way we manufacture and consume fashion”, said Pascal Brun, Head of Sustainability Department at H&M.

In order to inspire customers to reuse and recycle their clothing, H&M opened an atelier in the same flagship store in Stockholm. So, the Swedes will be able not only to rent new clothes, but also to repair the “oldies” of the wardrobe.

H&M flagship store at Times Square (New York, USA)

Innovations will be tested during three months and, if they turn out to be successful, will be introduced in H&M stores around the world. We can only wait until the innovations reach Russia, and not to forget about another service available at Moscow H&M stores. They accept clothing for recycle use.

It is worth paying tribute to H&M. The Swedish company passed the year of 2019 under the “eco” sign. The brand completely abandoned plastic bags in favor of paper bags and presented the next collection of Conscious Exclusive clothing made from recycled materials. The designers utilized pineapple fiber instead of genuine leather, waste from oranges instead of silk. These are modern environmental alternatives to raw materials of animal origin.

 

 

Tourism as a State of mind

Report on the trekking marathon in november forest

Reading time 7 minutes

— Hey, guys, it’s time to go. The halt is over. Is everybody here? Hmm… Sasha… Where is he? Has anybody seen him recently? Well, the participant has gone let’s find him!

That was the beginning of “Medicine” part of “Noyabr’skiy marathon” , the contest organized by Hiking club of NRU HSE. Somewhere in Moscow region forests four girls and three boys searched for the fourth boy in the twilight. He hadn’t been seen since the beginning of the halt until 15 minutes later he was found at a spruce windfall. Sasha pretended that he was a sufferer with broken leg. We were to perform the first aid and carry him to the ambulance. Not in a serious way but as training. It was the challenge of “Medicine” part.

Firstly, we examined the “injured” person in the dusk, secondly, immobilized “broken bone” with trekking mats, ropes and sticks after dark. At the same time we were binding a stretcher. If a group is small and lights of lanterns are not pretty bright, the forest seems to be infinite and pitch-dark while people seem to be just small glow-worms that have to carry “injured”, into the civilisation. Where the civilisation was, everyone might have already forgotten because all trails couldn’t be seen.

You need a 30 metres long rope and at least 5 friends to make a good stretcher.
You need a 30 metres long rope and at least 5 friends to make a good stretcher

The darkness was close to making Sahsa actually injured. Having put mats and jackets on the stretcher, we laid Sahsa on it and fastened him. When we lifted the construction, one log cracked, therefore, we had to fix it and hold the load on the rope. Walking through spruce windfall, we saw that two trees are too close to one another to walk between. Despite that fact, we had to go there as it was impossible to walk around. That’s why a couple of metres Saha was carried sideways perpendicularly to the Earth with his left side what made him scream with protest.

“Medicine” was not the only part of the contest. In each of three days participants faced up to three or four challenges. There they practiced skills essential for hiking and trekking. As the organisers had found themselves in different situations within their experience, challenges varied a lot. The next one, “Byt”:

— Are you going to take the backpack till the morning?

— Of course.

— This backpack for the whole night?

— Yeah, for the whole night.

— Will you, indeed?

— Actually, don’t postpone, give it now.

In this challenge we had to imagine that our group made the camp on the rock ledge of a sheer mountain side and one of backpacks fell into abyss. No sooner had we unbound the stretcher from “Medicine”, we started the discussion who would be that one without gear at night. The discussion looked like this: we pulled matches. Well, at that moment my heart was in my mouth. I thought that I just couldn’t bear sleep without warm sleeping bag and a sweater as it was freezing… and pulled a short match. In the group report my emotions were described in this way, “Lisa was deprived of her possessions. Luckily, she didn’t carry any joint gear”.

Tourists are unaware of bed weather, they are aware of good gear
Tourists are unaware of bed weather, they are aware of good gear

Yeah, it was a luck because we didn’t lose the dinner consisted of bulgar and chicken fillet with sour cream or tents and axes. Night stay without them would have been much more tricky than without first aid and two bars of chocolate. Nevertheless, I still had to sleep without gear. In a windy and cold night it was scary. To solve this problem, we organized a brainstorm. As a result, all of us came to the conclusion that I should sleep with my friend in her large sleeping bag. Trekking unites, doesn’t it? Guys gave me warm clothes too. By the way, at the evening gathering at the fire I looked like a disco mirror ball as the special blanket in which I was wrapped reflected the light.

Hardships were waiting for the participants both at the challenge-parts and on the road. The next day when groups had to walk 30 km, according to the plan, all of them faced a life-long green fence. It was so long that “Petushki” team decided to go through the swamp in the darkness just not to walk around the fence. “Oi” team walked around the fence and figured out that three sides of it were approximately 3,5 km long. That way took them two hours… Our team “Schastlivyy sluchay [Happy occasion]” affirmed the name and found the hole in the fence. Behind tall metal sections was hidden a field. An ordinary field. Later we saw a road and lights of houses, though we were unable to understand what their habitants fenced. That is why the fence was named irrational in the reports.

"Petushki" repeatedly went across swamps. Difficult in daylight, such route is much more tricky at night
“Petushki” repeatedly went across swamps. Difficult in daylight, such route is much more tricky at night

“Noyabr’skiy marathon” was 60 km of roads and trails, fields and windfalls, heels and swamps. Three teams of beginners and advanced tourists. Three days of jokes and adventures, two nights of songs. One unforgettable competition.

Garbage was at the bottom of the deepest point of the ocean

American explorer made a record dive into the Mariana Trench

Reading time 4 minutes

Victor Vescovo descended into the deepest point of the ocean. His bathyscaphe reached the bottom of the world famous Mariana Trench. The depth of immersion was 16 meters more than in the previous descent in 1960.

Впадина
Mariana Trench – Oceanic Deepwater Chute in the Western Pacific

The American explorer reached the Challenger Deep, the deepest known point in the ocean, its depth is 11,000 meters.

 

What did the researcher discover?

Victor Vescovo, a retired naval officer, was stunned to find something similar to plastic in the deepest point of the ocean. At this time, he was in a machine specially designed to withstand tremendous pressure. After spending four hours under water, he remembered only rubbish. It was a plastic bag and candy wrappers.

Plastic waste in the ocean, according to UN estimates, reached 100 million tons.

Последнее погружение достигло 10 927 м (35 849 футов) под водой - новый рекорд
The last dive at 10,927 m (35,849 ft) is a new record (Photo: TAMARA STUBBS)

For the last three weeks, Vescovo has dived four times into the Mariana Trench to collect various biological samples and forms of rocky soil. He is the third man who descended to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. The last who tried to do this was Canadian film director James Cameron in 2012, and before that, one of the US Navy lieutenants in the 1960s plunged into the hollow. Vescovo dive was the deepest in history.

The expedition was watched by Atlantic Productions, which collected material for a documentary for the Discovery Channel. Work under pressure, poor visibility and low water temperature made it difficult to shoot. Anthony Geffen, creative director of Atlantic Productions, said it was the hardest shot in his experience.

Виктор Весково провел четыре часа, исследуя дно траншеи
Victor Vescovo spent four hours, exploring the bottom of the trench (Photo: ATLANTIC PRODUCTIONS FOR DISCOVERY)

“Our team had to pioneer new camera systems that could be mounted on the submersible, operate at up to 10,000m below sea level and work with robotic landers with camera systems that would allow us to film Victor’s submersible on the bottom of the ocean. ”

After the completion of the expedition at the end of this year, the team plans to transfer the apparatus to scientific institutions. After, the researchers will be able to use the device in further work.

Swedish truant was nominated for the Nobel Prize

Greta Thunberg's sitting pickets gave impetus to the environmental protest children's movement

Reading time 5 minutes

School strikes for climate, Fridays for the Future, Youth for Climate, Youth Strike 4 Climate – variations of movements of teenagers who want to prevent climatic and environmental disasters. They organize school strikes, trying to convey the idea that knowledge makes no sense if there is no world in which they can be applied.

Members of the School Strikes 4 Climate.
Members of the School Strikes 4 Climate.

The movement started in 2015, when an independent group of pupils and students urged students around the world to skip classes on the first day of COP 21, the Climate Conference, which was held in Paris. Over fifty thousand students from more than a hundred countries took part in the strike on November 30. The movement had three basic requirements: the ubiquitous transition to clean energy, the non-withdrawal of minerals from the earth, the assistance to climate refugees.

Greta Thunberg.
Greta Thunberg.

In 2018, instead of studying, Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg began a single picket in front of the Swedish parliament. She sat in silence, and next was a banner with a slogan, which later became one of the names of the activist movement – “Skolstrejk för klimatet” or “School strikes for climate” in the English version. Its main requirement for the government was a gradual decrease in the emission of harmful substances into the atmosphere.

In the interview, Greta said that the idea of ​​strikes for climate came to her after talking about skipping classes because of shooting in US schools. After that, the journalists had a question: can it be possible to skip classes to draw attention to climate problems? She found this idea viable, and she began to implement it. At first, no one responded to her proposal, but after a couple of days, someone kept her company, someone began to bring food to her. She attracted the attention of the media and some members of parliament.

Later, Greta still forced to return to classes. But on Fridays, she still continued to sit in front of Parliament with the same banner. The rumor about her actions went beyond Sweden. Soon, schoolchildren and students all over the world followed her example.

“I do it because no one else takes it. It is my duty to do what I can,” said Greta. “If several children can get into the headlines all over the world just skipping school, just imagine what people can do if they combine their efforts”.

In November 2018, three months after the start of the strike, she was invited to become one of the speakers at TEDxStockholm. At the conference, she spoke about the inconsistency of modern consumer culture, about ignorance, about silence and about the possibility of people starting to change the world for the better. March 14, 2019, Greta was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Members of the School Strikes 4 Climate.
Members of the School Strikes 4 Climate.

On the next Friday, March 15, students and schoolchildren organized an international strike. Tens of thousands of teenagers in different countries appealed to governments and large companies to take a more responsible attitude towards the environment. Young people called it the beginning of active actions to preserve the world in which they are to live.

Greta Tunberg talks about protest marches around the world on her Twitter account.

 

The world’s largest coral reef can turn into a trash

Australia approved dumping of sludge near the Great Barrier Reef

Reading time 4 minutes

Australia plans to dump a million tons of sludge on the Great Barrier Reef. Despite strict waste disposal laws, the administration of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMPA) approved this. It was found a loophole: the ban does not apply to materials obtained during port works. Industrial waste raises from the seabed near the port of Hay Point, one of the country’s main sources of income and the world’s largest exporter of coal.

Угольный терминал Хэй-Пойнт к югу от Маккая
Coal Terminal Hay Point South of Mackay

Due to environmental concerns, in 2015, the federal government banned waste disposal near the reef. But the ban concerned only dredging. Maintenance work in ports intended to clear shipping lanes is not prohibited.

Larisa Waters, a Queensland senator and deputy leader of the Green Party, called on the marine park administration to revoke the license to work. “The last thing the reef needs is more sludge dumped on it, after being slammed by the floods recently,” said The Guardian. The senator added that dumping one million tons of sludge into the waters of a World Heritage site will turn the reef into a garbage dump.

Грязная вода угрожает Большому Барьерному рифу
Dirty water threatens Great Barrier Reef

According to Dr. Simon Boksoll from the National Oceanographic Center of Southampton, this is “another nail in the coffin” for the Great Barrier Reef listed as a World Heritage Site. Climate change affects this reef. The doctor thinks: “If they are dumping it over the coral reef itself, it will have quite a devastating effect.”

The sediment is dangerous because it envelops the corals. Coral lives in symbiosis with algae. Thanks to algae, the corals normally feed and retain their color. Without this symbiosis, coral can die.

The North Queensland Bulk Harbor Corporation said the release of sludge would have a negligible impact on the environment. In a statement published on the Internet, the corporation claims that a catastrophe will not happen. The company’s reports show that risks will be predominantly low with some temporary short-term consequences.

Риф уже потерял 30% кораллов из-за глобального потепления
Reef has already lost 30% of corals due to global warming

Dr. Boxall explains that exposure can be reduced by throwing sludge far from shore. But despite this, the sediment will still contain a large amount of harmful substances. “If it is thrown into shallow water, the sludge will strangle marine life,” he said. According to Boxall, it is important that the procedure is correct. “It will cost more money, but this is not an environmental problem, it is a problem of the port authorities.”

Last year, Australia pledged $ 500 million to protect the Great Barrier Reef, which has already lost 30% of its coral. Corals began to discolor. One of the reasons is the global rise in ocean temperature.

Balenciaga and Farfetch collaborated to save animals

The brands will donate a part of their profit from a new collection to The International Union for Conservation of Nature

Reading time 4 minutes

Balenciaga fashion house released a new collection for e-tailer Farfetch dedicated to rare animal species. The main goal of this collaboration between the famous French brand and the biggest online platform is to demonstrate endangered species.

New collection from Balenciaga

This exclusive capsule collection consists of clothes, shoes, and accessories for men, women, and children. The clothes are illustrated with Large Pandas, Asian Elephants, North White Rhinoceros and Blue Whales — these species are threatened with extinction right now. While creating this limited edition, the brand did not use leather, fur and down materials. The collection is also complimented by popular models presented in new colors and materials.

A North White Rhinoceros on a shirt from Balenciaga

A presentation of the new clothing line played a big role for Balenciaga fashion house. For the lookbook, two leading luxury companies decided to hold a creative photoshoot. The models were photographed with natural landscapes on the background — this way the designers wanted to stress the acute problem of preserving the environment. To make the album for the collection, the brand blurred the background on all photos in order to emphasise the fragility of nature. While the rare representatives of fauna are depicted clearly.

The lookbook of the exclusive collection from Balenciaga

The fashion house expresses its concern with the current ecological situation. CEO of the label, Cédric Charbit, encourages all fashion connoisseurs to support organizations aiming to save rare animal species. A part of a profit from sales of the limited collection will be donated to The International Union for Conservation of Nature — the Swiss charity organization. Moreover, Cédric Charbit mentioned that Balenciaga shares with the organization the same values.

The lookbook of the exclusive collection from Balenciaga

According to José Neves, the founder of Farfetch, the brand Balenciaga is very popular among users of the online platform. He considers this partnership pretty advantageous, because it will bring new clients. The e-tailer represented exclusive wear which can be purchased only through the company’s web site.

British scientists sound the alarm: coffee can disappear

Arabica and other popular sorts are at risk

Reading time 4 minutes

Mankind faces a caffeine deficiency, as 60% of coffee plantations are at risk and may disappear forever. Scientists at the Royal Botanic Garden in Kew have shown that more than a half of the coffee types can be destroyed if deforestation and global warming are continuing. The problem of diseases of coffee trees will also exacerbate.

Coffee Plantation in Ethiopia

One of the most disturbing news for coffee lovers is the threat of the Arabica disappearance. Grown in Ethiopia, this species currently provides more than a half of the world’s coffee supply.

Coffee plants are demanding to the environment, and only a certain combination of temperature and precipitation allows the beans to mature, maintaining their taste and aroma. Yet farmers are increasingly complaining that changing weather conditions, as well as new types of pests and diseases, are affecting their crops.

«Given the importance of Arabica to the world community, we have to put a lot of effort into determining the amount of risk on which the further existence of coffee in the wild depends on,»- said Dr. Theddeus Woldemariam Gol, a representative of the environment and coffee forests in Addis Ababa.

The farmer checks the quality of the coffee tree

The problem of the coffee disappearance makes professionals look for ways to minimize risks. Scientists from the «World Coffee Research»organization have created several projects that, in their opinion, can save coffee trees from extinction. For example, there is a project to create a gene bank for conservation the genetic diversity of coffee. Another strategy is to create a database with information on the resistance, yield and coffee beans resistance of various varieties to pests and diseases while growing in different conditions. The third is the creation of a «tastes catalog» in which new coffees, developed by manufacturers, are being evaluated. But even on the organization’s website, experts admit that «there are serious gaps in our knowledge of how to aid coffee growers to adapt to changes».

Ethiopian children are sorting through the coffee beans on the coffee plantation

Molly Harriss Olson, an executive director of the Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand, said that she was particularly concerned about the situation of producers of coffee and the effect of warming temperatures and unpredictable weather conditions on the crop.

 

«Coffee supports the activity of 125 million people around the world, including the poor in developing countries», – she said, referring to the report of the International Coffee Organization. «If we don’t do anything about this in the near future, the consequences for people will be absolutely destructive».

Hand over rags – get discounts

Well-known brands take things for recycling

Reading time 5 minutes

The beginning of the new year is a great time to sort out your clothes and throw unnecessary things. But the old clothes and other goods can be handed over to the store, for which you will receive a nice bonus. We will tell you where you can give away different things and get a discount for it.

H&M
H&M shop

The H&M company advocates for eco-friendly fashion and launched a worldwide campaign to gather and recycle things «Garment Collection».

The brand accepts any home textiles and clothing, including knitted accessories, underwear, tights, socks and stockings. You can bring things in any condition: hand over the torn pillow and frippery lone sock.

Clothing in a good condition is sent to second hand stores and charities, from textiles that are no longer suitable for use,  rags and wipes for cleaning are produced, decrepit things are recycled to create shock-absorbing and insulating fibers. H&M directs income to the implementation of social projects.

For each package of clothes that you bring to the store, you will be given a coupon for a 15% discount. One buyer can give unlimited number of products for recycling, but you can get only two vouchers per day for the purchase of a new thing. Now H&M issues coupons, which are valid until January 31, 2019.

MONKI
MONKI shop

MONKI brand is struggling with fast fashion and encourages its customers to take the way of reasonable and environmentally friendly consumption. In 2017, the official channel of the brand released a video instruction for lazy people, in which the company gives advice on an environmentally friendly lifestyle, and also tells why you should send unnecessary things for recycling and reuse.

Any home textiles and clothes are accepted in the shops, except footwear, accessories, products from natural and artificial leather, fur and latex. For one delivered package you will receive a voucher that gives a 15% discount on any item in the check. The rules are the same as in H&M.

By 2030, MONKI plans to create all the clothes of the brand from recycled materials.

Store addresses and contacts can be found on MONKI’s social media page.

IKEA
IKEA bedroom design

IKEA stores promote an environmentally friendly way of life at home: you can always hand over the batteries or buy products that help save water and energy. In 2017, the company launched a service for the reception and recycling of bed linen.

IKEA accepts sheets, pillowcases and duvet covers of all sizes and materials. You will not be able to hand over to the store blankets, pillows, bedspreads and completely spoiled bed linen. Brand transfers collected products to the Fund for those in need – «Vtoroe dyhanie» (New lease of life). The company gives a 15% discount on the purchase of a new set for all buyers participating in the campaign.

IKEA publishes reports on environmental and social activities on the official page.

Pochards should survive!

World’s rarest bird is being saved in Madagascar

Reading time 4 minutes

An international group of researchers released into wild artificially grown birds in the area of North Madagascar. Two dozen of Madagascan pochards should be a step towards recovery of the species believed to be extinct for 15 years. The pochard’s rescue can also be beneficial in protecting swamps of Madagascar.

Why is this species endangered?
The duck found a new home on a remote lake of Madagascar. Ph: WWT

Pochards were believed to be extinct for 15 years. But in 2006 a small flock of birds was found on one of the remote lakes of Madagascar. There were the last 25 Madagascan pochards on Earth. Their habitats were polluted, the remaining birds were found in a remote untouched swamp. Rob Shaw, the director of The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust company (WWT), explained on BBC News that these ducks tried to survive in the environment which was not suitable for them. Their shelter was too deep and cold for pochards’ vital activity. Rob Shaw underlined that other parts of Madagascar can be dangerous for these birds, because of accumulation of precipitation, pollution, thoughtless agricultural practices. This set of problems creates an unfavorable environment for Madagascan pochards.

How the species was saved
One of the key moments is raising in captivity. Ph: WWT

This painstaking work took more than a decade. An international team consisting of WWT, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, and The Peregrine Fund members saved the eggs of Madagascan pochards and raised the birds in captivity.

To protect the ducks, on Lake Sofia were installed floating enclosures. Then the team investigated Madagascar’s territory on order to find a perfect place for pochards. The team worked closely with local communities living around the lake and using its water, fish, and plants.

To protect the ducks, on Lake Sofia were installed floating enclosures. Ph: WWT

Nigel Jarrett from WWT explained: «It takes a village to raise a child, so the old African proverb goes – but in this case it has taken a village to raise a duck. We have been preparing for this moment for over a decade. Working with local communities to solve the issues which were driving this bird to extinction has been essential to giving the pochard a chance of survival.»

The team believes that the return of a bird being on verge of extinction will serve as an example of how communities can preserve wildlife even in areas with the poorest populations.

 

Saved Alba: freedom with the risk of life

The albino orangutan returns to the wild

Reading time 5 minutes

The infrequent orangutan albino was saved from inhabitants of one of villages in the Borneo Island last year.  The other day, after successful rehabilitation, female was released back into the wild nature but the threat of animal’s life  remains.

Альба
Альбу выпускают на волю

The Kalimantan Central agency of preservation the natural recourses (BKSDA) and the Borneo Orangutan Survival Fund (BOSF) saved Alba at the beginning of 2017. She was captured by inhabitants of Tanggiranga, remote village in the Indonesian part of Borneo. Alba had a stress, dehydration and suffered from parasitic worms. The animal was taken to Nyaru Menteng orangutan rehabilitation centre.  

Alba was planned to be released into the wild nature in a few month, but her recovery convalescence took more time than it was expected. As an albino, she is susceptible to many diseases, she has poor eyesight and hearing, oversensitiveness to the light and predisposition to skin cancer. Alba is the only known albino orangutan in a history of this species. 

According to BOSF, Alba together with Kika, other rehabilitated orangutan female (not albino), were released to Borneo national park (BBBR). Originally, BOSF planned to surround a 5 hectares of the forest area and keep Alba under constant observation, but ultimately it was decided that orangutan should move freely in its natural habitat. 

«Thanks to intensive care provided by our special veterinary team and tutors of Nyaru Menteng Orangutan rehabilitation centre, Alba recovered and showed excellent skills of ascension and socialising», — noted BOSF in the statement. 

Транспортировка орангутангов происходила в специальных клетках
Транспортировка орангутанов происходила в специальных клетках

After hard 16-hour travel by land and the river, which Alba and Kika spent in the cages, BOSF team arrived into the BBBR National Park. BOSF published the video showed Alba and Kika’s travel. 

Currently Alba actively moves in the forest area, usually at the hight of 115 feet (35 metres). Her fast adaptation to the forest life is not surprising, as she doesn’t have the «inferiority complex» and feel herself confident in comparison with the other orangutans, said veterinarian Agus Fatoni to the Associated Press. 

Альба в естественной среде
Альба в естественной среде

Albuanadela has a tracking bracelet, and she will regularly be examined by the medical team  within the next six months. Environmentalists are concerned about her health, but they are even more concerned about potential poachers: Alba with her white wool and blue eyes is really vulnerable. The national park staff and nature conservation agencies organized the patrol in this area, however they recognize that opportunities for this purpose are limited.

«It’s really big adventure, but we hope that we will manage to implement this project successfully», — said BOSF executive director Dzhamartin Sikhit soon after Alba’s  releasing into the wild nature.