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Beyond the Bale : June 2018
RISING TIDE OF MICROPLASTIC POLLUTION FROM TEXTILES “I found growers producing fine wool for the global apparel industry with a deep understanding of the need to work within the earth’s biological capacity,” Livia said. “They were clear that their role was not just as fibre producers, but equally as custodians of this incredible landscape. When [a woolgrower] has changed across 20 years to embrace sustainability so deeply, that is very moving – not to mention, instructive.” WOOLGROWERS COMMITTED TO THE ENVIRONMENT Seventh generation woolgrowers Matt and Vanessa Dunbabin know all too well the importance of conserving the natural environment. Their property ‘Bangor’ is home to every one of Tasmania’s native animals – meaning they manage more native animals on their land than they do sheep. “We see ourselves as custodians – we're the current custodians of the land,” they said. “We have all the generations who have come before us, and many more to come after, so we really need to care for and nurture the land during our generation, so it will still be here in another seven generations.” Fellow Tasmanian woolgrower Roderic O’Connor echoes this sentiment. His property CUSTODIANS OF THE LAND A new short film produced by sustainability consultancy agency Eco-Age, fronted by Livia Firth, celebrates the fine woolgrowers of Australia and their unique ties to the land on which they live. The new short film celebrating the source of Merino wool and the woolgrowers who produce it was released by global sustainability champion Livia Firth and her team at Eco-Age on 22 April, to coincide with Earth Day. The film has featured at premier events and on global news platforms such as Vogue USA, and been highlighted on panel discussions in New York, London and Milan. So far, the film has generated $2.5 million editorial value. Marrying ethics with aesthetics, Eco-Age is a globally respected brand consultancy working at the cutting edge of sustainability. It has become well known across the past decade for championing sustainable production and for telling the ecological and human stories behind the clothes we wear. “All too often we’re witnessing production travelling in the wrong direction. Increased volumes and the use of vast quantities of petroleum-based, synthetic fibres suggest this model is consequence-free. It isn’t,” Livia said in the film. Supported by AWI’s marketing arm The Woolmark Company, the film, titled Forever Tasmania, follows Livia across the Bass Strait to learn about the low impact wool has on the animals, on the land and on the environment. ‘Connorville’ has been in his family since the early-1800s, yet he sees himself as a caretaker, rather than an owner. “If you take the view that you don't own it, and that you're a custodian, it makes it a lot easier,” he tells Livia. “Being a custodian gives you the freedom to say 'what should I do’ and ‘what does your heart tell you to do’.” Humbled and amazed by her journey to this remote wool-growing region of Australia – and keen to inspire consumers to choose well and cherish each item they buy – Livia says: “What I found here in Tasmania are producers of fine wool who are not just taking a long-term view, but who are deeply committed to landscape restoration and who see themselves as much as stewards of this natural habitat as producers. Above all, they are letting the planet set the limits.” This initiative with Eco-Age follows on from the partnership between The Woolmark Company and Eco-Age at the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange during which wool was showcased as the green thread in sustainable fashion at a special event held at Buckingham Palace (as reported in the March edition of Beyond the Bale). More information Watch the film at www.youtube.com/EcoAgeTV Founder and Creative Director of Eco-Age, Livia Firth, excited about discovering the natural credentials of wool. Woolgrower Matt Dunbabin on his property ‘Bangor’, which features in the new film. OFF FARM 15