all I got was this lousy T-shirt.
Hey, I’m kidding. This is actually a very cool T-shirt, albeit not suitable for December in Copenhagen, where it was snowing heavily this morning. (That didn’t stop the bike commuters.) The T-shirt is a limited edition, designed by Vivienne Westwood and Anvil Knitwear, to support the efforts of rainforest nations at the climate change negotiations here.
I’ll be meeting Vivienne Westwood this evening – she is speaking at the Support Redd Gala, where I will be master of ceremonies — but in a prepared statement, she said this about the shirt:
I am so glad to have had the opportunity to do this tiny, tiny thing – design a T-shirt – every little bit helps. ACT FAST/SLOW DOWN and stop climate change. That’s the message…Say YES to the rainforest.
The message is important. Deforestation accounts for an estimated 17% of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than all the world’s cars and trucks combined. Rainforests have enormous environmental, social and spiritual value – they absorb carbon, they purify water, they protect biodiversity and they are beautiful — but their value is not, for the most part, recognized by the market. Instead, trees are most valued as timber or they are cut down to make way for farming or ranching.
The Coalition for Rainforest Nations wants to change that through a mechanism known as REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), which I wrote about the other day. REDD is one way in which rich countries–which are primarily responsible for causing climate change–can help poor countries which are mostly likely to suffer from its impacts. Conveniently, it is also a low-cost way of fighting global warming.
Put simply, without protecting forests, there’s no solution to climate change.
As for the T-shirt, it’s made by a company called Anvil Knitwear which says:
Each shirt is made with a blend of recycled polyester, derived from approximately three recycled plastic bottles, and transitional cotton that comes from farms that are converting to organic farming methods, a three-year process required for receiving organic certification. Eco-friendly printing for the shirts was provided by New Buffalo Shirt Factory.
For those of you who, like me, are neither fashionistas nor punk music fans, Vivienne Westwood is a designer who helped bring modern punk and new wave fashion into the mainstream, at least according to her Wikipedia entry. A major restrospective of her work was shown at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in 2004, and she was appointed Dame Commander of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 2006.