Sunday, December 17, 2006

Mother Nature is dying for a cashmere sweater.

There was a great article in today's Chicago Tribune about the real cost of cheep cashmere products from China. It seems like China is following in our footsteps in creating a great dust bowl by over grazing arid land with goats and sheep which break up the topsoil with their hooves and kill the plants that hold the soil together. With the topsoil broken up it allows the fine sand beneath to freely blow in the wind and mix with the high amounts of pollution caused by the heavy use of coal in China. The clouds of dust and pollution are so large that it can encompass most of China. Blowing eastward it clouds Korea and Japan, crosses the Pacific and even blows across the western United States.

This article reminds me of the Dr. Seuss book, The Lorax. Except in this case it's not a children's story, it's real life. I guess we can replace Thneeds (a thneed is something that everyone wants, but nobody needs, and rhymes with greed) with cashmere.

The article also points out that the cashmere industry is set to implode. Currently the price of cashmere has dropped dramatically due to the oversupply. But due to the destruction of the environment caused by cashmere production the supply will soon drop dramatically. Because the vegetation the goats used to graze on have been killed the goats are now starving and the populations are quickly dwindling. This will cause the price of cashmere to once again rise, however since the supply will drop bellow what used to be sustainable, prices will probably rise higher than the historical price.

Greed may create a quick buck, but when greed causes the destruction of the environment we all lose. In the end we will all be paying much more than what we saved. I think we need to start exporting copies of The Lorax translated in Chinese to China.

The Tribune also has a multimedia version of the article as well.

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