Last week I presented the wool story to a group of companies into recycling carpets. My talk was about wool as a fibre with an end-of-life solution. Basically sheep eat grass, turn it into wool, man takes wool and makes textiles, when the textile or carpet gets tired, the wool can be returned to the earth to grow more grass.
I accepted the invitation as speaking is the best way to learn. I know nobody ever learnt anything while their lips were moving, what I mean is that by accepting the invitation to speak I was imposing a deadline on myself to become an expert by a certain time on a certain subject.
If you are going to talk about sustainability to a conference full of people who spend their whole day on the topic, you had better know your stuff. I was advocating wool as a natural, renewable fibre against people from polyamide companies who can boil their product down and turn it into something new.
The other reason to accept was to attend the conference itself. You can learn a lot in room full of experts if you keep your ears open and make a point of circulating. And of course after speaking people realise what you are about and are open to debate.
*note to self – always try to speak before lunch.
One USA recycler made the comment about wool that its less than 1% of what they see.. “as wool is so valuable people hang onto it” I loved that.
But my attention was caught by environmental scientists, Tammy Korndoerfer, from EPEA based in Germany. Tammy gave an excellent presentation with some hard hitting facts, kind of a sit up and take note, call to action presentation. I was frantically scribbling down notes before I had to speak.
Two things that stuck in my mind..
Why reduce a negative environmental impact when we can plan to have a positive one?
Is your product part of a Biological Metabolism or a Mechanical Metabolism? You have to be one or the other. Luckily my talk focused on wool being part of the former.
Tammy was screaming for integrity and for products to be designed for recycling so that they have a positive environmental impact. Did you know that the biological mass of ants is 4 times that of the human population, but somehow they don’t manage to stuff up their own habitat!
Anyway, this post needs a point of which there are two.
1.) Figure out what metabolism you belong to and be true to it.
2.) Commit yourself to something and impose deadlines, and you will learn something new.
Above: One of our New Zealand farmers being part of the Biological Metabolism (or farming with nature as we like to call it)