Welcome to the blog of the course and textbook Facing up to global warming: What is going on and what you can do about it. This course is run by Professor Nick Gray of the Trinity Centre for the Environment at Trinity College Dublin.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Strange Weather Exhibition at the Dublin Science Gallery

The latest exhibition at the Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin is STRANGE WEATHER.

The exhibition runs from the 18th July until the 5th September and  is curated by Catherine Kramer and Zack Denfeld of CoClimate; Lynn Scarff, Director of the Science gallery and Gerald Fleming, Head of Forecasting at Met √Čireann.  Like all these wonderful exhibitions at the Gallery it is most informative and very much hands on. So you can have a try at forecasting the weather yourself, create your own micro-climates and learn just how predictable the future of weather is.

Nick Gray

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A new approach – Friendly Fashion and ‘Ecotoure’ !

A load of Rubbish!
Since a young age, I have adored fashion. Seeing models promote beautifully structured, eye catching clothing both captivates and excites me. So of course when I was asked to take part in the “Junk Kouture fashion show”, I was instantly overwhelmed with a flurry of ideas on how to dress these models in fabulous recycled material! The aim of this annual event is to ignite a passion for sustainable fashion in second level students across Ireland, while simultaneously educating them about the importance of recycling and reusing. Essentially the idea is to turn garbage into glamour!

 I began by meeting with art students of a local secondary school. We sat down and discussed materials that would be appropriate to use to create an outfit suitable for a runway show. By the next day the students had already gathered their “junk” and had started work on their designs. The materials ranged from plastic bottles, electric cables, wire tubing, tinfoil, newspaper, broken glass, wine corks, bin bags and the list goes on! Together we set to work and after weeks of hard work we had successfully assembled some terrific examples of Eco Fashion. Three of the outfits have made it into the final rounds of the competition which everyone is extremely proud of, but we could also have the winner for 2014 so keep those fingers crossed!
Here are some pictures of contestants from both this year and previous years, taking part in the fashion show. Visit the website http://www.junkkouture.com to learn more about this innovative idea and get inspired and excited about sustainable fashion!

Friendly fibres and fabrics
Although I promote this fantastic competition, I am not completely unaware that it is completely unreasonable to expect people to stroll about town wearing clothes made out of their old Chinese food containers! There is in fact, a more subtle approach to sustainable fashion.                
Recycled or reclaimed fibres are those that are made from scraps of fabrics collected from clothing factories, which are processed back into short fibres for spinning into a new yarn. There are only a few facilities globally that are able to process the clippings, and  variations range from a blend of recycled cotton fibres for strength to recycled cotton fibres/virgin acrylic fibres which are added for colour, consistency and strength.
The good news is that designers say that they are trying to incorporate these sustainable practices into modern clothing, rather than producing "hippie clothes."  In particular, designer Stella McCartney has recently drawn attention to socially conscious and environmentally friendly fashion, by promoting "Portland Fashion Week", which annually showcases sustainable apparel. It has also attracted international press for its efforts to sustainably produce a fashion
week that showcases 100% eco-friendly designs.
However here is the bad news, due to the efforts taken to minimize harm in the growth, manufacturing, and shipping of these products, sustainable fashion is typically more expensive than clothing produced by conventional methods! Let us not be disheartened, there are still plenty of ways we can improve the sustainability of our wardrobes!

Here are the main factors to bear in mind when considering the sustainability of a material:

·         The renewability and source of a fibre
·          The process of how a raw fibre is turned into a textile
·         The working conditions of the people producing the materials
·         The material's total carbon footprint    
When shopping, look at the clothes labels and keep an eye out for fabrics like organic cotton, naturally coloured cotton or those made from soy, hemp or bamboo fibres.   These are all examples of excellent sustainable fabrics.

They may still be a little bit hard to come by in our local shopping centres but I have included a link to one of my favourite online shopping websites “Reformation”. They are an environmentally sustainable fashion brand that repurposes vintage and surplus materials to create a chic, limited edition collection.

So start your fashion revolution now!   http://thereformation.com/

Fiona Molloy