Macy's Bans Fur, but Is Faux Fur an Environmentally Friendly Alternative?
The ban will apply both to its namesake stores and to its Bloomingdale's department stores, and will mean that Macy's 34 Fur Vaults and Bloomingdale's 22 Maximilian salons will close. The company made the announcement alongside the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which has been pressing it to drop fur for more than 10 years.
"We are proud to partner with the Humane Society of the United States in our commitment to ending the sale of fur," Macy's, Inc. CEO and Chairman Jeff Gennette said, according to The Guardian. "We remain committed to providing great fashion and value to our customers, and we will continue to offer high-quality and fashionable faux fur alternatives."
BREAKING NEWS: @Macys and @Bloomingdales are going fur-free! In partnership with the HSUS, the retailers will also… https://t.co/Ts78MBaRMP— The Humane Society of the United States (@The Humane Society of the United States)1571690950.0
Macy's' decision builds on a growing shift away from fur in the fashion industry, The Guardian pointed out. Prada, Ralph Lauren, Gucci and Burberry have all stopped using it, and California became the first U.S. state to ban the sale and manufacture of new fur items earlier this month. Fellow retailers CPenney and Sears have also already banned fur, but Macy's is the largest U.S. retailer to do so.
"It's just a changing tide," P.J. Smith, director of fashion policy at the Humane Society, told The New York Times. "Consumers care about animal welfare more and more, and the idea of luxury is changing, where it's more about who's the most socially responsible and the most innovative."
More than 100 million animals suffer and die because of the fur industry every year, according to HSUS figures reported by CBS News. The animals most targeted include minks, foxes and rabbits, Smith told The New York Times, and they are often killed by gassing or electrocution.
The ban doesn't mean that Macy's will stop selling all animal-based clothing, however. The chain will follow the guidelines of the Fur Free Alliance, which allows the "use of fur that is a by-product of domestic farming to feed our society," CBS News reported. Therefore, ethically-sourced sheepskin and calf hair and cowhide will still be sold.
Macy's quits #fur! "Our customer is migrating away from #naturalfur and we are aligning with this trend. With the r… https://t.co/GIV9Iq7HLv— Fur Free Alliance (@Fur Free Alliance)1571745884.0
Macy's said it was partly following its customers in making the decision, arguing on its website that they were "migrating away from natural fur and we are aligning with this trend."
Technological changes also made the decision easier.
"With the rise of new fabric technology, alternatives like faux fur and other fabric innovations make this a seamless transition for our customers," Macy's said.
However, some have expressed concern in recent years that faux fur isn't exactly an environmentally-friendly alternative to the real thing. That's because it is made of plastic, and sheds microfibers.
"It's going to put more small, tiny fibers into the ocean," Jeffrey Silberman, chairperson of the textile development and marketing department at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, told HuffPost.
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By Kristen Fischer
It's going to be back-to-school time soon, but will children go into the classrooms?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) thinks so, but only as long as safety measures are in place.
Keeping Schools Safe<p>What will safer schools look like?</p><p>In a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2766822" target="_blank">JAMA article</a> published last month, <a href="https://www.jhsph.edu/faculty/directory/profile/1781/joshua-m-sharfstein" target="_blank">Dr. Joshua Sharfstein</a>, a pediatrician and professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, outlined suggestions — many of which are similar to AAP's.</p><p>Remote learning protocols must stay in place, especially as some schools stagger home and in-building learning. If another shutdown needs to occur, children will rely on distance learning completely, so it must be easy to switch to, he said.</p><p>He suggested giving parents a daily checklist to document their child's health. Kids should be screened quickly on arrival and be given hygiene supplies. Maintenance staff should use appropriate PPE and have regular cleaning schedules. A notification system should be in place if a case is identified, Sharfstein recommended.</p><p><a href="https://www.albany.edu/rockefeller/faculty/erika-martin" target="_blank">Erika Martin</a>, PhD, an associate professor of public administration and policy at University at Albany, said nutrition assistance and health services should be included. She called for tutoring programs with virtual options as well as technology access.</p>
Supporting Staff<p>Teachers and staff will be affected by safeguarding measures, noted <a href="https://directory.sph.umn.edu/bio/sph-a-z/rachel-widome" target="_blank">Rachel Widome</a>, PhD, an associate professor of epidemiology and community health at University of Minnesota.</p><p>"In order for all of the in-school precautions to work well, we'll be asking a lot of teachers and staff," Widome told Healthline. In addition to their usual workload, they'll now be asked to monitor mask-wearing, ensure children are keeping distance, and be aware of any symptoms.</p><p>Along with Sharfstein, Widome called for an increase in financial support. More employees will likely be required so teachers and staff members can keep up with the added demands.</p>
Should Kids Go Back?<p>While these guidelines may help get some schools to reopen, many people don't think children should go back to school over fears they could contract the disease and spread it to other vulnerable family members like grandparents, infant siblings, or their parents.</p><p>In a <a href="https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2020/07/08/peds.2020-004879" target="_blank">Pediatrics</a> commentary, <a href="https://www.md.com/doctor/william-raszka-md" target="_blank">Dr. William V. Raszka, Jr.</a>, an infectious disease specialist at The University of Vermont Medical Center, argued that schools should open because school-aged children are far less important drivers of COVID-19 than adults.</p><p>But he says the risk and benefit is not equal among all students ages 5 to 18.</p><p>"Elementary schools are arguably higher priority for face-to-face schooling, since younger children are at lower risk for infection and transmission, and since parental supervision of younger children's distance learning may be particularly challenging," added Sorensen, who penned a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/channels/health-forum/fullarticle/2767411" target="_blank">June article in JAMA</a> with reopening tips. "That means middle and high schools are more likely to emphasize distance learning."</p><p>Specific student populations, such as special education students and students with disabilities, would also benefit greatly from more time spent in face-to-face environments, Sorensen said.</p>
What Parents Can Do<p>Parents should ask for and receive frequent updates from schools about plans for the fall. They should also be informed about plans if and when COVID infections are identified, Sharfstein said.</p><p>"I'd like to see parents investing now, during the summer, in doing things that can slow and stop the spread of the virus in their communities," Widome said.</p><p>"Now is a good time for kids to practice wearing masks and get used to them as they may be wearing them for longer stretches if school starts up in person," Widome suggested.</p><p>She recommends parents try different mask designs and materials to see what children are more comfortable wearing.</p><p>"If you are using cloth face coverings, it's good to have extras on hand," Widome added.</p><p>Parents should model healthy behavior at home and while out in public — another thing that could affect how well children adapt to reopening practices, Sorensen said.</p><p>"Children may want to know more about face coverings," added <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/leescott/" target="_blank">Lee Scott</a>, chairwoman of the Educational Advisory Board at <a href="https://www.goddardschool.com/" target="_blank">The Goddard School</a>. "Dramatic play, such as creating or wearing a face covering, may help some children adjust to this concept." Schools can also show children photos of what faculty members look like in their masks so the students are familiar with that appearance.</p><p>Johns Hopkins University recently released its eSchool+ Initiative, a slew of resources surrounding education during the pandemic. These include a <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-checklist/" target="_blank">checklist for administrators</a>, report on <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/ethics-of-reopening/" target="_blank">ethical considerations</a>, and a tracker of <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-policy-tracker/" target="_blank">state and local reopening plans</a>.</p>
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Over 300 groups on Monday urged Senate leadership to reject a bill currently under consideration that would incentivize communities to sell off their public water supplies to private companies for pennies on the dollar.
<div id="fea63" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9a6f211c2bc5aedd34837944cb8eeedf"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1281000111481294849" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Water in Illinois is overwhelmingly public. Why is Tammy Duckworth sponsoring a bill that aims to change that? https://t.co/1V36Kkd99s</div> — The American Prospect (@The American Prospect)<a href="https://twitter.com/TheProspect/statuses/1281000111481294849">1594249201.0</a></blockquote></div>
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