Pro Surfer Kelly Slater Launches Clothing Line Made From Ocean Trash
Kelly Slater's new clothing line is tackling two pressing environmental issues at the same time: textile waste and ocean plastic. Outerknown, the 11-time world surfing champion's sustainable menswear label, includes a line of 100 percent recyclable clothing made from reclaimed fishing nets.
— GQ Fashion (@GQFashion) July 15, 2015
“I created Outerknown to smash the formula," Slater, who parted ways with longtime sponsor Quiksilver to launch his own brand, said on the company's website. "To lift the lid on the traditional supply chain, and prove that you can actually produce great looking menswear in a sustainable way.”
These clothes can be upcycled over and over into new clothing. "There's an infinite number of times the nylon can be broken down and re-born into new yarn without any loss of quality," Outerknown noted on its website.
According to the Marine Mammal Center, abandoned fishing nets, also known as "ghost nets," account for approximately 10 percent of all marine debris. Shockingly, as Reuters reported, about 640,000 tonnes of discarded fishing gear gets added to the oceans yearly.
Not only that, these nets are a major plague on marine life. More than 100,000 marine mammals—fish, dolphins, sea lions, seals as well as birds—die every year from the harmful effects of plastic, fishing nets and trash in our oceans, the Marine Mammal Center also pointed out.
"You have problems like not only oil spills and that kind of stuff but also the constant outpouring of plastics," Slater told CNN. "Single-use plastics all through the ocean, degrading, turning into little bits that are all eaten by the sea life, and they're dying because their stomachs are full of stuff."
The entire Outerknown collection has a classic yet beachy vibe and was praised by men's style Bible GQ as a "cool-ass new surf line." With organic cotton blazers for $495 and T-shirts around $90, Outerknown clothing won't fit everyone's budget.
However, there's a reason why fast-fashion from retail giants such as H&M and Forever21 is so cheap, as EcoWatch has previously reported. A truly sustainable clothing line costs a lot of money to bring from the factory to the rack, which explains Outerknown's price tags.
"Clothing is a really icky business, but it’s a whole system," Slater told Surfer Magazine. "You’ve got retailers bitching about prices but they’re also bitching about production and the way things are made. Those two things are completely tied together. If you’re going to use good materials and take care of people working in your factories, the clothing will be exponentially more expensive to produce."
Outerknown has partnered with the Fair Labor Association, which is the best standard for protecting workers throughout the supply chain. Additionally, the clothing company also partnered with Bluesign, a sustainable textile auditing company that seeks to eliminate harmful substances from the beginning of the manufacturing process.
"I believe we have an obligation to build better products and understand the way our consumption impacts the world around us," Slater also wrote on Instagram. "In saying that, the focus of our brand is to make a product that has a positive effect on every possible level."
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A Game of Jenga<p>Think of it as a game of Jenga and the planet's climate system as the tower. For generations, we have been slowly removing blocks. But at some point, we will remove a pivotal block, such as the collapse of one of the major global ocean circulation systems, for example the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), that will cause all or part of the global climate system to fall into a planetary emergency.</p><p>But worse still, it could cause runaway damage: Where the tipping points form a domino-like cascade, where breaching one triggers breaches of others, creating an unstoppable shift to a radically and swiftly changing climate.</p><p>One of the most concerning tipping points is mass methane release. Methane can be found in deep freeze storage within permafrost and at the bottom of the deepest oceans in the form of methane hydrates. But rising sea and air temperatures are beginning to thaw these stores of methane.</p><p>This would release a powerful greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, 30-times more potent than carbon dioxide as a global warming agent. This would drastically increase temperatures and rush us towards the breach of other tipping points.</p><p>This could include the acceleration of ice thaw on all three of the globe's large, land-based ice sheets – Greenland, West Antarctica and the Wilkes Basin in East Antarctica. The potential collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet is seen as a key tipping point, as its loss could eventually <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/324/5929/901" target="_blank">raise global sea levels by 3.3 meters</a> with important regional variations.</p><p>More than that, we would be on the irreversible path to full land-ice melt, causing sea levels to rise by up to 30 meters, roughly at the rate of two meters per century, or maybe faster. Just look at the raised beaches around the world, at the last high stand of global sea level, at the end of the Pleistocene period around 120,0000 years ago, to see the evidence of such a warm world, which was just 2°C warmer than the present day.</p>
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The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation has a major effect on the climate. Praetorius (2018)
Is it Time to Declare a Climate Emergency?<p>At what stage, and at what rise in global temperatures, will these tipping points be reached? No one is entirely sure. It may take centuries, millennia or it could be imminent.</p><p>But as COVID-19 taught us, we need to prepare for the expected. We were aware of the risk of a pandemic. We also knew that we were not sufficiently prepared. But we didn't act in a meaningful manner. Thankfully, we have been able to fast-track the production of vaccines to combat COVID-19. But there is no vaccine for climate change once we have passed these tipping points.</p><p><a href="https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-global-risks-report-2021" target="_blank">We need to act now on our climate</a>. Act like these tipping points are imminent. And stop thinking of climate change as a slow-moving, long-term threat that enables us to kick the problem down the road and let future generations deal with it. We must take immediate action to reduce global warming and fulfill our commitments to the <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Paris Agreement</a>, and build resilience with these tipping points in mind.</p><p>We need to plan now to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, but we also need to plan for the impacts, such as the ability to feed everyone on the planet, develop plans to manage flood risk, as well as manage the social and geopolitical impacts of human migrations that will be a consequence of fight or flight decisions.</p><p>Breaching these tipping points would be cataclysmic and potentially far more devastating than COVID-19. Some may not enjoy hearing these messages, or consider them to be in the realm of science fiction. But if it injects a sense of urgency to make us respond to climate change like we have done to the pandemic, then we must talk more about what has happened before and will happen again.</p><p>Otherwise we will continue playing Jenga with our planet. And ultimately, there will only be one loser – us.</p>
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