Take a good look at the clothes you are wearing right now. Are you able to measure the carbon footprint of each item of clothing? Can you name the country each garment was sewn in? Or calculate how many kilometres your outfit travelled by truck, train, boat or plane? How about explain the farming methods it took to grow the fibres in the fabric? Clothing is a part of an agricultural process, one that impacts us all but is not widely talked about.
Cotton is one of the clothing industry’s largest carbon culprits. It’s reported to take up to 7000 litres of water to grow and manufacture one cotton t-shirt. Still, the amount of clothing that ends up in the landfill each year is eye-opening. In 2013, the United States threw away 12.83 million tones of textile waste.
A group of Vancouver, BC weavers, known as the eartHand Gleaners Society, are drawing attention to this issue by growing flax linen. How does growing flax bring awareness to our clothing? Well, before the industrial revolution, some considered linen to be the most important textile in the world, partially because flax linen is relatively easy to grow and can survive on rainwater. That means linen has a much lower water footprint than cotton, just 6.4 litres of water is needed to grow and manufacture one linen t-shirt.
We tagged along with the eartHand Gleaners Society weavers during their annual flax harvest to talk about their interest in flax linen and to gain a new perspective on the garment industry.
Watch the video below to get the full story:
Author/Video Producer: Jen Muranetz

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