Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day 2011: Fired Up for Sustainability

At ecoFiber, we're big advocates of a healthy, sustainable global environment. Our standards of production are based on an ethic of responsibility, which mandates choices that are good for the planet. Despite all the damage that's been done to our planet, there's plenty of hope for the future.

Today - Earth Day 2011 - We at ecoFiber are fired up about the increasing number of businesses and individuals around the globe who share values for sustainability.

What is Earth Day?

It may be hard to imagine that before 1970, a factory could spew black clouds of toxic into the air or dump tons of toxic waste into a nearby stream, and that was perfectly legal. They could not be taken to court to stop it. There was no legal or regulatory mechanisms to protect our environment.

In Spring 1970, Senator Gaylord Nelson created Earth Day as a way to “force this issue onto the national agenda.” With the efforts of government and grassroots efforts, 20 million Americans demonstrated in various U.S. cities.

The momentum from this epic movement persuaded Congress to authorize in December 1970 the creation of a new federal agency to tackle environmental issues, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

20 years later, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage.

Earth Day Today

The national Earth Day Network is promoting a Billion Acts of Green initiative this year. The goal is to demonstrate the impact that can be made by millions of people who commit to bettering the environment. It's a people-powered campaign to generate a billion acts of environmental service and advocacy before June 2012.

People can make healthy pledges to the environment to participate in sustainable development of a green economy. We at ecoFiber plan to pledge to continue to mandate choices that are good for the planet, which include using natural fibers and chemical-free vegetable dyes. We also intend to chase new ways to promote sustainability, health and comfort.

What will you do for Earth Day 2011?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Is your rug slave-free?

We discussed the positive change GoodWeave is making to end the child labor epidemic in the rug industry in ecoFiber Proud to Offer Product That's One-in-a-Million. Today, CNN produced a segment that shows how GoodWeave is trying to put a stop to child slave labor practices in Asian rug factories. We hope you'll take a few minutes to view this great feature, as reported by CNN's Maggie Lake:

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Goodweave to be Featured on CNN April 18

We hope you have been following the CNN Freedom Project's ground-breaking coverage of modern slavery across the globe. From California's tomato fields to India's rug looms, CNN is bringing its viewers to the scene of exploitation, and telling the harrowing stories of children and other turned prey for profits.

The Freedom Project also seeks to tell stories of hope and liberation - the stories of emancipated slaves. This Monday, April 18, CNN will air its premier segment on GoodWeave's innovative market-based solution to child slavery. The piece will be shown on World Business Today at 9 a.m. EST, and subsequently aired on other shows throughout the day. The piece will also be archived on the CNN website along with a slideshow of images of GoodWeave's Faces of Freedom photo exhibition.

We invite you to tune in, and inform your friends and colleagues of the coverage. If you haven't already, become a GoodWeave Facebook fan and/or Twitter follower and you'll be updated as the coverage unfolds. You can also join the GoodWeave Ambassadors group on Facebook, which will ensure that you see the latest news and enable you to spread the word.

We hope the project inspires you to take action against the enslavement of children. Click here for a list of other ideas on how you can help GoodWeave take a stand. With your help, we can replace exploitation with education, which should be the birthright of every child.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Volatile Organic Compounds and the Air You Breathe

The links between sustainability, health and comfort are becoming increasingly understood and appreciated. Nowhere is this more acute than with indoor air quality. In Natural Fiber Rugs and Your Family, we discussed how non-natural fiber rugs can be dangerous for you and your family by the off-gassing of chemicals from various materials. But you may be left wondering: What exactly are the chemicals that result in dangerous indoor air quality?

What are VOCs?

They're called volatile organic compounds (VOCs), present in many paints, carpets, and rugs that we buy to perk up the interiors of our homes.

Often the 'new smell' of products we use in our homes are actually VOCs being released into the air we breathe. VOCs may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. These substances can harm human respiratory health, and make you or your loved ones more susceptible to headaches, allergies or asthma. Young children are particularly vulnerable.

Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

VOCs in Your Rugs and Carpets

Mass-produced, commercial rugs have often undergone extensive chemical treatments, including dye and bleach, before they end up on your floor. Some handmade rugs also use chemical treatments in their creation. These chemical treatments have a direct impact on your indoor air quality.

Carpets can also be culprits of poor indoor air quality, not only from the chemicals used to treat them, but also from the glues and adhesives used to stick them to the floor.

Health problems associated with indoor air quality can come on slow, resulting in inadequate preparation. Fortunately, we know more about VOCs today than ever before, and there's clear choices we can make when designing our interiors to err on the side of health, safety and comfort.

Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

Installing as much hard flooring as much hard flooring as you can is a way to reduce VOCs in your home. Rugs made with natural fibers can provide the comfort and warmth of carpet without the health risks. You'll be able to rest easy knowing your flooring won't negatively affect your health.

At ecoFiber, we decided early on that there's a clear link between sustainability and health and comfort. Our standards of production are based on an ethic of responsibility, which mandates choices that are good for the planet. We do not use petroleum-based fibers or chemicals. Our simple, elegant designs are not beautiful, but also sustainable and safe.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

ecoFiber Proud to Offer Product That's One-in-a-Million

100 years ago more than two million children under the age of 15 were employed in American industry in conditions that bordered on child slavery. We now live in a world where millions of children are subjected to child labor beyond our borders.

One-in-a-Million: GoodWeave’s Campaign to End Child Labor is raising awareness of the child labor epidemic in the handmade rug industry and inspiring consumers to take action. We’re proud at ecoFiber Custom Rugs that our products bear the GoodWeave label.

What’s great about GoodWeave’s campaign is that it doesn’t just inform consumers about the problem, it offers solutions.

Consumers who buy a rug that’s certified by GoodWeave can be assured that their purchase is one in a million — because adult artisans made it, not child laborers. At ecoFiber, adult workers whose families are provided health care and tuition hand make our rugs in Nepal, where they use only natural fibers and chemical free vegetable dyes, creating products of true ethical elegance.

GoodWeave offers ways that concerned citizens can help end child labor in the handmade rug industry, including insisting on the GoodWeave label when shopping for a handmade rug. Check out more ways to get involved with GoodWeave.

Nearly a century ago, grassroots efforts helped to end child labor in the U.S. With the aid of social media tools and other unique approaches, GoodWeave is helping to eradicate child labor throughout the world. It’s inspiring. And ecoFiber Custom Rugs couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of it!