Fabrics and textiles impact our climate -- a lot. How can we spark a materials revolution by rethinking how we value and use them?
The materials we use to clothe ourselves and cover our things have a profound impact on the climate. They are all around us – in the furniture we sit on, the cars we drive and the clothes we wear. The fact is, materials matter. According to research compiled by MIT Materials System Lab, approximately 25 billion kilograms of cotton was produced worldwide in 2013, resulting in the same annual GHG emissions as 51.3 million passenger vehicles. Enough leather is produced annually to cover the state of Maryland (double the size of the greater London area). Polyester production for use in textiles this year alone is estimated to generate as much greenhouse gas emissions as the annual emissions of 185 coal fired power plants. That’s a material issue.
Developing new material compositions and reducing the impact of fabric production is necessary, but not sufficient to reduce the climate impact of industries that rely on fabrics. Before we can advance and scale innovation in materials, we need to build an understanding of the challenges and opportunities that exist. We need to redefine society's relationship with fabrics and textiles. This contest seeks novel and well thought-out ideas on how to engage industries, designers, product creators and the public in valuing, demanding and adopting lower impact materials. See our launch video here.