We live in a world that is largely synthetic. Very little that a human being comes into contact with these days derives from natural ingredients or materials: our foods are processed, the materials for our clothes are petroleum-based, and even our toilet paper is made of composite papers derived from synthetic ingredients. While, in some cases, synthetic materials are of huge benefit to society (think, for example, of the lifesaving ability of synthetic floatation devices, the miraculous wonder of processed energy supplements for malnourished children, or the incredible technology behind the safety offered by bulletproof glass), it is not always a benefit to be living an entirely synthetic life.
If, as the song goes, we are living in a material world, it is definitely worth knowing more about the materials you use in your day-to-day life. What’s more, when it comes to understanding the make-up of the objects around you, you don’t have to look far to find something that is hugely improved by being made up of a natural fiber such as wool, cotton, hemp, etc. Picking the right type of material can make or break your day, believe it or not! So, learning the difference between what’s natural and what isn’t is more important than you might realize.
Here we’re going to explore some of the oft-ignored benefits of natural fibers and how they can work in subtle but powerful ways to make spaces, places, and activities all the better.
Natural Fibers are Environmentally Friendly
Unlike substances that have to be manufactured by massive plants that use tons of water, oil, heat, and labor, natural fibers like those from Goonvean Fibres occur in nature, as their name would suggest, which means they take fewer resources to collect. Wool, for example, is a natural by-product of farming sheep. Considering there are more sheep than people in Scotland alone (yes, that is an actual fact!), wool is an almost accidental side effect of many an existing farm and therefore very easy to come by. While it still needs to be processed in order to be used, this natural fiber is much more sustainable than many manufactured synthetic products.
The same thing goes with hemp, which is derived from a seed that grows easily in many different environments. Rather than destroying environments by uprooting plants and paving over wildlands like many factories do, hemp growth actually fosters biodiversity where it is undertaken! Some natural fiber producers even go so far as to only harvest wild hemp in order to be as sustainable as possible.
Natural Fibers Support Local Businesses
Much of the synthetic materials that are made in the modern world are made by massive factories owned by international conglomerate corporations, and their manufacturing takes place across multiple industrial plants in different environments.
Any given plastic toy, for example, is often derived from synthetic materials that were created in one factory, shipped across the world for assembly and gluing in another warehouse or manufacturing plant, before being sent to a final destination to be wrapped in a last layer of plastic (yet again manufactured far away) for its sale. A wooden toy, however, does not need to be so industrialized, as anyone can carve a piece of wood fallen from a local tree in order to craft something beautiful and fun to play with.
It is for this reason that many natural fiber merchants are local businesses. This means that not only are you supporting the environment when you choose natural fibers, but you are also often supporting a local economy of neighbors, friends, and family. Many small businesses are especially focused on creating goods made only from local natural fibers, which means that giving them your custom benefits the general wellbeing of the environment and the population of your town!
Natural Fibers Last Longer
Though there are some synthetic fibers that are specifically designed to last and last, nothing holds wear like a natural fiber Wool is practical, warm, long-wearing, and far easier to clean than people assume.
Cotton, too, is likely to hold its shape much longer than synthetic materials like polyester. If fashion is of importance to you, wearing silks, wools, and linen is a great way to ensure that your garments have a consistent fit for as long as you wear them: natural fibers are much less likely to stretch or rip than synthetic ones.
The next time you have to choose between a natural fiber and a synthetic one, consider how you might be affecting the larger systems around you, and consider some of the major benefits of going natural!
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