Using blue jeans to make paper, made the paper a nice light blue color, but before the big switch to cellulose, paper was most commonly made from cloth rags, and other fibers like rope, recycling done for centuries, even then at a cost to the environment and the workers.
Connecting that box of found stationary to the fact so many of the environmental issues we face in Ottawa County stem from legacy mining, and it was a tailor in Reno, Nevada who made pants for miners that could stand up to those rough jobs using metal fasteners and riveted them using Levi Strauss' denim fabric.
But making those jeans also links us since manufacturing them creates pollution and water quality issues much as our legacy mining has. According to some references, "It would take 13 years to drink the amount of water it takes to make just one top and pair of jeans.
"While cotton only takes up 2.5% of agricultural land, it accounts for 16% of all the insecticide and 6.8% of all herbicides used worldwide by cotton farmers. Between 1 and 3% of agricultural workers worldwide suffer from acute pesticide poisoning with at least 1 million requiring hospitalizations each year. Furthermore, pesticides can pollute nearby soil and water systems, threatening food supplies and creating health risks!"
Indigo is a native plant that used to be used for the blue dye to make blue jeans BLUE. I have some growing in my pastures, but have never used it that way, tending to use the dyed pods as entertainment as I love the sound of the seeds rattling. Harmful chemicals are used now in the denim dyeing process, some like azo can release carcinogenic amines.
Which is why, though I like BRAND NEW JEANS, they always get washed right away to wash away any chemicals that were used. But washing any jeans that first time and every wash after releases 56,000 microfibers of denim AND microfibers from denim is even being found in the Arctic now! other microfibers are there but scientists looking at them can determine anthropogenically modified dyed blue cellulose and that there is a lot of denim in the environment.
Knowing this could have added to how I feel. Am I blue?
We are all having so many changes, our lives are so very different. A song by Stevie Appleton, Feeling Blue Without You, might sum it up for all of us. Or some of us. I am missing people, and know we will have time together again, but that would be quicker if in mass we do all we can now to believe in a real future, a healthy one for all.
Collectively our mental health is being impacted, even in June there were estimated to be 82 million people distressed. Since this virus has lingered so long it is a mental stressor, there are economic challenges, schools, closing and re-opening. No football? AND an election and the holidays all coming. Hold on to your hat! This is going to take a while. Accept that. Our rush to the how it used to be "sets us up for failure." But it also is why we are seeing risky behavior, because when people don't feel like they have control, they often throw caution to the wind.
Wind it back in, talk to your friends about these feelings. We might all be feeling blue? Pull on your old blue jeans, reach out, do something that helps someone else, read, express yourself. And listen to great music, maybe even check out the Blues.
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim