I recently read a National Geographic article on bird migrations. I love birds, and it touched a particularly sore spot when, perhaps rather anthropomorphically, I imagined the devastation they must experience when reaching habitats they rely on after an epic and exhausting journey only to find they have been decimated for human developments. So I was inspired to write this.
These large, intriguing birds are just one of many species that rely on watery habitats for survival. Water provides food and safety. It also provides irrigation opportunities for many a thirsty crop – here its mainly maize. But throughout the world, cotton, soybeans, wheat and many more such crops count amongst those staples that we rely on so heavily. They are also a heavy burden on water resources.
Each year, water is diverted from rivers to feed our hunger for meat, dairy and fashion. Maize grown in the US goes mainly to feed livestock, and most cotton is exported to be processed in factories in South East Asia and sold as cheap, fast fashion back in the
places it was originally grown.
It’s a classic question of competition – or sharing- of resources. Animals and humans; wildlife preservation and money making. But is there an alternative? Do the cranes and other migrating birds have to be driven to push on from their original stopovers as water levels decline, just as fashion brands push to get more cotton t-shirts sold at cut throat prices?
The immense complexity and challenges of managing the precious resources of the planet can be overwhelming and disheartening. But I also love the complexity, the way we are all linked in a web of life. Watery channels linking one thing to another.
And I like to think that somehow my efforts in putting hemp out to there may also ripple out and touch the lives of some of our feathered friends. Maybe our fashion choices will help slow the fast paced world of style and allow the Sandhill Cranes to continue, in their own unique pace, their journey up North.
Images: Hemp On Toast's Low Key Shirt in 55% organic hemp, 45% organic cotton. Photo by Jo Hayes IG: @theillusionofdepth Website: https://josephhayes.co.uk/