October 10, 2017
An extraordinary new medical study reveals that pollution kills nine million people every year. Put another way, that is at least one of every six deaths on the planet, and the tally could be higher as the consequences of pollution remain poorly understood.
Pollution disproportionately kills the poor and the vulnerable. Nearly 92% of pollution-related deaths occur in low-income and middle-income countries and, in countries at every income level, disease caused by pollution is most prevalent among minorities and the marginalised. Children are at high risk of pollution-related disease and even extremely low-dose exposures to pollutants during windows of vulnerability in utero and in early infancy can result in disease, disability, and death in childhood and across their lifespan.
The Lancet, a weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal, is one of the world’s oldest and best known general medical journals.
One graphic from the study illustrates the global impact of pollution deaths by country:
While the study does not make this claim, it does not surprise us, given the garment industry’s vast contribution to the world’s pollution, that countries that make a lot of clothes also have a lot of people die from pollution with India and Bangladesh among the highest per capita deaths attributable to pollution. Again, while the study does not make a formal empirical correlation, it may not be too strong to say that “our clothing kills.” Pollution from chemicals in cotton fields, from the petroleum-based synthetic fibers, from the dyes, and from the disposal of our clothing in landfills, creates a deadly toxic mess.
The Guardian provided an excellent summary of the study here.
A one-page info-graphic, provided by The Lancet, about the studies finding can be found here.
October 10, 2017
This new book from UC Press chronicles the Alta Gracia factory in the Dominican Republic, which boasts a living wage, high health and safety standards, and a legitimate union – all verified by an independent monitor. The Human Thread received an advance copy to review. Sewing Hope is both full of data with academic rigor arguing for a living wage as well as rich stories of the impact in human lives of such a wage. We highly recommend the book.
The books authors are Sarah Adler-Milstein and Professor John M. Kline, a keen ally in the work of The Human Thread. Adler-Milstein is a worker-rights advocate and has served as Field Director for Latin America and the Caribbean for the Worker Rights Consortium. Professor Kline is Professor of International Business Diplomacy at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. He is the author of four books, including the textbook Ethics for International Business.
Orders for the book may be placed here, or from your favorite local book seller.
October 10, 2017
Yesterday, the Vatican Press Office released the program for the Apostolic Visit of His Holiness Francis to Myanmar and Bangladesh (November 26 to December 2, 2017). The full calendar can be found here.
Here at The Human Thread, we have our eyes focused on this visit. Catholic News Service has a summary of the highlights of the program here. While nothing on the official calendar commits Pope Francis to speaking directly about the conditions of garment workers, he will be visiting the National Martyrs’ Memorial in Savar, the same community northwest of Dhaka where the Rana Plaza building once stood.
For obvious reasons, the ongoing Rohingya crisis will dominate the headlines, but Pope Francis’ visit to two extremely poor countries will likely elevate solidarity, care for creation, and human rights in unexpected ways.