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It’s the science, stupid!

By Daphne Vlastari

“Global warming is a hoax invented by the Chinese” – what an incredulous statement. But President Trump is not alone in making those assertions. Boris Johnson, the UK Foreign Secretary, has repeatedly challenged climate change because it snowed or because “there is no evidence supporting it”. In quintessentially Boris style, he also claimed he was not “disput[ing] the wisdom or good intentions of the vast majority of scientists”. But guess what? Scientists are annoyed. And rightly so. We should all be. This is our planet we’re talking about.

Science has been the only reliable vehicle through which we have been able to make sense of the world we live in and to make important technological advancements for the benefit of humanity. To suggest, without proof or facts, that scientific conclusions that have been accepted by the majority of the scientific community, have stood the test of time and are being corroborated on a daily basis are a “hoax” is very dangerous. Such assertions seek to dismantle the basis on which critical decisions for the future of our planet need to be made.

To put it bluntly: we are reaching dangerous levels of climate change as the 202 countries that signed the 2015 Paris Agreement have acknowledged. Decisive action to reduce our emissions and keep temperature changes to below 2 degrees Celsius (over pre-industrial levels) needs to be taken right now. We will need to make big changes to transition to a low carbon and sustainable future, but it is a one-way road; there are no short-cuts or alternatives. So, if at this critical juncture, we embrace populist theories that climate change is not real or that it will not affect “us”, then we are condemning future generations.

This is why today, Liberation Kilt is joining scientists and many others in celebrating Earth Day and marching for science. Science rallies are being organised all over the world from Washington DC to Edinburgh, from Norway to Italy, from India to New Zealand and from Nigeria to Iraq.

But this is not enough. We need to find new and enduring ways for people to show that they care. And since our sense of fashion is one of the most intimate and personal forms of self-expression, we’re leveraging this springboard to inspire people to talk and act on climate change every day, not just on protest days.

Nearing completion, Liberation Kilt’s exciting range of climate change prints aims to do exactly this. The range consists of several ‘capsule collections’, each with a unique style and focus.

One collection celebrates the work of climate scientists — today’s unsung heroes — through the art of collage. David Hockney called collage “a great, profound invention of the 20th century” and we’re bringing it into the 21st century with our focus on contemporary issues such as climate change. The final prints will be ready for autumn, meanwhile we’re sharing a few elements. Here, for example, is climate scientist Dave Moss using a special flask to collect air samples on Christmas Island:

Note: based on a photo courtesy of Ralph Keeling of the SCRIPPS Institute of Oceanography

Other elements include stylised climate charts (inspired by the work of the artist Judy Watson), artifacts from the climate scientist Charles David Keeling, the American Avocet (an endangered shorebird whose wetland habitat is under threat from climate change), the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii (where Charles David Keeling collected much of his data), and even the chemical symbol for carbon dioxide.

Another of our capsule collections took its inspiration from an altogether different source: propaganda textiles of the nascent Soviet Union. The seed for this project was planted a couple of years ago during a conversation between Liberation Kilt and Samantha Giordano, founder of the NYC label Dolores Haze. Hearing our plans for a print collection, she recalled how the Bolsheviks harnessed every working loom to bring the revolution to the masses — the goal being to transform a backward, agrarian country into a modern, fossil-fuel powered industrialized state using thematic textiles.

The respected art historian Aleksei Federov-Davydov said at the time that fabrics were “ideological goods” that could reach the farthest corners of the Soviet Union and therefore could have an enormous impact, and before long, people were hanging cogs, smokestacks, trains, planes and dams out to dry.

A hundred years on, the times call for a different kind of revolution — no less than a fundamental change in the energy basis of civilisation. It’s not propellers that are called for, but wind turbines!

By literally dressing ourselves and our surroundings in beautiful and modern fabrics that symbolise climate change, we can help bring the issue out of the theoretical sphere and weave it into the fabric of everyday life.

For more information about our climate change print collection, email us at press@liberationkilt.com

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