Handcrafts and COP26: How fostering crafts can help the planet?

Handcrafts is present in several actions that contribute to social, economic and environmental changes.

When encouraged, artisanal work promotes sustainable trade and works in favor of some of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) proposed by the United Nations (UN). You can read more about this subject here.

Given a scenario of burning, deforestation and climate changes, world conferences debate how to contain this situation (such as COP26, in 2021). Handicraft plays an important role in the fight for the environment, but how?

1. Reduces the emission of polluting gases

Reducing gas emissions has been one of the main topics at world conferences on the environment. This is due to the fact that the excessive emission of these pollutants contributes to intensifying the greenhouse effect, which causes significant climate change for the planet.

In this sense, handcrafts proves to be a great ally in combating the emission of these gases, because it encourages sustainable and local trade.

Industrial products are made from polluting machines and require one or more transports that cover long distances. Thus, a large amount of carbon monoxide is released into the atmosphere, causing complications for the environment.

On the other hand, the artisan work is done by hand, which goes against the industrial logic we know. Also, by contributing to the local market, crafts do not require excessive use of transport that travels long distances. Therefore, the exaggerated emission of polluting gases into the atmosphere is also avoided.

2. Handcrafts are reusing materials

Avoiding waste, reusing and recycling materials are actions that we have known since children as practices that contribute to the longevity of the environment. Likewise, handcrafts aim to enable less waste of materials for the consumer, as they are produced from a sustainable, manual and small-scale perspective.

This characteristic is also due to the concept of production slow fashion, which deviates from the fast fashion model of industrial products. Fast fashion is responsible for the series production of several identical pieces, often in inferior and polluting quality. Thus, craft techniques seek quality, exclusivity and sustainability.

Still, crafts allows the use of reused materials, such as pet bottles, tires, fasteners and other everyday materials. In this way, it is possible to reuse what is about to be discarded and develop beautiful pieces for decoration or daily use in your home.

3. Collaborate with the circular economy

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I have already wrote about the socioeconomic model in which we are inserted influences the value and price of our handicrafts. Similarly, the model we follow with our economy influences our relationship with the environment.

Currently, we follow the linear economy model, in which we extract raw material, produce the part, distribute it, consume it and, finally, eliminate its waste. However, following the previous topic, crafts contribute to the reuse, repair and recycling of materials. In other words, craft work encourages another economy model: the circular.

The circular economy aims to make better use of natural resources, through recycling and less dependence on virgin raw materials. In this way, it encourages a new way of thinking, developing and selling parts so that there is the intelligent use and recovery of natural resources.

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