Another of the materials of the Peruvian jungle is an aerial root known as ¨Tamshi”. With this fiber, baskets, brooms and baskets are made. In turn, the Tamshi is also used to join the logs in the construction of huts for the communities. Similarly, there is the fiber of the Chambira palm, used by the Yaguas tribe to make clothing, hammocks, bags and fishing nets.
The vegetable fiber of “Tamshi” plays an important role in the life of the rural population of the Peruvian Amazon, since it is common in the construction of houses, household utensils and handicrafts; however, very few are aware of the need for its preservation and management. Due to excessive use, the species is seriously threatened; However, with proper management, it can contribute to generating economic income and preserving the Amazonian tropical forests.
The name “Tamshi” is assigned to a group of plant fiber species, such as “Wire Tamshi” (Heteropsis linearis, Kunth), “Cow Tamshi” (Heteropsis oblongifolia, Smith), “Huasi Tamshi” (Heteropsis spp.), ” Tamshi Lamas “(Heteropsis spp.),” Tamshi Basket “(Thoracocarpus bissectus (Vell.) Harling), and others. These species have in common being hemi epiphytes with long, cylindrical, wire-like roots that hang or are attached to the trunks of trees over 20 meters high in primary forests.
The “Tamshies” are native species of the Amazonian forests climax or in apogee, they are not in secondary forests. Tamshies are non-timber forest products, they have multiple uses and applications. In rural areas it is an important construction material that replaces wire and is used as a tie material to hold “beams”, for example.
It is highly resistant to the attack of fungi and insects. Its use is also common in the weaving of baskets, mats, beds, hats, and other utensils and fishing materials. The “tamshies” depending on the thickness and characteristics of the species, are also used in the construction of fences for the protection of animals, assembly of beds in replacement of bed bases, lines to dry clothes and as raw material for the manufacture of handicrafts in different communities native. In urban areas it is also widely used in the manufacture of furniture, as it perfectly replaces the well-known wicker fiber.
Currently, the pressure exerted on this resource forces rural inhabitants to look for these species in areas increasingly distant from the traditional centers of production, becoming increasingly scarce and rare. However, in this situation, very little is known about the basic aspects of its taxonomy, biology, ecology and physical and mechanical characteristics.
In Peru and neighboring countries, inventories of abundance in non-intervened forests in neighboring countries have been reviewed, as well as the results of the inventory carried out in the Palma Real Native Community and the experiences in making handicrafts, using Tamshi as raw material.
A clear example of good practices for the use of this natural fiber is that developed by the artisans of the Palma Real Native Community in Madre de Dios, since they have developed habits of use that allow the sustainability of the resource. This is an empirically learned management, which has been transmitted from generation to generation. Other native communities that we can mention are the native communities of Nanay in Loreto and Puerto Esperanza of the Asheninka ethnic group in Ucayali.
IAAP Tamshi: Otro producto no maderable de los bosques amazónicos con importancia económica: https://bit.ly/3apXL52
Palm trees have played a very important role in the daily life of Amazonian communities. Its different uses have been associated mainly with basic needs such as housing construction, food, the manufacturing of utilitarian crafts, medicines, fertilizers, fuel, clothing, etc. The weaving technique together with the ancestral knowledge about the plants that belong to their natural ecosystem and the dyes that they produced, allowed the Amazonian population not only to enter the world of color and expression, but also to find the roots and identity of each people, expressed in the designs of their fabrics and body paintings.
Chambira is a typical palm of the Amazon, we can find it in tropical forests of Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Brazil. In the Peruvian Amazon it is found in the low jungle, especially in the Department of Loreto. Although its growth is slow, after three years its fiber can already be used to make articles that do not require a hard fiber. At six years of age the fiber of the leaves has already matured, becoming more resistant and hard. The spinning of the raw fiber, an activity known locally as “fiber twisting”, is carried out manually. For this, good hygiene of the hands and legs is necessary, since the thread will slide over them.
To ensure that logging does not deplete the resource, communities or groups of artisans should organize and make agreements on the use of it and its conservation. These agreements must contemplate the prohibition of the felling of the palm tree, the respect of the populations close to the community, the repopulation of the species where it has been decimated, etc. The organized groups formed or the community itself as a whole, will be responsible for supervising and enforcing the agreements taken together.
The Chambira or Astrocaryum and its fiber have great potential in the growing tourist market of the Northern Jungle region. The recovery of traditional weaving and dyeing will not only mean a revaluation of Amazonian culture and indigenous culture in particular, but it will also enable rural artisans to achieve better income and working conditions. Among the main natural dyes used to dye this fiber we can mention Achiote, Coffee, Retama, Ojo de Vaca, Huito, Mango among other herbs, fruits and species present in its natural ecosystem.
Biomimicry is one of the main innovative approaches that is currently used for sustainable fashion design. There is a rapidly growing demand for an effective sustainable design approach in fashion, architecture among other industries, and without compromising the needs of future generations, but very few have proven effectiveness at a macro scale. This is because innovative biomimicry is still an emerging discipline in a development phase. So how upcoming technologic innovations are being inspired by nature and developing the “new normality garments and accessories”?
Shielding Technology inspired by Nature
Over thousands of years, nature and animals have continuously evolved to overcome challenges and adapt to everchanging environments. Here are two good examples: Goldenberry‘s calyx is a great example of the amazing natural shielding properties. If Goldenberry’s fruit is left inside the intact calyx’s husks, then fruit’s shelf life at room temperature can last up to 45 days, maintaining its firmness, acidity, lower ethylene production, less weight loss. The calyx is definitely inedible. A second example is melanized fungi, since It has been demonstrated that it exhibits protection against ionizing radiation and the protective effect of melanin can be transferred to organisms that do not produce the pigment.
Additionally, there are inspiring technologies that will affect our everyday lives like Camouflaging Material’s inspired by the Octopus’ skin and Adhesion Systems based on Gecko’s gravity defying grip.
All above demostrates that biomimicry applied into sustainable design will soon deliver a new generation of products and services that are changing the way we interact each other and with our ecosystems during this “New Normality” post Covid19 context.
New Normality of Fashion Garments and Accesories
According to WGSN Future Consumer 2022 Report, the COVID19 pandemic is the biggest global driver of change seen for a long time, resulting in the evolution of numerous consumer attitudes. Therefore, most sectors are being pushed to adapt, as we are faced with a reality that demands from people and businesses alike flexibility, resilience and mostly creativity.
Another market research institution Opinno revealed, that if any business aims to adapt to the new “normality”, then they must become agile sustainable innovators and continuously co-create with clients. One of the 10 trends that has been mentioned is Social Hypochondria: Wellness, Health and Hygiene. For this reason future technologic revolutions like quantified people, assisted diagnosis, personalized treatments, telemedicine and wearables are getting more relevance.
There are many advances applied into the fashion industry looking for delivering clothing with enhanced skin functions, such as shielding towards different external hazards, sensation, thermal regulation and absorption of vitamin D. For instance, textiles made with bioplastics, bioluminescence bacteria, nanofibers and biosensors, complemented with coded sensors have set the minimum base for the future smart clothing.
Therefore, since there is a growing need for fashion garments and accessories, that work with nature to create a regenerative ecosystem at all levels, then designers must become more loving, aware, respectful with nature for a more sustainable future.
Post Pandemic Covid19 new normality allowed us to feel a sense of urgency to fully protect our health, safety, and value our freedom and lives, and hopefully we had learned to respect our planet. The main characteristics that we are looking for in our clothing are: durability, easy-to-wear items to help us navigate a cyclical chain of events, as we are no longer willing to waste time and money on clothing that offers otherwise. Now, we have been forced to admit it.
The economic crisis that has been imposed on us after Pandemic Covid19 has left us without disposable income to accumulate fast fashion trends. Therefore, we will have to invest into more essential products and be more creative with what we already have.
The return to arts and crafts at home:
According to Luxiders Magazine, all above means the return to sewing skills, products made to last rather than made to wear for a minute, creative concepts of reinvention, and the art of costume swaps. Also, core values such as respect for craftsmanship, the need for collaboration, and the antidote for connection will be challenging, since conventional fashion is designed to favor the few beyond immeasurable influence, while subduing the hands behind garments and accessories.
Some examples of these new market trends are the several online tutorials and masterclasses that are being offered through different Social Media platforms in regards of recycling, upcycling, DYI facemasks, face shields, diet planning and recipes, physical trainings among others.
The redesign of User Experience at private and public areas:
Finally, Hypochondria will be joined by Agoraphobia and Social Claustrophobia, due to current sanitary protocols that have been implemented worldwide. This New Normality may force us to avoid crowds, crowded spaces or those lacking adequate ventilation, which implies a comprehensive redesign of the customer experience in shopping centers, gyms, cinemas, airplanes, cruise ships, beauty salons, schools; etc. Mobility will be a sector widely affected by this trend and consequently the energy sector, due to the consumption of oil generated by this sector. Fashion accessories like foulards, face masks, hoods, vests, and other multifunctional, timeless, minimalist, and durable garments will be around for the years to come.
The collective challenge:
So, what’s next? It’s time to rewrite the narrative. Everyone in the fashion design industry needs to go beyond divisive and individualistic motives; that they take sustainability not as a trend, but as the solution; and that it has come to stay.
During this Lockdown Economy caused by COVID19, our hygiene habits and protocols have changed. Some accessories, such as facemasks or face shields will remain as part of our fashion essentials for a while, as they had been declared mandatory since last May 2020.
Environmental Impact of Personal Protection Equipment PPE (New Shielding Accesories)
Therefore, many fashion brands have launched different models of facemasks made with sustainable materials and others have opted for less sustainable, semi-synthetic materials, but with filters that offer different levels of protection against biological and chemical haazards.
Most of the disposable facemasks are made from plastics including polypropylene, polythene and vinyl, materials that will end into the oceans and take up to 450 years to decompose. Fashion is already the second most polluting industry in the planet, therefore, we can’t continue consuming without awareness, respect and care for the environment.
According to a study in the Environmental Science and Technology’s Journal, an estimated 129 billion disposable face masks and 65 billion gloves are used every month worldwide. Therefore, we should start developing solutions to reduce, mitigate and eliminate de main causes of current sanitary crisis and implement waste management good practices at all levels.
One of the main environmental impact of synthetic facemasks is that unfortunately most of them are released and absorbed into the oceans. Thereafter, plastics break down into smaller pieces over time, and the longer litter is in the environment, the more it will decompose. Plastics first break down into microplastics and eventually into even smaller nanoplastics. These tiny particles and fibres are often long-lived polymers that can accumulate in food chains (marine biodiversity). Just one mask can produce millions of particles each, with the potential to also carry chemical hazards and bacteria up the food chain and potentially even into humans.
Reduction of Facemasks’ Environmental Impact – Waste Management
Last March 2018, a study led by the Ocean Cleanup Foundation reported the presence of an entire island of 1.8 billion plastic waste in the Pacific Ocean with an estimated weight of 80,000 tons. Can you imagine how many non-biodegradable and toxic waste, we are generating with the increase in demand for personal protective garments and accessories? What about when domestic and international flights are reestablished? Are you aware of the waste management procedures that have been adopted?
The conservation organization Oceans Asia announced the urgency of creating a second and third life for facemasks, filters, and gloves. In Puerto Llano, Spain a company called Therman had started offering recycling services and this type of initiative must be replicated all over the world.
In Spain, the Senior Council for Scientific Research announced some weeks ago a project developing biodegradable antiviral filters that could be changed daily in masks. Other alternatives include those of KAIST Korea’s science and technology university, , which announced in March that it had succeeded in creating reusable filters that can then be washed, while maintaining efficacy similar to the disposable surgical masks. Or, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, which in April announced the launch of facial protection equipment that could be reused after being disinfected; it should be ready for at-scale production and sold at affordable prices.
Sustainable Textiles Research and Development Challenge
In Latin America some shielding textiles had been developed combining natural fibers such cotton, alpaca, silver and copper fibers, based on the anti-bacterial and virucidal properties of these metals. There are still some further research to be made though, since not all of them comply with the medical textiles´s standards.
What about the facemasks that we can made at home? Majority are made with cotton fabric, but will not completely protect the wearer, but they help to reduce the risk of infecting others. Then, a proper protective filter is needed to enhance its shielding features effectively.
If we compare the CO2 footprint of each fabrication process: N95 Facemask footprint is 20% less than homemade ones, but the picture is different after a 30-day usage, since the homemade ones can be reused and washed.
Which actions shall we take to reduce Facemasks’ Environmental Impact?
Use reusable masks without disposable filters. Machine wash them regularly following the instructions for the fabric.
Try to carry a spare so if something goes wrong with the one you’re wearing you don’t need to use or buy a disposable mask.
If you do need to use a disposable mask, take it home (maybe in a bag if you have to take it off) and then put it straight into a bin with a lid. If this isn’t possible, place it in a proper public bin.
Don’t put disposable masks in the recycling. They can get caught in specialist recycling equipment and be a potential biohazard to waste workers.
Whatever you do, don’t litter them!
2020 will be the year that we will remember as a year of social distance, accelerated digitalization, but also a year of COVID19 Waste Impact, as there is an urgent need to disseminate and implement material waste disposal procedures and create recollection/reuse centers for the waste generated by the new protective garments and essentials. Nevertheless, there are various lines of research currently underway aiming to create protective equipment for the public that has less of an impact on the environment.
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