Working Towards a Sustainable Future in Cambodia
Cambodia is a beautiful place filled with endless natural beauty and bustling cities. This majestic country is situated between Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and the Gulf of Thailand.
Unfortunately, Cambodia is also one of the most vulnerable countries to the effects of Climate Change in South East Asia, according to the United Nations. While Cambodia typically has a “wet” and “dry” season, the affects of climate change has led to more extreme weather patterns. According to the World Health Organization and United Nations 2015 Cambodia and Climate Profile, “Cambodia is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and in recent years has experienced an increase in severe floods, droughts and windstorms that impact socioeconomic development and human health.” In particular, the floods, windstorms, and droughts have negatively impacted the agriculture sector and rural regions of Cambodia. Rice is a water intensive crop therefore inconsistent rain and droughts can reduce rice yields. Excessive water such as flooding and especially flash floods, can destroy rice crops altogether. According to Cambodia’s National Committee for Disaster Management as referenced in a 2016 Khmer Times Article, the 2013 floods in Cambodia “destroyed some 200,000 hectares of rice fields, which comprise nearly 10 percent of the country’s harvest.”
As an organization, we care deeply for the communities in which we operate. Our products are hand crafted by a community of artisans in rural Cambodia. The artisans’ families often have members who work in the agriculture sector, such as on rice farms. We work with these communities to showcase hand crafted textiles to the global market. Doing so provides additional income to these talented artisans which can help with the fluctuating incomes from the agriculture sector.
As an organization centered around empowering communities, Collective Humanity is in the early stages of an environmental awareness initiative involving education on reducing waste, finding creative ways to reuse materials, and further understanding of the impact of waste on the local and global environment, for school age children in the artisan community. We are also committed to reducing our carbon footprint with our shipping overseas. We ship everything to the states in packaging made out of plants that are completely compostable. The majority of our product are dyed using a zero waste and environmentally friendly process, which you can learn more about here.
We encourage all of our Collective community members to do their part to help protect and honor our beautiful planet. There are several ways we can also be involved and take action to reduce the human impact on Climate Change and support the communities who face the more severe impacts of Climate Change. For all of us who are juggling busy schedules, the United Nations has developed the “Lazy Person’s Guide to Saving the World.” Below are three tips relevant to textiles:
· Air dry your laundry to reduce energy use and keep your textiles in great quality.
· Turn down the thermostat in winter and cozy up with blankets (ethically made is even better).
· Organize a No Impact Week. Details at un.org/sustainabledevelopment/be-the-change.
We love you all, & our great mother earth!