In my search for wool yarns to use in my collection, I'm hearing more often than I'd like that the green lines aren't doing so well, and that they may be discontinued in the near future.
Eco-friendly, green yarns bloomed as part of a trend, I fear. And it seems as though that trend is past it's peak. This makes me sad—really sad.
The processes that eco-friendly wool goes through take a little longer, and cost a little more, but they don't leave behind irreversible damage to the only Earth we'll ever have.
Organic wool means that the sheep were fed a healthy diet—one free of hormones, GMO's, antibiotics and other chemicals that promote disease and cancer. These sheep lived in a pesticide-free environment. They weren't dipped in insecticides, like many poor conventional sheep often are. They are kept on farms that do not exceed the natural capacity of the land on which the animals graze.
Over-all, the sheep that produce organic wool live a significantly happier and healthier life than the sheep producing conventional wool. But unfortunately, because organic wool yarns have a higher cost, many people are choosing the less-expensive conventional wool yarns rather than spending a little more for the organic. This is what makes me sad.
I no longer consider conventional wool an option. After learning all that I have about the processes and living conditions the sheep may go through, I've decided to stick to organic wools and to local farmers who I know treat their animals well, yet can't afford the organic certification. To me, it's not about the cost of the yarn. There's so much more to life than how many dollars we have.
Each time we buy something we support it—we are voting with our dollars to support the things we buy and supporting the processes they use to be created, packaged, shipped, etc… So, if I can't afford to buy organic wool then I won't buy wool until I can. It's not so important to me that I have wool that I'll put the lives of the animals who provide it at risk so I can have it.
When you're browsing online, or in the throws of pleasure in your local yarn store, in addition to the touch and smell sensations of the yarn, I invite you to also consider the origin of yarn before you buy it. Consider the process it has gone through to get into your hands. Who was involved? How far did it travel? How was it dyed? And what kind of impact all these things might have had upon our Earth? Then listen to your gut about whether or not it's important enough to have that yarn. Is it worth the happiness of the sheep so that you may knit or crochet this sweater in this particular yarn, for this cost?
There are many eco-friendly options available, and most yarn stores do have some eco-friendly yarns available. If they don't, please ask the stores to consider carrying some. It's important that we continue to encourage the production of earth friendly yarns. It's for our earth and our children.