Today is Earth Day, a day to celebrate our environment and the impact we have on it. Many of us in North America do not feel the environmental impact of the choices we make and actions we take: our water is clean, our waste gets whisked away from our houses every week, and food is plentiful in our grocery stores. Millions of people around the world, however, lack access to safe drinking water and sanitation services, live in overcrowded and polluted urban centres, and experience food insecurity. These people know how severe the consequences of not taking care of our environment can be: destabilized economies, political instability, escalating public health issues and costs, lost productivity, damage to ecosystems, and a legacy of problems passed down to future generations.
As we all think about what we can do to minimize our impact on the environment - driving our cars less, using less heat or air-conditioning, recycling, turning off lights and electronics, or making responsible purchases – we want to share what some of our artisan partners in Asia and Africa are doing to build sustainable businesses.
Quazi Design is a new partner of Far & Wide Collective. Working out of Swaziland, Quazi Design is a cutting-edge craft company that transforms waste magazines into original accessories and home decor items, with the belief that the combination of craftsmanship and innovation is a powerful tool for development. For Quazi Designs, “the key to sustainability is good design that respects the environment and its producers.” Their products utilise 100% waste magazines sourced locally and each product is handmade at their workshop in Swaziland, Southern Africa. The result is so incredible you will never believe it’s paper!
House of Wandering Silk is a social enterprise based out of New Delhi, India, which was founded based on Gandhi’s apt saying that "there is no beauty in the finest cloth if it creates hunger and unhappiness". HOWS is committed to creating the finest and most beautiful products that bring economic and social empowerment to marginalised communities, especially women, while bringing joy to their customers. They use recycled, organic, and hand-made materials and “upcycle” them to create something beautiful. For example, vintage silk saris have been reused and repurposed as these gorgeous, one-of-a-kind kantha scarves.