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Last Updated on April 18, 2024

One of the most sustainable things you can do is just use what you have. That pertains to clothing items too: Simply shopping your closet first can make a big impact.

Why? Well, did you know there are enough clothes on the planet right now to dress the next six generations of humanity?

What is Visible Mending? +5 Simple Techniques

According to the EPA 11.3 million tons of textiles ended up in 2018 alone – can you imagine what that number looks like now with the rise of places like Shein, Skims and Temu?

One way we can rebel against this is by caring for the clothing items we already have. This can look like many things (getting that nice blouse dry cleaned; removing stains when you see them; following the laundering instructions to the T) but one fun way to do this is through visible mending.

Visible mending is catching on in popularity, and rightfully so. It adds personality to your clothes, all while repairing and fixing them.

Visible mending can be anything from sewing a patch on your jeans to embroidering a flower over a tear on your shirt. Aka, mending you can see.

By practicing visible mending, you’ll keep the clothes you already own around you longer, which reduces waste. It’s a great way to add some individuality to a piece, or spruce up a thrift find that might need some extra love.

Here’s everything you need to know about visible mending and how to do it yourself.

What is Visible Mending? +5 Simple Techniques

what is visual mending?

Visible mending is a form of repair, usually on textile items like clothing or bedsheets, that is deliberately left visible (compared to invisible mending). 

The goals of this practice are to repair the item, but also to enhance its beauty. Through this celebration of mending, you are allowed to express your creativity and add character to a piece.

You can visibly mend:

  • Shirts and blouses
  • Jeans and shorts
  • Socks and undergarments
  • Dresses and suits
  • Bedsheets and linens

The possibilities are endless.

Some ideas for attractive visible mends include embroidering flowers, butterflies, fruits, vegetables, geometric shapes, or abstract designs. It all depends on your skill level, technique, and how much material and space you have to work with. 

What is Visible Mending? +5 Simple Techniques

what is the best visible mending stitch?

The best visible mending stitch varies based on what you need it to do – and personal preference.

However, a blanket stitch is generally considered a great embroidery stitch to know. You can use it for sewing on elbow patches, decoration, edges, or for keeping holes but making them secure.

what is the Japanese art of visible mending?

Sashiko is the Japanese art of visible mending. The idea behind it is repairing fabric with geometrical patterns – this is said to give it strength and beauty.

It’s a bit similar to the kintsugi technique (also Japanese) of repairing objects with gold.

There’s also Boro mending, which was done more out of necessity for poor families. We’ll discuss both techniques further below.

how do you visibly mend a hole?

You can visibly mend a hole in many ways, but the easiest is probably visible darning. You can use a color of thread that doesn’t match the fabric you’re repairing, so it stands out. We’ll discuss this technique more in-depth below.

RELATED: How to Sew a Button + 5 Other Clothing Fixes

What is Visible Mending? +5 Simple Techniques

what are the different types of visible mending?

Glad you asked! There are several different types of visible mending, but below I have listed the most common and popular forms, plus linked tutorials on how to do them.

1. embroidery

Perhaps the most common method of visible mending, embroidery is used to decoratively cover up a hole or tear with stitches and patterns.

There are so many embroidery stitches, but a few of the most popular are:

  • Backstitch
  • Running stitch
  • Straight stitch
  • French knot
  • Stem stitch
  • Satin stitch

You can use colorful threads to create a beautiful pattern or display (like a flower or butterfly) over a tear or hole. Here’s a wonderful tutorial that teaches you how to embroider over a hole or stain

What is Visible Mending? +5 Simple Techniques

2. visible darning

Visible darning is when you repair holes or worn areas with decorative, colorful stitching. You’ve probably heard of “darning a sock” before – this specific technique uses a needle and thread alone.

A simple darning stitch by hand usually means you use a running stitch along the grain of the fabric and stitch a ‘weaving’ style technique to fill in the gaps.

For visual assistance, be sure to check out this YouTube video that shows how to darn a sock by hand. To make it “visible” all you need to do is use thread that doesn’t match the color of the sock – so it pops out.

You can also use visible darning on sweaters. Here’s a great tutorial on fixing holes in sweaters (and socks) using visible darning.

3. patches

Patches are a fun way to dress up a jacket or bag – and they can also be used to cover a hole or rip. There are so many different ones to choose from, and many can be glued or ironed on.

For iron-on patches you will need a pattern, two pieces of fabric, and two pieces of a paper-backed fusible web.

There’s also felt patches you can make yourself. This patch style requires minimal edge finishing because the felt won’t fray like other fabrics. It’s also sewn in place, so you know that your stitching won’t go anywhere.

To make felt patches, all you need is the felt to embroider on, a marking method, and thread to attach it with.

Last but not least, there’s self adhesive patches that you can attach like a sticker. To make these you will need the fabric you are stitching on, a piece of heavy stabilizer, and permanent peel-and-stick fabric adhesive.

For full step-by-step instructions on how to make all these patches, and more, check out this tutorial.

What is Visible Mending? +5 Simple Techniques

4. sashiko

Sashiko is a Japanese embroidery technique that uses only running stitches to create patterns, typically geometric in design. You can use it to mend and reinforce fabric.

In visible mending, sashiko can be used to create stunning designs over rips, holes and worn clothes. It’s most popularly used on denim, like denim jackets and jeans.

Here’s a full tutorial on how to mend jeans using sashiko methods.

5. boro

Boro mending is another Japanese technique that involves patching and stitching together worn-out fabrics, creating intricate layers.

This form of mending was born out of necessity in Medieval Japan. Boro is the result of repetitive Sashiko stitching to make clothes last longer.

Cotton was not common in Japan until well into the twentieth century, so when a kimono or sleeping futon cover started to wear thin, poor families would patch it with a small piece of scrap fabric using Sashiko stitching.

This would be done repetitively, to the point the common observer would be unable to recognize where the original fabric began.

This ensured the clothing would be passed from generation to generation. Ironically, what was once done just to get by is now being honored as a style statement.

Here is a helpful tutorial on Boro inspired visible mending.

So, will you be giving visible mending a try? Which method is your favorite? Let me know in the comments! 

The post What is Visible Mending? +5 Simple Techniques appeared first on Going Zero Waste.

What is Visible Mending? +5 Simple Techniques

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The Next Great Human Migration: Abrahm Lustgarten on America’s Future Climate

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A 2022 report from the International Panel on Climate Change observed that more than 3.3 billion people around the world are “highly vulnerable to climate change.” And more than one billion people could be exposed to “coastal-specific climate hazards by 2050.”

Here in the U.S., the Census Bureau calculated that 3.2 million adults were displaced or evacuated due to natural disasters of all kinds in 2022. And while climate migration is not easily measurable, as there are multiple factors involved, it is no doubt happening.

Investigative reporter at Politico Abrahm Lustgarten delved into the topic of U.S. climate migration in his new book, On The Move: The Overheating Earth and the Uprooting of America. Seeking to understand what climate migration might look like over the next few decades, Lustgarten used data and reporting from places across the country such as New York City, California, Arizona, Chicago, Texas and the Gulf Coast, the Isle de Jean Charles in Louisiana, and from abroad in places like Guatemala and Africa.

Dense with facts and using modeling from Rhodium Group, a climate and economics research provider, to try and predict future migration patterns in the U.S., Lustgarten concludes that climate change migration depends on what happens next in the world of carbon reduction, politics and several other factors, resulting in a book analyzing “a portrait of American society transformed.” 

Here are excerpts from a recent interview with Lustgarten.

Abrahm Lustagarten author photo by Seth Smoot

What are the most pressing short-term environmental threats that you write about?

Wildfires, coastal flooding, increasing heat, drought and water scarcity. I also collected some associated data on diminishing crop yields, change in wet bulb temperatures across the country and the economic implications of all of those things.

How was 2020 the tipping point, as you called it?

Instead of it being a sort of a scary far off in-the-distant-future idea, 2020 was a year where we were reading about smoke or hurricanes or flooding every day. Just a moment where the country seemed to grasp what we’re coping with.

What did your reporting tell you about who was going where?

The broad thesis of the book is that we will see a future projection of a movement of population from the South and the most extreme areas affected by both heat and sea level rise towards the North, which according to the specific risks that I mapped is the least affected part of the United States. We see current migration that’s sort of unmeasurable coming out of those high-risk areas already. People leaving Florida, people leaving the Gulf Coast, people leaving wildfires in California, anecdotally leaving heat in the Southwest, but it’s very difficult to measure.

Some of the things you write about are the economics of this migration. Tell me generally how disruptive it’ll be.

People move in response to the climate in slow steps and they go the shortest distance possible. It’s more likely that the rural places around them in those states kind of empty out over time because people will seek the support of those urban environments, that urban tax base, the facilities, the school systems, all of the services that are available. I could imagine an American Southwestern Texas that becomes islands of large, relatively wealthy cities, even in a sea of a much emptier rural expanse.

The second way to answer that question is, what’s the risk for places that are in decline? And this is a pessimistic scenario that universally all of the economists that I spoke with warn about, which is just what happens to a community that loses population for any reason. And it’s the same as what you see in the Rust Belt cities after the 1970s, what you see in post-boom coal towns and things like that. As some people leave, the businesses and the business community shrinks, storefronts might disappear, you have less revenue for the town, city, etc. That government can do less, which self-perpetuates this cycle, right? Your potholes don’t get repaved, and your schools don’t get fresh funding. More parents look at those schools and say, well, this sucks. And it is really hot here.

Do you think these kinds of economic impacts in certain areas might make people fully aware of the reality of climate breakdown?

I really think climate migration will happen in the United States, not because people say it’s too damn hot and I want to leave, or we think it’s going to flood and we’re going to move, but when it starts to affect people’s personal economic resilience. It ultimately will be economic-driven migration, which is catalyzed by climate change. It’s inevitable that when those kinds of things happen in culturally conservative parts of southern Louisiana or east Texas, that those people are not going to be hitting the streets complaining about climate change, but they’re going to be saying, “I can’t insure my home any longer. I can’t make a living any longer. Farming just doesn’t work anymore, and we’ve got to move someplace where we can take care of our families and make ends meet.” And a great example of that, of course, is the insurance blowback in Florida.

I wanted to ask you about wealthy people. Do wealthy people have a leg up in this whole situation? There’s been some land grabs up in Wyoming a little bit, and I think in Montana. Do you see that being magnified?

Wealthy people have an added layer of protection for all the obvious reasons. Interestingly, it’s actually kind of upper middle-class folks that are most likely to move, but wealthy people who might be the most protected because they have either the means to own properties in multiple places at once, or to move more spontaneously when they want to. There’s been a movement towards snatching up land in Wyoming or Montana, you know, or even in the Great Lakes — the data is very hard to pin with certainty to climate migration, but it appears to be part of the same kind of trend. Bill Gates is now the largest landholder in the United States, and he’s been buying up thousands of acres in northern Michigan, for example.

Might there be a new era of climate-migration boom towns, like the gold rush?

A lot of that upper Midwest and, you know, along the Canadian border, is rural and quite remote now. What if those cities grew dramatically and became the transportation corridor between the thriving metropolis Pacific Northwest and the Great Lakes region? That’s a far-fetched scenario, but one that’s possible. A place like Fargo — what the data says about Fargo is that its winters will be shorter and not as cold, and its summer seasons will be longer. And the data suggests that the crop yields in Fargo will likely increase while they decrease in other parts of the country. Fargo is the type of place that could see a relative improvement in its environment, a milder climate with probably increasing opportunity for agricultural activity. Which could lead to some kind of boom.

What might the abandoned places be like? Will any human ingenuity be able to make those places livable? Will it just be the very poor who will live there and can’t escape to go anywhere else? 

It’s a dark question and a dark image, right? There’s a chapter in the book that looks as an example of this to a place called Ordway, Colorado. It’s a farming community that was very prosperous, but as a result of losing its water over the past 20 years or so has experienced a spiral decline. The people left and the schools shrunk in size. It’s an interesting sort of test case that shows us what the future might look like in other places that you’re asking about. There are people that love living there and will remain there and find their homes and their land beautiful. But, you know, as a community, it’s hard to say that it’s thriving. The people that I talked to there feel very sad about what they’ve lost and not particularly hopeful about the future of their community.

In places like Africa or Central America, in your reporting have you seen that a lot of people there are leaving because of climate migration?

My top line conclusion is I think we’re entering a new era of permanent, very high levels of global climate change migration all around the world. One very influential piece of research has looked at the human habitability niche around the world. And it models that about a third to one half of humanity will be displaced from this kind of ideal habitat in within the next 40 years. We’re talking about two to three billion people on the planet as potential migrants.

I spoke with migrants in El Salvador who, you know, wanted to leave because they’re experiencing gang threats in the city of El Salvador, but wanted to go home to their hometown in the mountains, but couldn’t because climate change had wiped out the coffee crop there. Climate change was rarely the primary driver but was always a present factor in these people’s decisions.

The post The Next Great Human Migration: Abrahm Lustgarten on America’s Future Climate appeared first on EcoWatch.

https://www.ecowatch.com/lustgarten-interview-ecowatch-climate-migration.html

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Elephants Greet Each Other With ‘Elaborate’ Combinations of Vocal Cues and Gestures, Study Finds

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Elephants are highly intelligent and social, forming close family groups and showing understanding, cooperation and empathy in their relationships.

Now, an international team of animal behaviorists have confirmed that elephants greet each other with a complex array of gestures and vocal cues, depending on the individuals and circumstances.

“Elephants live in multi-level societies where individuals regularly separate and reunite. Upon reunion, elephants often engage in elaborate greeting rituals, where they use vocalisations and body acts produced with different body parts and of various sensory modalities (e.g., audible, tactile),” the study said.

The researchers — from the Universities of Vienna, Portsmouth and St. Andrews — observed greetings between nine semi-captive African elephants on Zimbabwe’s Jafuta Reserve for a month in 2021, reported Phys.org.

“Greeting is a tricky context because it’s difficult to understand what the gestures mean. They’re more akin to hugs, kisses on the cheek, or hand shakes that we use when we greet each other. But our next steps are to explore gestures in wild elephants in more explicit contexts that can help us understand what they mean,” Vesta Eleuteri, lead author of the study and a PhD student at University of Vienna’s Department of Behavioral and Cognitive Biology, told EcoWatch in an email.

Illustrations of frequent body act types used by semi-captive African savannah elephants during greeting. Drawn by Megan Pacifici

Previous research revealed that elephants’ extreme intelligence is comparable to that of dolphins and chimpanzees. Their matriarchal social structures are also complex.

“Elephants show advanced intelligence to the extent of non-human apes. They are well known for their long-term memory, remembering paths to resources located km away for years. They have sophisticated discrimination skills — for example, they can distinguish humans of different ethnicities based on how they speak or smell. And elephants are known for their empathetic behaviour towards each other, often helping individuals in need. Elephants live in a multi-level society where individuals form different types and degrees of relationship with one another,” Eleuteri told EcoWatch.

Elephants pay attention to details of perception, such as whether others are looking their way. Most were more apt to make gestures if another elephant was watching, and they used loud ear-flapping to get their attention if they weren’t.

“Elephants were more likely to use visual gestures (such as ear-spreading, trunk-reaching, or trunk-swinging) when their partner was watching,” Eleuteri said, according to a press release from University of St. Andrews, “but used acoustic gestures (such as ear-flapping) or touched their partner when not being watched. This suggests they are able to take into account the other elephant’s visual attention when gesturing.”

Eleuteri said these targeted behaviors indicated they were tailored to their specific audience.

“In terms of their cognition, finding that elephants target gestures to their audience depending on whether the audience is looking at them, our study suggests that they might be able to take into account the visual perspective of others,” Eleuteri told EcoWatch.

The researchers found that it was not just female elephants who displayed evidence of close social bonds.

“In terms of their sociality, what was interesting to find is that our male elephants used the same excited and elaborate greeting behaviour used by closely bonded female elephants in the wild. This may be because our semi-captive elephants live in a tight social group, where individuals [are] likely more socially bonded compared to male elephants in the wild, who tend to be more solitary or form loose associations. This means that, like in humans, social relationships change the way elephants greet,” Eleuteri said.

The researchers discovered that elephants find greeting each other important. When two elephants meet who haven’t seen one another in a while, they both engage in behavior that is evidently meaningful. They may swing their trunks or use them to touch each other or flap and spread their ears. Vocalizations tended to be different types of rumbles.

“When we meet a long-term friend we may hug them strongly or kiss them, while when we meet a stranger we usually shake hands. Elephants do the same. In general, as previous research has observed chimpanzees and other apes altering their visual and tactile gestures according to whether they are being looked at and combining vocalisations and gestures in specific ways, these findings are important because they suggest that these communicative abilities have evolved independently in distantly related (and very physically different!) species sharing complex societies and advanced intelligence,” Eleuteri told EcoWatch.

In the new study, the researchers focused on greetings to find out whether elephants have additional ways to communicate that had not been previously observed.

“Elephants are known to have a rich repertoire of acoustic, visual, tactile, and chemical signals in their communication, so I was already pretty convinced about the complexity of elephant communication. However, the majority of studies on elephant communication concern their acoustic or chemical/olfactory communication. This may be because elephants are known to extensively heavily rely on hearing, while there is the common belief that elephants don’t rely much on vision,” Eleuteri said.

Eleuteri said earlier studies had shown that elephants do indeed use all of their senses when communicating, including sight and touch.

“Previous researchers like Dr. Joyce Poole had reported elephants using many conspicuous visual or tactile body actions in a variety of different social contexts, strongly suggesting that they do indeed rely a lot on vision or touch for social purposes. So it was nice to find that visual and tactile gestures are an important part of their greetings, that they use them by taking into account their greeting partner’s visual attention, and combine these gestures with calls in specific ways and orders. Elephants were also previously known to combine calls together in specific ways. The ability to combine signals in specific ways and orders is a necessary pre-requisite of syntax, so it might well be that elephants have some form of syntactic abilities in their communication, a realm for future studies!” Eleuteri added.

In the field, the research team observed and recorded 1,014 physical actions of elephants greeting each other, along with 268 vocalizations.

“There were thorough descriptions of wild elephants greeting with many different calls and body actions in an apparently chaotic manner, thus finding that they actually combine calls and body actions in specific ways and with some ordered structure was novel,” Eleuteri told EcoWatch. “We also found that elephants greet by appropriately targeting visual, acoustic, and tactile gestures at their audience depending on the audience´s state of visual attention (for example, if we’re in a noisy bar and I want to tell you ‘let’s leave’ and you are looking at me, I might use a visual gesture, but if you are not I might touch you). The ability to target visual gestures was previously shown from captive elephants towards a human. So finding this capacity between elephants, although quite expected for people who know elephants, was also novel.”

Elephants provide many ecosystem services and are essential to the habitats in which they live.

“Elephants are not just clever giants — they are a keynote species playing a crucial role in the environment they live in. They are known as the gardeners and architects of their habitats due to their massive ecological impact,” Eleuteri said.

Elephants face many threats that have caused their numbers to dwindle in the past century.

“It is estimated that, at the turn of the 20th century, 10 million African elephants roamed the African continent. Today, around 400 thousand elephants are left in Africa,” Eleuteri told EcoWatch. “Two of the major threats for wild elephants are poaching for ivory and habitat loss, the reduction of available space for elephants due to human expansion, which leads elephants to live in fragmented landscapes and engage in negative interactions with local communities.”

Despite their threatened status, Eleuteri remains hopeful for the future of these highly intelligent, empathetic and social guardians of the forest.

“Despite the dire situation, I still have hope that elephants will manage to survive and there are amazing people working hard for elephants and their future. There are a few places, like Botswana or Zimbabwe, where today their number is stable and, if left in peace, elephants have a nice growth rate,” Eleuteri said. “I think what people can do is avoid buying ivory to help decrease the interest in it and donate to elephant conservation organisations. More adventurous people can maybe join some volunteering programs to help them first-hand about (and experience how amazing they are!). In general, I think it’s important to raise awareness on how special, ecologically important, and how threatened elephants are to reach a wider group of people who can help them directly or indirectly.”

The study, “Multimodal communication and audience directedness in the greeting behaviour of semi-captive African savannah elephants,” was published in the journal Communications Biology.

The post Elephants Greet Each Other With ‘Elaborate’ Combinations of Vocal Cues and Gestures, Study Finds appeared first on EcoWatch.

https://www.ecowatch.com/elephants-greetings-vocal-cues-gestures.html

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Migrating Freshwater Fish Populations Have Declined 81% Since 1970, Report Finds

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Ahead of World Fish Migration Day on May 25, a new Living Planet Index report has revealed major declines in migratory freshwater fish since 1970. According to the findings, migrating freshwater fish populations have declined 81% from 1970 to 2020.

The Living Planet Index Migratory Freshwater Fishes report focused on data for migrating freshwater fish, or fish that move from one habitat to another for breeding and non-breeding in a seasonal or cyclical pattern. The report was a collaboration among the World Fish Migration Foundation, Zoological Society of London (ZSL), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Wetlands International and World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

On average, the index of 1,864 monitored populations of 284 migratory freshwater fish species from around the world revealed an 81% decline since 1970, leading to an average 3.3% decline per year. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the report noted an average decline of 91%, and Europe’s migratory freshwater fish have declined by about 75%.

“The catastrophic decline in migratory fish populations is a deafening wake-up call for the world. We must act now to save these keystone species and their rivers,” Herman Wanningen, founder of the World Fish Migration Foundation, said in a press release. “Migratory fish are central to the cultures of many Indigenous Peoples, nourish millions of people across the globe, and sustain a vast web of species and ecosystems. We cannot continue to let them slip silently away.”

Although the report found smaller declines in North America, about 35%, and Asia-Oceania, about 28%, the authors explained they had deficient data for these areas, and they did not have enough data to produce an average for migratory freshwater fish in Africa.

Many factors have contributed to the declining populations. According to the report, habitat degradation, loss and alterations, such as building dams in rivers or clearing wetlands for agriculture, made up about half of threats to the fish. Overexploitation made up nearly one-third of the threats.

But in the past 30 years, other threats are becoming more prominent, such as the warming waters and other effects of climate change and increasing pollution in freshwater areas.

Aside from being important parts of their ecosystems, freshwater fish are also an important food source globally, particularly for areas that may face food scarcity.

“In the face of declining migratory freshwater fish populations, urgent collective action is imperative,” Michele Thieme, deputy director of freshwater at WWF-US, said in a statement. “Prioritizing river protection, restoration, and connectivity is key to safeguarding these species, which provide food and livelihoods for millions of people around the world.”

Not all species have experienced declines, though, and the report highlighted that managed habitats and fisheries helped minimize declines for some populations. Management activities including fishing restrictions, no-take zones and bycatch reductions helped reduce declining populations of freshwater fish. Some populations also experienced increasing numbers.

In addition to improved management and monitoring, the report authors suggested removing of barriers such as dams, preserving and restoring rivers, promoting public and political engagement on freshwater fish conservation and increasing international collaboration efforts to save migratory freshwater fish.

Migrating Clanwilliam sandfish in South Africa. Jeremy Shelton / World Wildlife Fund

The post Migrating Freshwater Fish Populations Have Declined 81% Since 1970, Report Finds appeared first on EcoWatch.

https://www.ecowatch.com/migrating-freshwater-fish-populations-decline.html

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