“Water is the same as the blood in our bodies; stagnation brings on death.” – David James Duncan, DamNation
When I watched the documentary DamNation a few weeks ago, I found myself trying to hide tears from my boyfriend who was sitting next to me on the couch, because I couldn’t really justify why anyone would get emotional about a movie on dams. But there is something undeniably powerful about water. And tears are water after all.
The film, if you haven’t seen it yet, is a moving and stunningly beautiful look at how dams in the US were built to create progress, but now they literally are holding us back and causing more harm than good. From Washington to Maine, the dams highlighted don’t live up to what they promised and have damaged important ecosystems and the inhabiting wildlife. They have taken away livelihoods and sacred Native American grounds. They have created artificial (and under-used) recreation and drowned priceless natural beauty in water.
So by the point in the film when you see a dam exploding open and the water gushing forth, it becomes very easy to get a little gushy yourself. The author David James Duncan so perfectly captured the feeling at that moment in the film of why this liberation feels so vital: “Water is the same as the blood in our bodies; stagnation brings on death.” The release of the water instantly feels like a return to life.
I have never been interested in politics in my life, and I am too embarrassed to tell you the last time I voted, though I can confirm that at present I am registered to vote. But this film was just one more little watery gurgle that now is not the time for inaction or passivity.
Last summer, I realized that at the root of my interest in sustainability is a desire to live a life of kindness and compassion, for other people, for other living things on the earth, and for nature itself. It just so happens I’ve found my outlet to contribute to this through my work and lifestyle centered on sustainability. It’s just made sense to me. And like a healthy river, the fresh flow of life is always expanding my understanding of this.
This year, I am so excited to see where THIS I WEAR is headed. We’ll be turning three over the summer, and I’ve already got a few months’ worth of post ideas lined up. I am taking my cue from water and going with the flow, perhaps headed into uncharted waters but always embracing the vitality and direction the flow offers.
In fashion, we are more connected to water than we think: it ensures the growth of the natural fibers we weave into fabric and allows the colors we love to adhere. It cleans our clothes when they are dirty, and often carries away bits and pieces of our clothes into the oceans.
I hope you’ll be inspired by this flow and the opportunity to bring new life where there has been stagnation, to move beyond just changing the way we shop and dress but reconsidering how we live. This is the year we get closer to a more sustainable vision for fashion, and it’s going to take everyone to get us there. Luckily, we are not alone.
“Here is the river flowing, so great and so fast. There will be those that are so afraid that they’ll try to hold onto the shore. They are being torn apart and will suffer greatly. Know that the river has its destination. Let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river and keep our heads above water. See who else is there with you.” – Hopi Proverb
Want more? Patagonia’s campaign connected to the film, “Crackdown on Deadbeat Dams”, is in its final push, so watch the film on Netflix and then head over to Change.org to sign the petition if you feel moved to act.