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Rapanui is an Eco-Fashion company from the Isle of Wight, that makes Organic, Ethical clothing using Renewable Energy with award-winning traceability. Rapanui is about making eco-fashion cool.

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Aral Sea Disaster

Formerly one of the four largest lakes in the world, the Aral Sea has been steadily shrinking since the 1960s after the rivers that fed it were diverted by Soviet Union irrigation projects – specifically to feed a cotton industry. By 2007 it had declined to 10% of its original size.

Aral Sea Disaster

The Aral Sea split into four lakes – the North Aral Sea, the eastern and western basins of the once far larger South Aral Sea and one smaller lake between North and South Aral Sea. By 2009, the south-eastern lake had disappeared and the south-western lake retreated to a thin strip at the extreme west of the former southern sea. The maximum depth of the North Aral Sea is 42 m (138 ft) (as of 2008).

The region's once prosperous fishing industry has been essentially destroyed, bringing unemployment and economic hardship. The Aral Sea region is also heavily polluted, with consequent serious public health problems. The retreat of the sea has reportedly also caused local climate change, with summers becoming hotter and drier, and winters colder and longer.

The Aral Sea went from being one of Earth's four biggest lakes
to a desert in 10 years. It was a man-made change.

It can take more than 20,000 litres of water to produce 1kg of cotton, equivalent to a single T-shirt and pair of jeans. That’s enough to fill a hundred bath tubs or half a small swimming pool. All of it used up and evaporated. Typically this water is found by diverting rivers into the fields to irrigate the crop. The result, as the Aral Sea disaster shows, can be devastating to people, the environment and ecosystems downstream.

The draining of the Aral Sea is a crisis so extreme that the United Nations described it as one of the “most staggering disasters of the 20th century”.

This should be a demonstration to us – humankind is more than capable of changing the planet beyond repair. It’s important that we make informed choices in our buying habits and shopping with sustainability in mind.

It's important that suppliers, manufacturers, and governments work towards this too, but unfortunately market demand often drives through decisions - as demonstrated by the Aral Sea disaster. Consumers can help by demanding sustainability.

What we’ve done about it.

At Rapanui, our Organic cotton is grown in a monsoon valley meaning we get over 95% of the water needed to irrigate our cotton from natural rainfall. We also have introduced low-input eco textiles, such as bamboo viscouse, hemp and Eucalyptus Tencel, which use less water.

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