Is Your Handbag Eco-Friendly?

In the 1960’s a distant cousin of mine opened a business selling crocodile skins. He killed the crocs and built his own abattoir to remove the meat and the hide. The hides were sold to fashion designers who made them into expensive crocodile skin purses, belts, wallets, and even furniture coverings.

The Australian Saltwater Crocodile, prized for the flexibility of its leather thus provided significant income for the area of its habitat. The crocodile is a lethal creature, looks like a dinosaur, and regards humans as dinner. But the crocodile harvesting industry threatened their extinction, and this species was protected in 1971. Now populations have rebounded, as have crocodile attacks on humans and other animals.

Some people regard wearing animal skins and fur as immoral and unsustainable. But as with so many questions, it depends. Recently, I read a Washington Post article about harvesting lionfish, Burmese python, and carp, all invasive predators. Their skin is processed into clothing billed as sustainable. So far, the company owner says, he has killed 50,000 of these creatures and hopes to harvest tens of millions more. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/interactive/2024/sustainability-fashion-fabric-biodegradable/?

Is this business any more “sustainable” than the crocodile industry? Is it ultimately more sustainable than

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Lounging In The Ladies

Once upon a time, (i.e. in 2020) an Australian artist named Kirsha Kaechele designed an exhibit for the Tasmanian Museum of Old and New Art. It was called the Ladies Lounge. And —shock, horror—men were not allowed to enter. The title was ironic.

In my youth, the Ladies Lounge was the only part of pubs and bars where women were allowed to enter. The museum said “the artwork evokes in men the lived experience of women forbidden from entering certain spaces throughout history.”

This Ladies Lounge sported a couple of Picasso paintings on its walls.

Some men felt deprived. So a man sued the museum, citing gender discrimination. A judge sided with the complainant, calling the artwork ‘direct discrimination.’ Now the artist has decided to take the case to the Tasmanian Supreme Court. https://news.artnet.com/art-world/kirsha-kaechele-women-only-museum-exhibition-lawsuit-2456864

Pending the decision of the judges, Kaechele is pondering changes to the exhibit.

For example, she could bring in a toilet, and rename the Ladies Lounge the Ladies Room. The two Picassos would remain in the renamed space. Or, she could turn the Ladies Lounge into a church! On Sundays, men would be allowed into the space, she mused recently in an interview on the museum’s

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Purple Planets?

Our earth is called the “blue planet” because 71 percent of it is covered with water. But we also think of it as green. Scientists are searching for other Earth-like planets that harbor life. Those planets may not look blue because of oceans, or green because of chlorophyll-producing plants, but purple!

Our earth is called the “blue planet” because 71 percent of it is covered with water. But we also think of it as green. Scientists are searching for other Earth-like planets that harbor life. Those planets may not look blue because of oceans, or green because of chlorophyll-producing plants, but purple! USA Today reported this story on April 22nd. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2024/04/22/purple-planets-alien-life/73411651007/

The article points out that purple is the color of many bacteria. Researchers recently theorized that planets circling cooler red stars may enable bacteria that love low-energy red or infrared light. Like similar bacteria on Earth, they create energy through photosynthesis but do not produce oxygen.

The scientists reasoned: “Our sampling relates to an exoplanet surface dominated by an ecosystem enriched in purple bacteria (a similar phenomenon to algae blooms and watermelon snow, where a single group of microbes dominates a whole landscape on modern Earth).”

You

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