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“We Must Act Now”: This Stella McCartney Capsule Supports Greenpeace’s Efforts To Save The Amazon

In ‘Get Your Greens’, an ongoing series in line with Earth Day, British Vogue explores how the industry is advancing towards a greener future.

You may have seen the headlines about the fall in global carbon emissions attributed to the pandemic. But did you know that deforestation reached a 12-year high in 2020? The precious Amazon, the world’s biggest rainforest, is home to 40,000 different species (10 per cent of all of the planet’s species), 400 billion trees and is the world’s largest carbon sink [an environment that absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere]. It is a haven of biodiversity – the lungs of the Earth. And yet, nearly 20 per cent of it has been destroyed, with further irreversible damage imminent if the situation continues.

Tamu McPherson in Stella’s Greenpeace capsule, made to support the organisation’s Act For The Amazon campaign.

“I passionately believe we must act now,” Stella McCartney, campaigner and designer, tells British Vogue. To honour Earth Day on 22 April, she has unveiled a capsule of tees and sweatshirts – inspired by vintage activist designs – as part of her spring/summer 2021 collection. Stella called upon friends of the brand and people she admires, including Tamu McPherson, Jessie Andrews, Jayda G and Stéfi Celma, to photograph the pieces in different locations around the world.

The release is designed to raise awareness of Greenpeace’s Act for The Amazon campaign, which aims to put an end to harmful deforestation, industrial agriculture and meat production in the Amazon. (You can sign the petition here.)

Stella McCartney spring/summer 2021 Greenpeace capsule.

Serendipitously, Stella’s brand is marking its 20th anniversary as Greenpeace turns 50, so there couldn’t be a better time to unveil the collaboration. It’s the latest move from a designer who was banging the environmental responsibility drum well before the climate crisis began to be treated as a matter of urgency by the wider fashion industry. “I have such high hopes and aggressive goals for change that time passes me by. But, obviously, time is critical. There’s lots to be done,” she told Dana Thomas in British Vogue’s November 2020 issue.

The burning and clearing of forests for animal grazing or growing feed is a major contributing factor to deforestation. Data collected in 2020 showed an area as large as the UK had been burned in Brazil, leaving Indigenous people on the frontline as their homes, livelihoods and lives were threatened by the ongoing destruction.

Stéfi Celma. STEFI CELMA

Carbon dioxide emissions – a byproduct of meat production – further escalate the climate crisis, which is why Stella is also keen to promote the environmental benefits of a plant-based diet. Sustainable manufacturing practices, too, have been paramount since the beginning. Stella was one of the first designers to shun animal-sourced materials in favour of alternative fabrications when she started her label in 2001: she has never used leather, fur, feathers or exotic skins.

To amplify her message further, Stella has introduced a brand new #StellaTalks environmental speaker series. It will kick off with an in-store session at the Bond Street flagship, hosted by filmmaker Alice Aedy, who is also the co-founder of Earthrise – a media platform that aims to communicate the urgency of climate change. The talk will be live-streamed on Instagram at @StellaMcCartney and social channels at 7pm on 22 April.

Erika Boldrin. ERIKA BOLDRIN

Alice will join executive director of Amazon Watch, Leila Salazar-López, activist Nina Gualinga, and the activist-actress Nathalie Kelley. Ahead of this evening’s discussion, the trio lend their thoughts on the urgency of the Amazon disaster, below.

Alice Aedy, co-founder of Earthrise:

“It is a huge honour to partner with Stella McCartney, a pioneering brand who have championed sustainability long before it was a fashion industry buzzword. At Earthrise, we resonate with Stella’s values, making every action count in a bid to have the least impact on our environment.

“We are a world in crisis and for the Amazon, and the indigenous communities dedicating their lives to protecting it, the stakes have never been higher. The crises of today verify what indigenous cultures have always known: that everything is inextricably connected. Now we need to listen and learn from those who have lived in harmony with nature for generations. In protecting the Amazon and supporting indigenous peoples, we are fuelling our own protection. By backing them we back our future. Now more than ever, they need our support.”

Nina Gualinga, Ecuadorian environmental and indigenous rights activist:

“Defending the Amazon rainforest is about defending life itself. The Amazon is one of the most alive and biodiverse places on Earth, it is home to hundreds of Indigenous cultures, and we have been living in symbiosis with the natural world for many generations. Indigenous people carry ancient knowledge from the land and hold many answers to today’s climate crisis, biodiversity loss and destruction of the environment.”

Leila Salazar-López, executive director of Amazon Watch:

“Defending the Amazon is protecting the heart of Mother Earth. The Amazon is the largest, most biodiverse, tropical rainforest in the world, and the heart pump of our global weather system. Yet, its future hangs in the balance due to deforestation, fires, extraction and attacks on human rights. Now is the time to take urgent action in solidarity with Indigenous and forest peoples, women defenders and youth who are protecting and defending the Amazon for all of our collective future. We must stand together to uplift Indigenous and frontline solutions and hold governments, corporations and their financiers accountable for Amazon and climate destruction.”

Nathalie Kelley, actress-activist speaking on lifestyle changes to reduce deforestation:

“The Amazon Rainforest provides us with 70 per cent of the oxygen we breathe. It is imperative that we all support efforts to protect the rainforest, as our survival as a species depends on it. The Indigenous tribes who have called the Amazon home for millennia are our last lines of defence against the loggers and extractive industries who have only increased their destruction since the onset of Covid. Now more than ever, we must show our solidarity with our Indigenous brothers and sisters.”

The Stella McCartney Cares Foundation is making a donation to Greenpeace to support its campaign to stop deforestation in the Amazon


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