The above is a url for an article about an ecological shoe company, po-zu. I was gratified to read that the company uses natural rubber for soling and stitches the soles on, as I do. My dream is that many of you will start your own “eco-shoe” company, maybe locally where you are, which solves other ecological problems caused by long-distance transportation. Yes, the natural rubber soling comes from afar, I’m waiting until someone figures out how to make soles from something local – right now that would be tomatoes and raspberries!
This po-zu shoe might get your creative juices flowing, it’s like a medieval moccasin but with “petals” that continue all around the foot, then are stitched in place. And the lace around the top assures that it will stay close against your foot. Do you have any scraps of leather around? What color of petals would you use?
Here are some disconcerting shoe facts from the Ecologist article:
● Sven estimates that nine out of 10 soles are petroleum-based because these are the cheapest to make.
● According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, at least 95 per cent of leather is tanned using chromium. Chromium (VI) is the most persistent toxin used by the leather industry; it is a known carcinogen, with documented adverse human health effects such as skin rashes, ulcers, kidney and liver damage, and lung cancer. Chromium can also make soil infertile and severely affect aquatic life (see also ‘Hell for leather’, page 20).
● Even synthetic leather regarded as ‘vegetarian’ is often made from petroleum-based substances.
● Toxic solvents used in adhesives endanger shoe makers, especially when there is poor ventilation. Benzene can cause headaches, vomiting and, in severe cases, respiratory and circulatory failure, and death. Exposure to this carcinogenic compound has been associated with leukaemia and health issues including aplastic anaemia .