First and foremost, I have to admit, I was a bit stumped when I got to writing this piece. I don’t know much about the material Piñatex and I know even less about making things out of it. So I went ahead and in conquer mode started to do my research. Turns out I have a lot more in common with this topic that I initially thought.
As a documentary filmmaker I have grown to understand that my storytelling and films are more than a career choice and a dream I have pursued throughout my thus far adult life. It is a path of purpose and it leads me to a direction in life that fulfils me. Parallel to this discovery, I was going through a shift in my personal development and realising my carbon footprint and my own impact on the environment around me. I began understanding and fearing the grand scale when I thought about everyone else’s.
I thought about my social responsibility and how I could influence my own actions and surrounding towards more sustainable practice. And in a very cliché, lightbulb ‘eureka’ moment, it occurred to me… ‘I would make films and tell Stories about Sustainability.’ This idea has since moved on to a more conceptualised social enterprise… but thats another story.
The point is, I became very interested in sustainable alternatives to the ‘everyday’ and luxury items and like most things in life, I was lead to Piñatex. And like me, this fabric product cares about the environment. Naturally and sustainably produced from leaves of the pineapple plant (which is usually chucked out), I was really pleased and filled with patriotic pride knowing that like me…Piñatex comes from pineapples from the Philippines.
My time spent in the Philippines, the country where half of me is from (the other half is Austrian), is actually what drives me to practice and inspire sustainability. I have seen immense natural beauty and landscape that makes me so proud that I can call a country, so wealthy with diverse natural resources, half of home. I tragically also saw great amounts of environmental abuse and misuse. Litter strewn across pristine sandy beaches, plastic bottles wedged between gorgeous rainbow reefs and rivers flowing with trash. A country so rich in resources and ironically with one of the highest poverty levels in the world. The Filipino problem is one yet to be figured out. Lack of education and awareness on the subject, social mind-set propelled toward consumption, lack of government commitment and funding to sustainable methods and even simple waste management.
Whatever it may be and however it can be solved, it is moving in a positive direction, even if it is a small step. If we all could do our bit, in our little part, imagine the effect on the grander scale of things. I, like them filipino pineapple fibres and like so many others joining the sustainable movement – doing their bit, can pat ourselves on the back. We can congratulate and carry on. Whether its a handbag made out of pineapple fibres, a beach clean up or a nationwide ban on single-use plastic, a step is still a step if its in the right direction.
Sources & Further Content
‘Philippines, my other half’ – From the film ‘Paddle to Purpose’ (AUT,CH,PH,PT) Dec 2018
Sustainable Film & Storytelling – Zemmawagsa @zemmawagsa