Stinging nettle underpants

In: Uncategorized

21 Aug 2009

Evidently pants made of stinging nettles are the Next Big Thing for greens. The idea is being promoted by Jean-Paul Flintoff, a Sunday Times contributor and author of Through the Eye of a Needle: The true story of a man who went searching for meaning and ended up making his Y-fronts, in an item in the latest Ecologist.

He makes the point that if people are expected to grow their own food then it is equally logical (or ludicrous I would say) to expect them to make their own clothes. Flintoff goes on to suggest that clothes could be made from fibres obtained from the stems of stinging nettles. Such an approach was followed by the Germans in the First World War – since the British empire cut them off from cotton supplies – and requires no pesticides or fertiliser.

I have nothing against individuals who grow their own food or make their own clothes as a hobby. But to expect most people to supply their own food and clothes this way would clearly mean a dramatic reduction in their standard of living. It would be enormously time consuming and inefficient.

Flintoff does say it should not be made compulsory but he certainly suggests there is a green virtue in people making their own clothing. I also imagine the amount of time the average person would take to make their pants out of stinging nettles – harvesting the nettles, drying them, extracting the fibre, spinning the yard, making the fabric, designing the pattern, dyeing the material, cutting the material and stitching it all together – must be enormous.

Stinging nettle underpants would be a painful waste of time.