Dear me. I just lost all four of my subscribers.
What's that? My mother's still reading? Well, she might not even welcome me home for Christmas after I post this.
According to an interview the Colbert Report on 7/30/07 --
-- and yes, I realize that all non-watchers of the Colbert Report instantly criticized the veracity of all this because Stephen Colbert is a comedian. However, his interviewees are not, and they typically have something of substance to get across, if they can make it through his wit. --
-- the cashmere trade is causing a great deal of environmental harm.
Here's the thing: cashmere has historically been very expensive, because cashmere goats have historically been very rare.
Now the Chinese have upped the number of cashmere goats to increase the supply. However, now vast areas of former pasture have suffered from overgrazing. In addition, goats have small, sharp hooves. Many goats with small, sharp hooves wandering around has killed the vegetation.
As a result, dust swarms have started that make their way across the Atlantic and negatively affect the western U.S., particularly the Pacific Northwest.
(Stephen Colbert simply suggested giving the goats some cashmere booties.)
I'm a natural skeptic, so I'll be double-checking this as soon as I come across my next ball of cashsoft on sale. (But it can't be that bad, can it?) However, the fact that I could ever afford a cashmere blend at all means that something has happened at the supply end to make cashmere more affordable.
Looks like we'll have to stick with other fibers, fellow knitters, at least until the supply becomes more limited again.