2020 has been a chaotic year; politics has become so polarised, the world has gone into lockdown, and our climate is descending into madness. But in reality, this could be our future if we don’t act now. 2020 was the year to save our planet and to hold the big industries accountable. 2020 was the year to redeem ourselves, but the pandemic has diverted our gaze to the immediate threats we’re facing. It’s time to make our consumption sustainable.
Environmental activists have been flooding the media with statements trying to draw the world’s attention to our planet’s cry for help. We are rapidly depleting our resources and most of us are living without a conscience. Factory farming and our obsession with single-use items is destroying the ecosystem and thus threatening our entire existence.
But it’s not all doom and gloom, we can change our future if we do something about it now. During lockdown, we saw how easily the planet can fix itself if we live more consciously. India saw blue skies and clean air for the first time in decades; Venice’s canals were so clean that shoals of fish and swans returned and there were countless instances of wildlife venturing into big cities for the first time. All that happened in just a few weeks. Imagine what we could do if we really put our mind to it.
However, we still have a lot of work to do to save our world. So let’s talk about how the fashion industry is changing our planet.
The impact of fashion on the planet
Did you know that the fashion industry is one of the biggest pollutants on the planet? It is the third most polluting industry and we are consuming fashion items at an alarming rate. Not only does it pollute our air, water and soil; it is one of the industries responsible for the most waste too. The annual carbon emissions for the industry is a whopping 3.3 billion tonnes, achieving a carbon footprint that is equal to the annual emissions for all 28 EU countries. So why are we ignoring that?
There are many zero waste swaps that make it into the mainstream media, like reusable water bottles and coffee mugs, which are a great way to begin combatting the crisis. But most people stop there. I get it, if you are a beginner when it comes to living sustainably, the next steps look really intimidating. Whether it’s reusable beauty products or sustainable menstrual collection options, they are very different to what you’re used to now. This is where fashion could change the world.
If there was ever a fashion community to join, sustainability should be at the top of your list. It has been created on a foundation of good morals and conscious thinking. You may think that sustainable fashion is expensive or not very widely accessible, but you’re wrong. It’s as easy as going to a shopping centre or your local high-street.
Types of sustainable clothes
There are two types of sustainable fashion you may be interested in; sustainably made fashion or second-hand clothing (thrifting). The clothing that is sustainably made is generally more expensive. But you have to remember that it is more expensive because it is usually made locally and the workers are not being exploited and the material used isn’t unsustainably sourced. So really, if the clothes you buy were ethically and sustainably sourced, you would be paying the same amount anyway.
The other option is purchasing your clothes second-hand. Thrifting is a growing trend in the fashion industry and more and more people are heading to their local charity shops or using sites to buy pre-owned clothes. They often sell colourful and bright clothes, a lot of which are vintage – another growing trend. These clothes are not only good for your pocket and your style, but they are good for the planet, too. You don’t have to worry about the effect it has on the planet because the only way it contributes to carbon emissions is when you are cleaning them. You are also preventing them from going to landfill, so that’s another bonus!
The community worth joining
This is your chance to contribute to positive change without making a big change in your life. The sustainability movement is gaining traction by the day and the community is an overwhelmingly kind and supportive one. There are endless channels on YouTube to help you on your journey and support you through the change. These vibrant creators show how you can be individual and express yourself in ways that are detrimental to the planet and discuss the struggles that you may have when facing new challenges. So, what are you waiting for?