It's a seemingly mundane question that millions of people think about every morning, but it has a mountainous problem in it... And as we ask this question, the spinning wheels threaten the future of the planet.
As Carl Sagan wrote in his 1994 book Pale Blue Dot, " The Earth is the only world known so far to harbour life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.”
It's the only planet in the entire universe where we can now exist.
Although we have no other home, we have been living on our planet without considering the harm that we do while making our lives easier. We contribute to development which will cause damage to the environment and natural balance.
The most worrying and most worked-on topic of the 21st century is global warming and the climate crisis.
There are many reasons for global warming and ever increasing GHG: one of them which comes after fossil fuel is the fashion industry.
With the widespread use of addictive social media platforms, the ever-shared photos, the desire to be displayed in a different dress- consciously or unconsciously - in each frame has enabled the fast fashion industry to reach enormous heights – and it is still growing rapidly.
In addition, one can reach many websites where you can shop cheaply with your tablets and smartphones: providing an extremely enjoyable shopping experience in the comfort of your sitting room.
According to the researchers, our brains enjoy shopping cheaply and the pleasure we get out of this kind of shopping is most addictive. The idea is not to buy many, but to experience the joy of shopping - on many fast fashion sites you can buy a dress for £8-10 or a t-shirt for £3; you could easily imagine the dimensions of pleasure.
In some countries where people are paid very low wages, garments are produced by unethical methods, using man-made fabrics which are sold very cheaply on websites with high daily traffic.
These inexpensive clothes are not much cared for by their owners and they usually fill wardrobes then landfill sides.
It's becoming a big problem to find a place to bury tons of non-recyclable clothing.
To draw your attention to the seriousness of the situation, I would like to give you brief information from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).
The fashion industry uses 93 billion cubic meters of water — enough to meet the consumption needs of five million people.
- Approximately 20 % of wastewater worldwide comes from fabric dyeing and treatment.
- Of the total fibre input used for clothing, 87 % is incinerated or disposed of in a landfill.
- The fashion industry is responsible for 10 % of annual global carbon emissions, more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. At this pace, the fashion industry’s greenhouse gas emissions will surge more than 50 % by 2030.
- If demographic and lifestyle patterns continue as they are now, global consumption of apparel will rise from 62 million metric tons in 2019 to 102 million tons in 10 years.
What is sustainable fashion?
Sustainable fashion, according to leading experts in the subject is a zero-carbon model built on equality, social justice, animal welfare and ecological integrity. It defines every stage of the process from designing to production, marketing, and distribution.
Why is sustainable fashion so important?
Reduces CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions.
It saves water.
It provides a healthy and ethical working environment where fair wage policy is applied to industry employees.
Protects animal rights and lives.
What can we do as a consumer?
The first rule is “buy less” and make sure that you achieve different looks with it.
Always choose sustainable fashion brands; some brands still use man-made fibres. Make a habit of reading the label inside of the garment which tells you everything you need to know.
Choose natural and recyclable fabrics; when you buy a garment, do a quality check and make sure it will stand the test of time.
Instead of throwing away your clothes, give them to friends, family members or donate to charities. If you can sew, make small changes to create something different.
Finally, washing also matters. When you wash clothes use eco programs or low temperatures and fill your machine full. Don’t ignore the environmental impact of the water and energy.
Scientists are repeatedly saying that reducing the global warming by 1.5C we must decrease greenhouse gases and CO2 to 45% by 2030 and 0% by 2050.
We must be aware of our responsibility to leave a beautiful world for future generations.
I would like end my writing with a quote that I love: “We don’t have to engage in a grand, heroic action to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.” Howard Zinn