The more I dedicate myself to understand what I, as an individual, can do to combat the climate crisis, the more alarming the facts seem to get.
Did you know….The Ellen MacArthur Foundation put global textile industry emissions at 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent per-year? And that this is more than the emissions of all international flights and maritime shipping combined?
I would have never guessed that the textile industry, which covers everything from fast fashion clothing to furniture, was such a large contribution to the climate crisis. We often hear about the ethical issues in the textile industry, from low wages to child labor. We do not often hear about the environmental impacts that this type of consumerism has made—and will continue to make until textile and retail manufacturers begin to take responsibility for the negative impact they have on the environment.
Minimalism has been a slow journey for me. We’ve continued to buy less as a family, and I personally have brought fewer items into our home and our lives as a result of my minimalistic beliefs. That said, clothing has long been a difficult addiction to tame. Now that I have a better grasp as to how bad this situation is, I’m fired up to further dedicate my own actions to purchasing less. As a consumer and environmentalist, it’s time to practice what I preach, and begin to lead by example.
How can we as consumers combat this devastating environmental issue?
It starts with asking yourself the right questions before you make any purchase. Even if companies choose not to enforce more sustainable practices, we hold power as a consumer to choose where we shop and when.
Here are a few steps you can take to help the climate crisis:
1. Shop second hand! There are many reputable online retailers for shopping second hand, like Thred Up and Poshmark. You can find local consignment stores to purchase high quality second-hand clothing.
2. Wait a few days before you buy anything. This excitement of buying and wearing something new is often what triggers us to purchase in the first place. If you can wait a few days before you buy the shirt that just popped up on your Instagram feed, I bet the excitement will probably wear off, and you’ll no longer feel the need to buy.
3. Decide that you actually have enough in your wardrobe already, and whatever it is you’re eyeing…you don’t actually need.
4. Remove any clothing items from your wish list you’ll give to your families for birthday and Christmas gifts.
If you want to take it one step further…break-up with fast fashion.
Join me in my resolution for 2020 to purchase zero new clothing for an entire year! And, like me, you can start now to add an extra month of going purchase-free.
Any new clothing necessities will be sourced from second-hand stores. I pre-emptively suspect that anything I would purchase, is not a true need. I have more than I truly need already—and taking on this challenge will help me become more comfortable in that fact.
It’s going to be hard. But I believe that we, as consumers, hold the power to make a positive impact on our environment by standing up for what we believe in!
Who wants to join me? It’s time to break-up with fast fashion.