Clothing and the environment part 3

Over the past two posts, we’ve been discussing the clothing industry and its devastating effects on our environment.

Here are some of the hard core facts I needed to share…Fast fashion causes 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions – that produces more than all international flights & shipping combined. That it takes 2,700 liters of water to make one cotton shirt – a person drinks about that in 2.5 years. Not to mention 190,000 tons of microplastic fibers are going into the oceans each year.  And this fact touches on the human aspect – up to 16% of pesticides are used in cotton farming every year – these chemicals degrade soil and pollute water while poisoning cotton pickers.

So why then do we feel the need to consume the number of clothes we do, and does it really make us happy, and more importantly how can we change our perspective?

I think a common and valid reason is the need to feel more confident even if we don’t really love what we’re buying. Friends, celebrities and high profile people can have a huge influence on what we go out and buy. Internet access and social media such as Instagram and Facebook expose fast fashion all day every day. We’re also in a time where sales are the norm no matter what time of the year it is. And don’t forget, just plain old boarderm – we get sick and tired of what we own in our closet! 

And according to experts a wardrobe choc-a-block-full of clothes isn’t making us happy either. ⅔ of us own more clothes than we need while half of us own new clothes that we’ve never worn. Half of us buy more clothes that we can actually afford, and the thrill of shopping lasts less than a day. 

The Fast fashion Effect

The drop in garment prices over the past 20 years doesn’t help either as it allows us to buy more and more clothes. This leaves us with five times more than what our grandparents had. It’s any wonder when garment quality declines year after year. And we notice as a result our clothes fade more quickly, look old before long and go out of shape easily. Then there’s the pressure of continually purchasing just to stay up-to-date. With countless collections coming through each season it’s almost impossible to keep up with the trends.

In reality, this continuous accumulation of cheap garments is only possible because of a constant reduction of production costs. This, in turn, has serious consequences on our planet, our health, and on garment workers’ lives.

More on clothing and the environment next post and what we can do better. 

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