Earthy Tweens: What is Sustainable fashion & how does it protect the environment?
You plant trees on World Environment Day and feel bad using plastics. At home, you try your best not to waste electricity, save water, prefer a CNG or an electric vehicle to petrol or a diesel car, use public transport as much, try to carpool whenever you can and limit the use of air-conditioners.
You want to instil these habits in your children. So you ensure their participation in competitions that promote sustainable behaviour while teaching them to save natural resources and make the earth a better place for future generations.
We are concerned about the environment and take small steps that can make a big difference. But of all things we care about and can easily change, a polluter very close to us and yet eludes us – our clothes.
Did you know that fashion has emerged as a threat to a sustainable future?
According to a study, the fashion industry is responsible for almost one-fifth of water pollution. It uses nearly 20,000 chemicals, many of which are carcinogenic and a threat to a sustainable future and health. The apparel industry is also an energy guzzler, and its impact on sustainability is more sweeping than usually perceived.
Therefore, the question naturally arises, what can we do about it?
Can we mould our fashion in a manner that satisfies our aspirations and is also sustainable?
The answer is easy.
Let's start by walking to our cupboards. Looking at our wardrobe, ask yourself, when was the last time I put on this dress?
The answer is likely to surprise you.
Therefore, the first thing that we as a consumer should do is control our impulsive purchases. It will not just save your money but also bring the satisfaction that you have taken yet another step towards creating a better environment.
A facet of sustainable fashion is that it saves natural resources and animal lives.
It is estimated that more than 90% of the natural resources that go into making clothes are new. The component of recycled clothing material in textile manufacture is minuscule and can be easily bumped up through policy initiatives.
Other than that, one can recycle clothes at the individual level also. Donating clothes in good condition to the needy is another step we can take. Clothes your children have overgrown can be passed on to the younger siblings. Repurposing clothes and avoiding overstuffing the wardrobe could be other measures.
A pertinent aspect that we overlook is fast fashion. Since it is cheap and doesn't pinch our pockets while being trendy, we hardly give much thought while ordering them. We ignore that manufacturers follow exploitative labour practices and use child labour. The working conditions are unhygienic, and working hours are long.
Therefore, we must think about the clothes that we proudly wear. Its impact on the environment is much more widespread than we think. Sustainable fashion shows a way out. By making sustainable fashion, an intrinsic part of our lifestyle, we are making the environment safe for future generations.