Tag Archives: Ethical

how to live more sustainably

“If it can’t be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled, or composted, then it should be restricted, designed or removed from production”

~ Pete Seeger

Sustainable living is something which needs to be adopted  now more than ever. It can be defined as a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual’s or society’s use of the Earth’s natural resources, and one’s personal resources. Our current methods of living are far from sustainable. Our planet is slowly dying; we’re the ones killing it. It has been talked about a lot, but not always taken into practice . If we are to preserve this Earth for the future generations, we need to switch up our lifestyles and make them more eco-friendly. Here are a few ways to achieve it:

  • Go Vegan/Vegetarian 

The Meat and dairy industry are one of the greatest contributors to climate change. If you want to reduce your carbon emissions, then try going vegetarian or vegan. Research has shown that a vegan diet can promote weight loss and reduce your risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels. Even if you cannot completely give up meat and dairy, then try reducing your intake of them. Remember, it is better if a 1000 people practice sustainability imperfectly, than if 3 people do it perfectly.

  • Be mindful of your purchases

If you can afford it, then choose to buy fair trade, organic and non plastic goods. Fair trade certified products promote environmentally friendly production method, and safe working conditions for the works for goods like coffee or chocolate. Also, we all know the adverse effects of plastics, and how beneficial it is to give up plastic. Similarly, watch what materials comprise the clothes you purchase. Or, you can try thrifting and fixing up old clothes. So, making better purchasing choices can promote a sustainable lifestyle. (However, I understand that not everyone can afford to buy such products. So don’t worry about it, there are still many ways you can lead a sustainable life.)

  • Go for reusable options

You might not realise it, but the little plastic bags, straws and water bottles you purchase really add up. In the long run, it is crucial to give up plastic, a material which has damaged much of our oceans. Carrying around cloth bags, having a glass or metal straw, and keeping a reusable water bottle is not only much better for the environment, but also a much cheaper option as it saves you the hassle of having to buy these products whenever you need them.

  • Switch up your modes of transportation 

Greenhouse gas emissions emitted from the millions of vehicles driven around each day, and the flights which fly everyday,  are of no help to the environment. Substituting your car ride for a walk or cycling drastically reduces your carbon footprint, and keeps you in great health. Try limiting the number of flights you take in a year, or even replacing them with a train ride can prove to be far more sustainable.

Sustainability is not just limited to these practices. Don’t feel disheartened if you can’t always buy ethical produce, or completely quit meat and dairy. Planting trees, replacing our light bulbs, composting etc. can all be done to promote a greener way of living. The smallest of changes can sometimes have the largest of impacts 

The despicable face of fast fashion

In the present times, everything is fast paced, and what might be trendy one day, is kicked  to the curb the other. The most common example of this is fashion, specifically fast-fashion. Fast-fashion is used to describe cheap, trendy clothing, which makes the journey from the runway, to your closet and then to the garbage dump, in the blink of an eye. These include brands like, H&M, Forever 21, ASOS, ZARA etc. They  pump out new designs regularly to stay relevant amongst the younger generations, and you cannot escape it. Chances are, the clothes you’re wearing right now are from fast-fashion brands.

Now why is this problematic? By putting out new clothes every month or so, and using extremely clever marketing tactics, they’ve convinced the average consumer that their clothes are “outdated” and they need to keep purchasing from them to stay in trend, thereby maximising their profits every single time. But that isn’t even the worst part. To quench their never ending thirst for money, these brands utilise sweatshops for production of their clothing. A sweatshop is a factory where workers are severely underpaid, and the working conditions are inhumane, ranging from excruciatingly long working hours, to unsafe and unhygienic work environments. Sweatshops are usually placed in third world countries like Bangladesh, Cambodia etc. where worker’s rights are minimal, where rich brands can get quick, inexpensive labour at the cost of actual human lives.  

Since these clothes are mass produced and cheaply made, it is not surprising to know that they go bad after a couple of washes, and are no longer wearable. Each year, the average consumer throws away about 32 kilograms of clothing, adding to the already over filled landfills . It is estimated that the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than international flights and maritime ships combined. It also takes thousands of gallons of water to produce one cotton shirt and a pair of jeans, as they are made from a water intensive material-cotton. Further, textile dyeing is the second largest polluter of water, leading to the fashion industry being responsible for 20% of the worlds water pollution.

As more and more people get aware of their malpractices, fast fashion brands resort to greenwashing, which is basically presenting a company as more eco friendly than it really is. They make false promises about making their products with organic cotton and recycled polyester. However, they fail to provide sufficient and definitive information, and refuse to specify how much of a garment is made with recycled material. Brands like LuLuLemon and H&M have been recently accused of greenwashing, yet their sales remain high.

It is saddening to see how many people are unaware of these evils, and those who are aware simply turn a blind eye to such issues. How can we prevent this? Our strongest weapon in this war against fast fashion is education. Educate yourself and those around you. Watch documentaries, read books and articles, and convince others around you to quit buying from such brands. Try reducing the number of shopping trips you take in a year. Another thing which can help is mending your old clothes, and wearing them at least 30-40 times to make the most out of them. Remember, every little step counts. Gone are the days when we were blind consumers. Now, the time has come for serious reforms.

Sources: https://www.businessinsider.in/science/news/the-fashion-industry-emits-more-carbon-than-international-flights-and-maritime-shipping-combined-here-are-the-biggest-ways-it-impacts-the-planet-/articleshow/71640863.cms

https://www.greenamerica.org/blog/factory-exploitation-and-fast-fashion-machine