Since 1970, the 22nd of April has been dedicated to honouring the beautiful planet we live on. Earth day is about reflection, gratitude, and taking action to make our Earthly home healthier for present and future generations.
What is Earth Day?
Earth Day grew out of a concern for the depreciating climate and its implications on public health.
The hyper-industrialisation of post-war America led to a significant rise in pollution, loss of wilderness, toxic dumps, and oil spills. And so, on this day in 1970, 20 million people around the United States mobilised for the protection of the environment. Over the 50 years since, Earth Day has become a global campaign against environmental damage and, in more recent decades, action towards halting climate change.
This year’s theme is “Invest in our Planet”, urging businesses, governments, and individuals to act together to fight against climate change. While the struggle for environmental justice is a systemic issue that requires a rethinking of our economy, there are ways we, as individuals, can make an impact – and we can start with our wardrobes.
How is fashion connected to Earth Day?
As Earth day falls into Fashion Revolution week, we want to take a look at the ways fashion affects our environment. The fashion industry is a big culprit of environmental damage. From carbon emissions, and a reliance on fossil fuels, to water wastage and biodiversity loss – the fashion industry plays a major role in our planetary crises. And, according to Good on You, the fashion industry produces 92 million tons of textile waste annually.
We are all part of the fashion industry, because every one of us buys and wears clothing. Unlike other large polluting industries, such as mining, the fashion industry is one sector that makes change far more tangible and accessible, because as citizen-consumers we hold a lot more power than we realise.
Here are four ways to join the Fashion Revolution:
Reflect on and reduce your consumption
Buying clothes that you know you’ll wear for years to come is a far more rewarding practice than impulse buys. It’s very tempting to buy an item of clothing because it’s trendy or on sale, but try to purchase clothes that will work with what you already own. And when it comes to sales, ask yourself if you’d be willing to buy the item if it wasn’t on sale. More often than not, you wouldn’t buy it then, so now isn’t the time either.
Wear, and love, the clothes you already own
The average person wears an item of clothing seven times before throwing it away, according to The Wall Street Journal. The underlying cause of fashion waste is overconsumption. By holding on to our clothes longer, we can cut down our need to replace clothes. Repairing small imperfections, as they arise, and learning how to sustainably care for your clothes will ensure that you can wear your garments for years to come.
Swap before you shop
Participating in a clothing swap is a fun way to add new-to-you clothes to your wardrobe, without buying anything new or adding unnecessary extra clothes to your wardrobe. Plus, it usually costs almost nothing to partake in a clothing swap!
This is a great way to responsibly rehome the clothes you don’t wear anymore while ensuring they don’t get thrown away. You can look up local clothing swap events, in your area, or host your own one with family and friends.
Become a fashion activist
Learning about ways to extend your slow fashion advocacy beyond just the clothes you wear is a powerful step, because it affirms that your role in society extends beyond your ability to consume. Fashion activism allows you to be a part of a larger collective movement for change. Signing a petition, emailing a brand, posting on social media, or getting involved in an advocacy group – like Fashion Revolution or Remake – are a few great ways to extend your impact and become a fashion activist.
There are so many small changes we can make to our everyday lives, from eliminating plastic use and supporting local brands, that make the future of our planet just a little bit better for the next person. Today, we choose to invest in our planet and start taking action for the future we want to live in. What changes are you implementing today?