June 2023

Milborne Port Climate and Nature Action group

Fashion: wears the harm?

  1. The fashion industry contributes hugely to the climate crisis – 8-10% of all global emissions and British shoppers buy more clothes than any others in Europe – a reminder that participating in sustainable and ethical fashion is a crucial part of fighting the climate crisis, for which we already have all the solutions we need. 
  2. 10-20% of pesticide use comes from the textile industry (cotton).
  3. 93% of brands are not paying garment workers living wages – people in the global south are experiencing the impact of the climate crisis right now while not receiving fair wages either.
  4. Less than 11% of brands actually implement any sort of recycling strategy (and much of the ‘recycled’ waste ends up being dumped in the global south).
  5. When you wash your clothes with man-made fibres, they shed plastics into the rivers and ocean.
  6. The fashion industry uses 93 billion cubic metres of water each year on a planet that is already seeing water wars and should expect more with the climate crisis.
  7. And then, 92 million tonnes of textile waste is generated annually from this system. And the waste by and large is dumped back in the global South.

A staggering 100 billion garments are produced each year; yet there are 7.8 billion humans on our planet, most of whom can’t afford to buy new clothes anyway.

So, what can we do? Individual action creates a cultural shift and without individual action we will never have that societal and cultural shift. As ever, looking after our Lifeboat Earth involves lots of R’s:

  1. Rethink and refuse to buy as many new clothes anymore (see also item 6); many of us say we can’t afford to buy better or differently but if you’re buying 68 garments a year (the average fast fashion shopper), you can. Maybe keep a note of what you’re buying each year.
  2. Refrain from unnecessary washing of clothes that don’t look dirty; (they’ll last longer and you save on your energy and water bills). 
  3. Repair: use Google / Ecosia to learn how to repair clothes or take them to the Sherborne Repair Café (see Facebook for details or repaircafesherborne@gmail.com
  4. Re-home your clothes – maybe organize a clothing swap with your friends – it’s a fun way to get something new-for-you and involve your friends in the fun. If you have children you are probably doing this already.
  5. Rent: Next time you’re attending a fancy event, instead of buying a new formal outfit, see what you can borrow from a friend, or as a last resort hire something special. No one needs a lot of formal wear even if all your friends are getting married.
  6. Really recycle: have a browse in Sherborne’s numerous charity shops; it’s amazing what great clothes you can. And sort out and take those clothes that you don’t wear anymore to the charity shops to save somebody else from needing to buy something new.

Here’s One New Thing To Do for our Future

Before you buy a new item of clothing, browse the charity shops first (bag up clothes you don’t wear any more to donate) or have a clothes swap party with your friends. 

Sources: https://fashionchecker.org; https://mckinsey.com/industries/retail/our-insights/state-of-fashion…; https://forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2015/12/03/making-climate-change-fashionable-the-garment-industry-takes-on-global-warming/?sh=4824bfb779e4…

Thursday 1st June  7.30pm Town Hall (upstairs) MP CAN meeting. All welcome.