Fashion Revolution Week

by Celine Semaan Vernon

Global Warming, Fashion and the Refugee Crisis

How we caused the war in Syria by shopping at Zara and Calvin Klein.

Bernie Sanders is arguing that climate change is “directly related to the growth of terrorism”. He is not the only one to think that. In fact, Al Gore, Prince Charles, and President Obama all have strong evidence to believe that global climate change is at the root of political unrest and terrorism. There is scientific support for the climate-conflict thesis: a study by Earth scientists at Columbia University, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found: “Climate change is implicated in the current Syrian conflict”.

The chain of events is clear: pollution leads to climate change, which leads in many cases to droughts (such as California and Syria), which leads to resource scarcity; combine with an oppressive political situation and mass poverty, and instability and violence are bound to follow.

Icons are from thenounproject.com by: Simon Child, Creative Stall, Botho Willer, Pham Thi Dieu Linh, Juan Pablo Bravo

According to climate science maverick James Lovelock: 'enjoy life while you can: in 20 years global warming will hit the fan'. Lovelock has been dispensing predictions from his one-man laboratory in an old mill in Cornwall since the mid-1960s, the consistent accuracy of which have earned him a reputation as one of Britain's most respected - if maverick - independent scientists. Working alone since the age of 40, he invented a device that detected CFCs, which helped detect the growing hole in the ozone layer, and introduced the Gaia hypothesis, a revolutionary theory that the Earth is a self-regulating super-organism. Initially ridiculed by many scientists as new age nonsense, today that theory forms the basis of almost all climate science.

So, what do we do about this situation and what does fashion have to do with this?

Fast fashion Is the second dirtiest industry in the world—second only to Big Oil—according to ecowatch.

Here is a quick overview of the numbers around fashion. A single mill in China can use 200 tons of water for each ton of fabric it dyes; many rivers run with the colors of the season as the untreated toxic dyes wash off from mills. After preliminary investigations into links between well-known apparel brands and textile manufacturers with environmental violations, a group of five organizations sent letters to the CEOs of 48 companies. Respondents included Nike, Esquel, Walmart, H&M, Levi’s, Adidas, and Burberry – all who have now started to take proactive measures and have carried out inquiries and pushed suppliers to take corrective actions.

You might be asking yourselves: “How can we produce responsibly? Shop consciously? And continue living our lives without guilt?” All these are great questions that everyone should be asking themselves. Unfortunately we still make fun of the curious minds out there and thus conditioning most people to just “go with the flow silently” but I think our generation and younger generations will not buy this status quo anymore. Questioning things and asking to better understand a given situation is a basic human right.

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What we try to do at Slow Factory is to: 1) Raise awareness about these topics. 2) Archive the Earth as it is in a utilitarian fashion making it wearable, palpable, wrapable and impossible to avoid. 3) Join forces with NGOs working on the ground with scientists, teachers, activists and funding their initiatives in various causes, such as bringing education to all, cleaning our oceans or providing tools and support in empowering women. We can all shift our way of being and become more aware, more connected with these issues and join existing groups devoting their lives to making the world a better place. Why not? How else would you like to spend your time?

Filed under: fashion activism we are home