The things we went over this week were very interesting to learn about and help further our knowledge of sustainable practices. The first article, Fashion and Sustainability, focused on how to reduce consumption. Consumption is the biggest factor opposing sustainability. In America, we are encouraged to replace things often and stay up to date on the current trends. Promoting fast fashion is detrimental to the environment. We need to emphasize that the way to creating a sustainable culture requires a reduction in the ecological footprint. Fashion does not need to be discounted as something that can be environmentally friendly, showing people how to reuse old clothing, build a closet of mix and match basics, and repurposing items is a simple answer to keep people from trashing things quickly. It is also important to encourage people to support ethical companies that pay fair wages to employees and create his quality, long-lasting items.
Fashion can be applied to Leyla Acaroglu’s TED talk also. She goes over life cycle thinking and assessment which is an analysis of how something goes through its life. For example, we can look at a belt. The belt can be made of leather which came from an animal, was the rest of the animal used for meat, food, or wasted? Then the belt is purchased at a large chain store that could promote underpaid or child workers in a third world country, is it promoting an unethical practice and killing an animal that is rotting away in a field? Then over time, the belt gets worn down and eventually thrown away. Where does it go? Anaerobic landfill? If so, the belt is tightly compacted with all of the other waste with heat, releasing methane gas into the atmosphere. If it was disposed of in a more naturalistic way it would be less toxic than methane gas, only emitting carbon dioxide, which is still bad. So, the life cycle assessment of this belt would be pretty poor, which is how most of the items in America are disposed.
Leyla also emphasized her hatred for refrigerators. People waste 40% of their food in the US because it is overlaid on other food and then it expires, joining the belt in contributing to the methane gas in the atmosphere. Yay! Behavior changing products; challenging the way people operate machines to only use what we need. Products that are designed for consumer use then are disassembled for alternative uses once the consumer is done with the product or needs to replace it. A major question to be asked following Leyla’s TED talk is how quickly can 7.4 billion people on the planet move to a post-disposable future?
The poverty reading was one that was hard to pick a side on. I don’t believe that people living in low economic conditions are the ones who contribute the most to an unsustainable environment. I definitely think wealthy people are higher contributors because their money is more disposable than someone who has very little money. I believe that people living under this economic line are much more winning to reuse things, repurpose things, and get the most out of the things they have. If you don’t have money to afford more food, you’re going to make the most out of what you do have.
I have been invested in sustainability and merchandising and how it can become sustainable merchandise. Also in respects to my proposal for activity three, how we can prevent animal extinction by overtaking their environments. If we merchandise things in a way that if people do litter the object (which they probably will because people are lazy) that it will degrade over time or even become food for the animals surrounding it. I’m learning that animals are constantly being declared extinct, usually tropical animals and oceanic animals and sea life. Our unsustainable lifestyle is killing the animals of the earth that have been here longer and have never done anything to deserve the brutal treatment we have given them.