During a TED Talk, Leyla Acaroglu brings up the topic of ‘environmental folklore,’ creating a better environment is more than choosing sustainable products, it is about how you use those products. Environmental folklore is based on our experiences or what we have heard from other people, which all affect our ecosystem. She stated, “we need to do more with less” to realize how our actions affect Earth. This made me realize that just because I choose paper over plastic at the grocery store, it does not matter unless I am using and disposing of that paper bag properly.
Leyla Acaroglu’s quote in a TED Talk was, “we need to do more with less,” which brings up the issue with textile waste. Because I am a fashion merchandising major, textile waste really interests me and it is the topic I have chosen for activity 3. Just in the United States, more than 15 million tons of textile waste is generated each year. Due to fast fashion, the amount of clothing we throw away continues to increase each year. While textile waste is a wicked problem and is not easy to completely solve, there are a few things each of us can do to reduce the amount of clothing we throw away; We could donate our old clothing, upcycle, or reduce the amount of clothing we buy. I am constantly buying new clothes and getting rid of “old” clothes that are still usable, just because I want to stay up to date with the trends. However, after realizing the issues that come along with fast fashion, I have decided to adopt more sustainable practices when it comes to my wardrobe and do more with less.
As merchandisers, we should also look into how the product is being made; We are responsible for more than where the product ends up. Where the product came from is just as important as where it ends up. Merchandisers should make sure they are sourcing their products from sustainable vendors and factories. If every merchandiser valued sustainability, then it could help reduce the amount of textile waste and pollution.
I think it is amazing that campuses like OSU have helped combat the waste in the United States. OSU has implemented so many sustainable practices on campus. Before going on the tour to the sustainability office, I did not know that we had a recycling center and upholstery shop on campus. The sustainability office visit was very informational and something that shocked me is that 50 million dollars have been saved just by making small energy adjustments, such as turning off the lights and changing the temperature of a classroom not in use. I think everyone at OSU should go visit, because it puts all of the things we discard into perspective, like all of the plastic and cardboard that the recycling center collects; Also, because we should recognize the effort that the university and staff of the recycling center and upholstery shop are putting in to create a greener campus. Campuses nationwide should have the same resources we do, because small changes actually do make an impact on the world.
It is obvious that big campuses with a lot of money, like OSU, can implement sustainable practices, but is it as easy for people living in poverty to be sustainable? Poverty is defined as a social construct of chronic insecurity resulting from a malfunctioning economic, ecological, cultural, and social systems, causing groups of people to lose the capacity to adapt, survive, and live beyond minimal levels of satisfaction of their needs and aspirations. Prior to the reading I never thought of poverty being a vector of environmental degradation. However, I came to realize that in poorer countries, the demand for economic growth outweighs the concerns for environmental protection. Also, sometimes people cannot afford to live sustainably, an example is that poorer farmers are forced into unstainable practices by farming on marginal lands, clearing tracts of rainforests, and putting at risk fragile ecosystems. I think something needs to be done to help make sustainability more accessible to all people. One of the main takeaways I got from the reading is that poverty is the result of an inability of people to gain access to life supporting assets, while others are capable of securing the conditions for stable and productive lives.