Who Will Benefit if You Switch to Sustainable Fashion?
In today’s world, it can be difficult to imagine that you as an individual can make a difference. For instance, when you chose to buy organic clothing and food, the immediate impact might not be obvious. However, by making the decision to shop from organic, sustainable sources, you are actually helping millions of people. Here’s how!
Farmers are put at risk by constant exposure to high levels of pesticides and other harmful chemicals, which is the leading cause of serious short and long-term effects on both their health, and that of their families. Using fewer pesticides means an improved level of health for farmers and communities living in rural areas.
By buying clothing made from organic cotton, bamboo, hemp or other sustainable crops, you are not only supporting farmers that grow these eco-friendly crops, but also helping local communities and improving the quality of life. Another important benefit is that you are helping to care for the environment.
Soil and Water
While non-organic agriculture focuses on generating short-term profits at the expense of long-term effects on soil fertility and water pollution, organic agriculture considers these effects on the agro-ecosystem and seeks to eliminate them. Replacing pesticides with organic fertilizers plays a significant role in maintaining soil productivity and reducing the quantity of pesticides found in water sources, thus offering a higher level of economic stability to farmers. Read more about the environmental benefits of organic agriculture here.
The health and well-being of workers can be affected during the manufacturing process. Commonly used chemicals such as azo dye and flame retardants are well-known carcinogens. By supporting sustainable fashion, you’ll ensure that workers are handling safer, organic materials which are free from such hazardous chemicals.
In order to make cheap clothing, low production costs are necessary which in turn usually means substandard wages for workers and difficult and often dangerous working conditions. The quality of such garments is generally poor. Conversely, high-quality materials sourced from sustainable crops can also result in better working conditions and fewer health risks. The higher the demand for ethical labor and clothing production, the better the outlook is for these employees.
One of the biggest impacts you can have by switching to sustainable fashion, is on the environment. The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions, second only to the oil industry. By choosing not to support mass-produced clothing factories that have a huge carbon footprint, you will reduce the impact you have on global warming.
Ocean Plastic Pollution
By switching to sustainable fashion manufacturers, you will also help out ocean life, as well as the whole ecosystem in general. Plastic fibers are extremely common in clothes manufacturing, and when these fibers make their way to the ocean, they can create floating garbage islands and have a huge environmental impact. It can take plastic up to a thousand years to decompose, so by choosing not to support brands that use plastic in clothing, you can help keep plastic out of the ocean.
Most mass-market clothing production is contracted out to developing countries where labor is cheaper and rules and regulations pertaining to manufacturing may be more relaxed. This takes away funds that could have been injected into the US economy. When you choose to buy clothing produced in the United States, you choose to support American textile workers.
Quality-made, sustainable clothing will last as long as your style dictates that the garments are still relevant to your wardrobe. In addition, organically sourced fibers used in sustainable, eco-friendly clothing have far fewer chemicals added, so you’ll be exposing your body to less risk, and more natural fabrics. Aside from this, you’ll be able to feel proud, safe in the knowledge that you’re protecting farmers, textile workers, and the environment, not to mention making a significant contribution to your country’s economy.
When you decide to switch to sustainable fashion, you will have an impact on more lives than you could ever imagine, including your own.