Earth has had its hardships with climate change, fast fashion, and big corporations polluting our environment. It may seem like there is no hope.

People have been polluting since the first time they started farming, introducing more methane gas into the air. The National Environmental Policy Act was the first environmental law that was signed into law in 1970, which requires federal agencies to assess the environmental effects of their proposed actions before making decisions.

The everyday consumer is a part of why these corporations are still affecting our planet. There is always hope if everybody puts in effort in some aspect of their life because sustainability is a movement, it’s not about superiority and using the poor. 

Many environmentalists have used the fear tactic that the earth is dying and society has 30 years to reduce its impact before there is irreparable damage. Fear is not the best way to get someone to change their lifestyle; it most likely gets people defensive and ends the conversation that needs to be moving forward. 

Get Educated

The first step on a person’s sustainability journey is to get informed. There are many ways to start, but knowing where your items are coming from and how they are made is very important. 

The biggest telltale sign a company is using cheap labor or being environmentally damaging is when they aren’t being accessible with their information, nothing really comes up when you search them online, or they have no evidence on their supposed facts, which means they’re greenwashing.

Greenwashing is providing misleading information about how a company’s products are more environmentally sound. It’s used to lie to people so they believe that a company’s products are environmentally friendly. 

To find out about how good companies are for the environment without doing all the work, Good On You does all the research on all types of brands and rates them on how sustainably good they are. They also publish journals on ethical fashion.

(The front page of Sustainable Baddie the website with a pink font and a picture of jewelry on the right. With style, life, latest as sections. Photo credit Sophia Estrada.)

Sustainable Baddie is another website that makes sustainability fun and informative. It was created by Jazmine Rogers, a sustainable influencer on Instagram and TikTok.  The website is made easy and accessible to get to know other influencers on their sustainability journey and articles like, “5 Fulfilling Eco-Reads by Women Environmentalists,” and “What to do When you Realize that your New Thrifted Jeans have a Poop Stain.” 

Reducing Reusing and Recycling 

Yes, it’s what people have been told since they were a child and people have implemented it in their way of living for a few things like recycling bottles and cans, composting, and reducing their energy usage. But there is more.

Jessica Vanetta, an environmental science professor at College of the Canyons said:

“I recommend reducing, reusing, and recycling – in that order! Nowadays, you can also insert refuse before reducing, which essentially means you can refuse to use single-use items or purchase products that are designed for the dump. What you can’t refuse, try to reduce your use of it. What you must use, try to reuse it. If it can’t be reused, recycle it rather than throw it away.”

Refusing is the best way to lower your carbon footprint because you aren’t contributing to overconsumption. It makes people think about what they already have and how they use it over and over again. 

For example, refusing to buy new clothes and using what you already have. BE AN OUTFIT REPEATER. It will make you think more about how to style your pieces. 

Reduce, refuse, and recycle means taking better care of your items so they last forever. Even if you don’t want them at least they are in good condition to be donated and someone else can have more use of that item.

(A person walking in the middle of the street of a promenade with two bags and one having the H&M logo on it. Photo Credit Getty images.)

Stop Buying Fast Fashion 

This one may be hard for many as people want to follow the trends. Buying clothes is retail therapy, it’s convenient and easy. 

“It’s kind of one of those things like Amazon. You don’t want to support a big corporation but at the same time it’s just convenience and accessibility that kind of leads to having to take part in fast fashion,” Max Toledo, a College of the Canyons student, said.

People, it’s understandable as for many it’s all they’ve ever known and all they can afford but fast fashion is just fast, in all categories. 

It’s made super fast and in abundance. It goes out of style fast because it was just a trend. It gets ruined faster because the materials they use are called petrochemical textiles which include polyester, nylon, spandex, rayon, and more. They use these because it’s much cheaper to use than natural fibers. It gets thrown away fast because of the cheap materials and then ends up in landfills.  

It’s unethical that many of these fast fashion corporations use labor in foreign countries without giving a living wage. 

As the Garment Worker Center said, “Approximately 85% of garment workers do not earn the minimum wage and are instead paid a piece rate of between 2-6 cents per piece. Most garment workers work 60-70 hour weeks with take-home pay of about $300.”

The true target audience is people who spend hundreds on these companies because they have the means to do so when there are so many other options. 

If people want to buy clothes, go to sustainable brands. The clothes are of higher value but will last you longer and the people are paid a living wage and the clothes feel and fit better. 

“I also recommend purchasing from sustainable businesses that use recyclable packaging or that are working to reduce their carbon footprint,” Vanetta said.

Buy second hand; going to thrift stores is cheaper than retail and it helps people find their style, which will make people less likely to depend on trends and reduce their consumption of fast fashion.

This doesn’t mean no more online shopping; there are many online retailers like Depop, eBay, The Real Real (for used designers) and Etsy.  

Buy clothes that you need and love and that you can see yourself wearing multiple times so there can be no more “I’ll fit into it later,” “I don’t love it but I need it for this event,” “I saw it on TikTok and that’s the only reason I’m buying.” Most likely these will not be in your closet forever. 

People need to think when they buy and this doesn’t include clothes, it’s everything. That waffle maker, do you need it?Do you need to keep buying from amazon for every little thing? 

It’s just having more consideration for what you have to what everyone’s telling you “what’s the next best thing.”

It’s the question you need to ask yourself: 

“But do I need it?

In the end, sustainability is all about trying to reduce your carbon footprint and wanting the Earth to last for many generations to come. Earth deserves more than convenience; it deserves thought and care.

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