The fashion industry has a massive ecological footprint: the raw materials, the production, the transportation and the burning of unsold clothes all result in significant carbon emissions and wasted water. There is one item of clothing that is above all the rest in terms of environmental pollution: the ever-popular jeans.
The main ingredient of denim is cotton, one of the world’s leading raw materials, and the production of jeans uses 35% of the world’s total cotton production.
After the cotton fibre is made, it is turned into denim; that is when the textile receives its characteristic blue colour. Indigo, the dye used for the process is not water soluble, so the desired colour is achieved by soaking the textile in a bath containing various chemicals and heavy metals. To achieve the colour required, the textile is submerged in the chemical mixture 3 to 9 times.
After that, denim is turned into jeans, and various methods are used to reach the required texture and shade: chemicals are used for fading, which has its own environmental load.
Most people are aware that any unnecessary calories we ingest are detrimental to our health, but few consider that food consumed in excess of our real needs – and the energy, water and other resources used for its production – is of little utility, it is practically wasted.
The textile industry is one of the most polluting industries of all: it produces microfibres and chemicals and uses huge quantities of water while making 150 billion new articles of clothing every year. The environmental load caused by the fashion industry causes inestimable damage, and the best way to counteract that is to choose clothing made of more sustainable textiles. But where are they?
Food waste is a growing problem in developed countries. Massive amounts of perfectly edible food is thrown away because of merely aesthetic blemishes. The psychological factor behind the phenomenon is disgust, which may apply in relation to edible insects, as well. That attitude ought to be reconsidered from a climate protection perspective.
In recent years, a new concept related to environmental pollution has gained wide-ranging recognition: microplastics. The term denotes pieces of plastic smaller than 5 mm resulting from the break-up of plastic items. During washing, clothing made of synthetic fibres sheds many microfibres that pollute our waters and damage our environment.
A BBC article suggests that people’s personal responsibility doesn’t stop at reducing car traffic: eating and shopping habits must also be rethought.
Pope Francis urged people to change their lifestyles and to take concrete action instead of empty words in his message communicated on the Fifth World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, issued to young people raising their voice for the environment on 1 September.
The population of Earth is growing drastically, while the planet has had a constant quantity of water ever since its creation. So, in addition to the sparing use of water, it is equally important not to pollute our existing stock of water.
How do you encourage people to use less water? This was the quandary that Denver Water hired the creative agency Sukle to help solve. Their cooperation has resulted in over a decade of spectacular advertising campaigns that have inspired the citizens of Denver to save water.
Jem Bendell, a professor of sustainability leadership at the University of Cumbria asks the most depressing question of our age in his paper entitled Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy: what will happen if the most pessimistic scenario plays out concerning global warming?
A video published by The Economist entitled “How could veganism change the world?” claims that if we all consumed less meat, emissions of greenhouse gases could be reduced significantly, while the consumption of fresh water would drop to 70 percent and land use to 40 percent.