Talking to your children about fast fashion and the environment is vitally important for the future of the planet.
The influence of celebrities, brands and advertising is playing a huge part in the increase of cheap clothing sales. There has never been a better time to start educating your children about environmental issues such as this one.
The majority of consumers of fast fashion are millennials, if you have children that are in this age range, it could be beneficial to teach them about where their clothes come from. It is also important to teach younger children (age 5+) about these issues so they can make more informed decisions as they get older.
What to teach them?
Slave labour and Child Workers
The International Labour Organisation estimates that 170 million are engaged in child labour, with many making textiles and garments to satisfy the demand of consumers in Europe, the US, and beyond. This will be more prevalent in the fast fashion industry as the clothes are inexpensive and in large supply, resulting in manufacturers looking for cheap materials and labour.
In a 2018 report by the Global Slavery Index, it states that $127.7 billion worth of garments at risk of including modern slavery in their supply chain are imported annually by a group of nations which account for 80 percent of world trade. These imports help underwrite a global economy that trapped 40.3 million people in modern slavery in 2016, 71 percent of whom were women. This means that even in developed nations such as ours consumers are supporting slavery through our imports of clothing, tech and other commodities.
People are buying twice as many items of clothing as they did a decade ago, with British shoppers buying far more new clothes than any other nation in Europe. All of this excessive consumption leads to excessive waste including greenhouse gasses, garments in landfall and pollution into the ocean. All of these factors alongside the rapid growth of the fast fashion industry are making this issue a global environmental crisis.
"Those clothes contribute to resource pollution and waste pollution, due to the fact that most of these items will one day be thrown out. People are consuming more and they want it for cheaper prices." - Wikipedia
It is common knowledge that many items such as plastic bottles and toothbrushes end up in our oceans. However, did you know that one of the biggest polluters to ocean life is clothing?
Around 60 percent of all garments produced today are made from synthetic fibres, which when washed release tiny micro plastic particles into our waterways, eventually leading to our oceans. These micro plastics are then ingested by marine animals and birds. Along with pollution seeping into the ocean from landfills around the coasts of countries like the Philippines and India.
Once you have explained to your children the environmental impacts of the clothes they buy, then you need a solution for them.
Here are ways they can reduce their impact on the planet.
- Don't buy fast fashion and cheap garments
- Buy from sustainable clothing outlets
- Purchase clothing made from non synthetic fibres like bamboo, hemp, flax, organic cotton etc...
- Recycle your clothes instead of throwing them away
- Wash your clothes less
- Avoid the tumble dryer
- Ask brands questions when you are unsure of their manufacturing process and materials