Like most, I am inspired by Greta Thunberg this week.
Thunberg, a 16-year-old climate activist, shook the world this week as she not only lead 150 countries in the Global Climate Strike on Friday, but also as she delivered a scathing speech at the United Nations’ Climate Action Summit this past Monday.
At 16-years-old, Thunberg has done more for the world than I probably ever will, and I find that motivating as a 21-year-old.
Thunberg, a child, should not be expected to lead a global change. As she said in her speech, “This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope.”
It’s up to us adults to start making changes in order to prevent further damage.
And I acknowledge that it’s not the average person’s environmental impact that has caused climate change.
The Guardian reported in 2017 that 100 companies were responsible for 71% of global emissions. It’s not necessarily the impact of individuals that have placed us in this position.
But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be stewards of the earth.
Like I’ve mentioned before in past editorials, I often think about what changes I can make in my life to better impact the world. And after watching Thunberg’s striking impact this past week, I’m determined to make some changes in my life.
One change I’m hoping to make is to cut down on my clothing consumption.
I’m a big shopper. As much as it pains me to say this, I love going to the mall when I’m back home in Pennsylvania. I grew up minutes from the local mall, Park City Center, and spent many weekends shopping for clothes with my mom and sister. It was a thing we did together, and something we still do.
But I’d like that to change. Fast fashion, or clothing that is produced on shorter time frames with new designs appearing every few weeks, is incredibly harmful to our planet. Textile production is one of the most polluting industries so much so that it has been stated that about 5% of total global emissions come from the fashion industry. And despite its damage to the environment, we’re likely to wear an article of clothing on a handful of times before it ends up in a landfill.
I’ve started making adjustments in my life and wardrobe. I often buy clothing secondhand now. While I know this isn’t something new and many Goshen College students have been doing this for ages, thrifting is something that I’ve only recently started doing on a regular basis when I need new clothing.
And even when I’m purchasing secondhand clothing, I’m conscious of what my motivations are. Am I buying something because I will get use out of it? Or am I buying it because it’s cheap? Do I have an article of clothing at home that serves the same purpose? How many times will I wear this new purchase?
Goshen College, I pledge to cut down on my clothing consumption even more. No more fast fashion. No more trips to the mall (though, maybe I’ll join the local mall joggers club). And I hope you hold me accountable.
I’d love to hear from you; what changes are you making in your day-to-day life to help cut back on your personal carbon footprint? Or maybe you have an idea as to how Goshen College can cut back on its carbon footprint. Our Perspectives page is always open to submissions.