Why Conscious Shopping Isn't Just A Phase...It Matters

I'm sure you have already seen my countless social media posts regarding ethical fashion, shopping small, or living minimally, but I'm not sure if you really know why...

I was raised as a Christian, and still associate myself with Christianity as a religion. I believe in Jesus and the Bible, but I have definitely changed a lot about how I approach things and view things.

There is a verse in the Bible that reads, "For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse" Romans 1:20. From this verse, I believe that from what is seen(nature) we can understand God's invisible qualities(power and divine nature). In Job 12:7-10 it reads, "“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind".

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
— Genesis 2:15

As a someone who believes in Jesus, I believe that God created this beautiful earth for a very specific reason and created us for a purpose. With that knowledge, and specifically speaking to those who associate with Christianity(and to anyone who cherishes this planet)- It is our job to take care of it.

Creation

The average American produces an average of 82 pounds of textile waste per year. EIGHTY TWO POUNDS PER PERSON. With the amount of textile waste, the fashion industry is now the second largest polluter, next to oil.

The Citarum river is the longest and largest river in West Java, Indonesia It is also the third longest river in Java after Bengawan Solo and Brantas. It is the main water source to 5 million people who live in it's basin, and is now biologically dead. It is claimed as the world's most polluted river, contaminated with lead, mercury, and even arsenic. 

Globalized production basically means that all of the making of goods has been outsourced to low-cost economies, particularly where wages are very low and kept low. And what that means is, that those at the top of the value chain, they get to choose where the products are being made, and they get to switch. For example, one factory says, “we can’t make it that cheap anymore”. The brand will say, “we’re not going to come to you anymore. We’re going to switch to another place that is cheaper”.
— John Hilary

 

In 2013, the tragedy of the Savar building collapse in Bangladesh occurred, killing 1,134 people working in the garment industry. 38 people ended up being charged for murder because of their insatiable desire for money, and refusal to fix a building holding thousands of precious, hard-working lives.  The minimum monthly wage for workers in Bangladesh is $68. Did you catch what I said? Monthly. Workers are only making $68 A MONTH. We are outsourcing to other countries, demanding cheaper prices, but their cost for producing stays the same. In turn, people are stuck making $68 a month to keep a job, keep their families alive, and meet the demand from overseas. 

America has quickly developed into what's called a "fast fashion" empire. Instead of 2 seasons of clothes a year(warm clothes, cold clothes), we basically have 52 seasons a year. The fashion industry is producing a new type of style every week. Clothes are coming into style and going out before you make it to the store to buy the latest trend. 

With the prices continuing to drop, people continue to consume at an alarming rate. Multitudes are buying into the fast-fashion mentality and constantly purchasing the next great thing, only to have it change the following week. Why buy the clothes? Where do the out-of-style items end up? 

My passion for making conscious decisions before I buy, started after watching a documentary on Netflix called "Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things". After the film ended, I immediately dug through my closet and began making the elimination process. 

I shared my new-found mindset with a few of my friends, and one of them suggested to watch "The True Cost" which is another documentary on Netflix. This documentary dove into the gruesome details of the fast-fashion culture. In the first 5 minutes, the narrator stated that "As recently as the 1960's, America was producing 96% of our clothing(paraphrased). Today, we only make about 3%. The other 97% is outsourced to other developing countries around the world".

THIS IS JUST ABOUT FASHION

Buffalo Exchange

While researching for this piece, I decided to just google "recycling" and came across DoSomething.org 's "11 Facts About Recycling".
 

  1. The average person generates over 4 pounds of trash every day and about 1.5 tons of solid waste per year.
  2. Americans make more than 200 million tons of garbage each year, enough to fill Busch Stadium from top to bottom twice a day. 
  3. The EPA estimates that 75% of the American waste stream is recyclable, but we only recycle about 30% of it.
  4. We generate 21.5 million tons of food waste each year. If we composted that food, it would reduce the same amount of greenhouse gas as taking 2 million cars off the road.
  5. Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to listen to a full album on your iPod. Recycling 100 cans could light your bedroom for two whole weeks. 
  6. The Container Recycling Institute (CRI) estimates that the 36 billion aluminum cans landfilled last year had a scrap value of more than $600 million.
  7. Americans throw away about 28 billion bottles and jars every year.
  8. Over 87% of Americans have access to curbside or drop-off paper recycling programs.
  9. In 2009, Americans threw away almost 9 million tons of glass. That could fill enough tractor trailers to stretch from NYC to LA (and back!).
  10. In 2010, paper recycling had increased over 89% since 1990.
  11. A glass container can go from a recycling bin to a store shelf in as few as 30 days.

I'm just going to drop the mic now...

If you are reading this and care about the earth, DO SOMETHING. If you are a Christian reading this and care about what you believe to be God's creation, BE GOOD STEWARDS. I cannot stress this enough. We have the ability and the freedom to make choices that can impact people all over the world, as well as keep this incredibly beautiful planet, beautiful. 

 

Educate yourself. Recycle. Reuse. Reduce. Minimize. 

     

     

     

    Education

    River Blue Film
    The True Cost Movie
    Fashion Revolution
    The Good Trade

    Easy Ways To Buy/Sell Used

    Facebook Marketplace
    Poshmark
    (use code _MelissaCalvert for $5)
    Plato's Closet
    Buffalo Exchange
    Local Secondhand Boutique's