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Fashion, Food and Fuel: How Do We Sustainably Consume Them?

What we consume in our everyday lives has more than just an impact on our purses. The global population is at an all-time high, and overconsumption in the worlds richest counties is driving the climate crisis. Our ‘consumerist’s’ habits and drive for innovation is having a huge impact on the planet, as we demand the best products and services, following the latest societal trends, whilst overconsuming the worlds resources as a consequence. With the extraction and processing of materials, fuels and food being responsible for half of the worlds total climate emissions and causing 90% of biodiversity loss and a lack of clean water. From the food to eat to the clothes we wear, evidence suggests we need to do more, quickly, to save the planet.




Food


How we consume food can have a huge impact on the planet. It’s estimated that agriculture, livestock and the use of farmland and forest account for 23% of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions. Making more sustainable choices surrounding what we eat, can help reduce the impact we’re having on our planet. Research suggests that, consuming less meat and moving towards a plant-based diet based around fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, course grains and legumes could make a big difference if enough of us made the change. Animal based products and the modern farming industry has been shown to exploit our natural resources for farmland and crops, leading to deforestation and decreasing biodiversity, damaging ecosystems globally, and releasing large amounts of methane into the environment.


Additionally, taking actions to reduce food miles, the distance food has travelled to get to your plate, and buying locally produced products can help in tackling climate change by reducing damaging emissions from transport. Reducing food waste can also help, as food waste massively impacts our global emissions, with 25 to 30 percent of the world’s food being wasted. Starting in our kitchen we can reduce our carbon footprint and consider making more sustainable changes to our diet and how we consume food.


Fashion


What’s in our wardrobe and the clothes we buy can also have a huge impact on the environment. From consuming fast-fashion and following micro-trends the production of clothes and waste produced from the textiles industry massively contributes to the climate crisis and the damage we’re causing to the planet. With the fast turnover of fashion trends, clothes are being produced at a rapid rate, using unsustainable materials allowing them to be sold at a low cost. The continual need for more clothes and to keep up with trends drives the cycle of poor production and overconsumption further.


Individually we can all do our part to our part to reduce our consumption of clothes and make more sustainable choices, for example buying second hand or upcycling fashion both offering cost friendly solutions to help the planet. However, to see real change big businesses in the fashion industry will need to take action and change how they produce and manufacture their clothes and reduce their carbon emissions. Boycotting fast-fashion businesses and creating a conversation to push for change is another way in which we can individually take action.


Fuel


The energy we consume and use in our everyday lives is also having a massive impact on our environment, polluting the air and water as well as causing land degradation and putting our planet under pressure. Burning fossil fuels produces large quantities of carbon dioxide as well as other harmful emissions such as mercury, sulphur dioxide and particulate pollution. Making small changes in our households to reduce the amount of energy we use can be productive in reducing emissions, however it’s down to large companies and governments to make the big changes necessary, moving towards renewable energy sources to grow a greener energy economy. Boycotting big oil companies which are profiting from the consumption of fossil fuels, making your voice heard surrounding their impact, signing petitions and taking part in protests, whilst educating ourselves on the impact of non-renewable energy on our planet and all ways that we can take action to support sustainable energy production.


Taking action


Individually, we can all do our part and make more sustainable choices, but ultimately it may not be enough, and we need to demand that government and big businesses make the necessary sustainable changes, making noise and creating a conversation around the climate crisis to push world leaders to implement the changes needed. Protests, petitions, and spreading awareness of the stuff that matters. If we don’t take action now, we’ll enter a stage where it’ll be difficult to repair the impact we’ve had, and the future of the planet will be rather bleak. Yes, we are seeing governments gradually making changes and working toward the Sustainable Development Goals, however, more needs to be done more quickly to change the way we consume so that our future is a much more sustainable one than it is at the moment.

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