There is no denying that climate change is deteriorating our planet day by day. This is an issue that has bombarded the media for years now, with ways on how we, as a collective, can help save the planet from the crippling damage of the changing climate. As much as I agree and promote all the ways that we can change and adapt our lifestyles to help, is it really all down to us?
The Earth is warming up. Weather patterns are changing drastically, the UK is seeing warmer summers by the year. In 2021, parts of the UK experienced snow showers in the middle of April, which is completely abnormal. From 2015 onwards, the UK has recorded the hottest temperatures since records began, and records show that the planet's temperature has risen since the Industrial Revolution. The planet warming can cause so many disadvantages for the Earth. Ice in the Arctic is 65% thinner than it was in 1975. Inevitably, the ice caps melting mean that sea levels will rise as well, gradually people will have to leave their homes, for example, as the rising sea levels will wipe out buildings.. The UK will experience more and more intensified weather extremes, if we carry on damaging the planet so carelessly.
Humans are the main contributors to climate change. In our every day lives, we may not even be aware of the ways we contribute to damaging our planet. Ordering items online, such as clothing, contributes to climate change, as transporting items in vehicles to your doorstep uses fossil fuels, especially carbon-dioxide emissions. Also, plastic packaging is made from natural gas and oil, which are considered to be fossil fuels, then you have to consider extracting and transporting the gas and oil produces more fossil fuels being emitted into the atmosphere. As we are learning more and more about climate change and the effects that our every day luxuries, privileges and necessities have on the planet, it is easier to adapt our lifestyle to do our little bit. However, what are the big companies doing to help out?
Companies are making changes and raising awareness, for example Netflix producing the 2021 film 'Don't Look Up' created conversations about the seriousness of climate change. The rise in sustainable materials being used for clothing, skincare, makeup and lifestyle items is exceptional, especially in small businesses. Browsing on the small business site Etsy, it is evident that there is a sufficient effort to produce more eco-friendly products, using sustainable materials such as bees-wax and steering away from the use of plastic.
However, there is still a big issue with large, global and popular companies enabling the use of unethical materials and sweatshops. Brands such as Pretty Little Thing have received a huge backlash over the sourcing of their items. Thousands of new items are added to their website every week, with questionably cheap prices, promoting fast fashion. Pretty Little Thing is part of the Boohoo group and in 2020, the Boohoo group was investigated for enabling slavery in their factories, in which an undercover reporter got a job at one of the factories and was paid less than half of the UK's minimum hourly wage.
These big companies that are producing items with unsustainable materials and promoting these to their impressionable audience, around the globe, need to prioritise the effects this will have on the planet.
Ways to Help
Little changes in our daily routines can help out the plant to great lengths. Starting with food. Of course, not everyone can go Vegan due to finances and preference, however having one Vegetarian day a week is a great way to contribute to better climate control, as approximately 1,850 gallons of water are required to produce one pound of beef whereas approximately 39 gallons of water are needed to produce one pound of vegetables. Also, reducing the intake of meat will inevitably reduce the production of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.
Secondly, buying second-hand is such a great way to be sustainable AND ethical. There is a stigma surrounding buying second-hand and from charity shops or sites such as Depop, Vinted and Ebay, but you can find some amazing pieces in there. Reducing our dependence on Fast Fashion, reduces the demand for sweatshops. Also, it is good to bare in mind the '30' rule. 'Am I going to wear this 30 times?', 'Am I going to style this 30 ways?' when buying new clothes, because if you aren't going to wear it enough...what's the point? Also, buying in bulk when you are buying online, for example, is another great tip to help the planet. Buying in bulk instead on one item at a time reduces packaging and the use of transportation, which are two major ways that fossil fuels are emitted into the environment.
It goes without mentioning that it isn't just your average Joe that needs to step up and help the climate, Government bodies and global businesses have to do more. But, if we can adapt the simple things in our lives, even just one small change in the week can help our planet to a huge extent.