Climate change, global warming and the environmental crisis are phrases that both you and I hear everyday and that are increasing in conversation every year. So, what can we do to slow down global warming?
What is Climate change?
Climate change refers to the gradual change in temperature, which is increased mainly due to the burning of fossil fuels. This has led to an unnatural increase in natural disasters and extreme weather changes. It has become the greatest threat to the future of the human race, and therefore should be the main factor influencing the choices made by you, me, and everybody else.
The biggest contributor to global warming is the production and waste of energy, which makes up 73% of global emissions. This includes energy use in buildings (homes and businesses), transportation and industry use.
An industry that is particularly damaging to the planet would be the fashion industry. This is responsible for 10% of carbon emissions, as well as 20% of wastewater. Shien has been at the forefront of most campaigns opposing the fast fashion industry, and rightly so:
“The manufacturers’ rapid use of virgin polyester and large consumption of oil churns out the same amount of CO2 as approximately 180 coal-fired power plants” – TIME
The environment is negatively impacted further by other fashion retailers such as BooHoo:
“The carbon emissions increased to 793,926 metric tons the following year and grew further in 2021, when they amounted to over one million metric tons of CO2.” – Statista 2021
Even with the growing desperation to slow down the long-term impacts of carbon emissions, BooHoo show no signs of reducing their carbon footprint.
Second hand shopping
The easiest way for the public to help stop the growth of these huge fast-fashion companies would be to reduce the amount spent on their company’s products. Luckily, the trends within the fashion industry, particularly in gen Z, are evolving into a vintage style.
Second hand shopping is killing four birds with one stone, as it is supporting new trends, as well as reducing clothing waste, being affordable and having no carbon footprint.
Charity shopping is one way in which you can shop second hand, affordable clothes as well as supporting a positive cause. I would recommend charity shops such as Oxfam and Cancer Research, as it seems to be the most organised, as well as common for finding huge brands such as Levi’s and Patagonia. Living in Nottingham, it is by far the best place I have been for going charity shopping, or “thrifting,” as it has so many options for second hand clothes.
White Rose is also a good option for finding vintage pieces, although more on the pricier side, you don’t have to spend as much time rummaging through all the racks to find a good steal. Cow, which is found in most large UK cities, is a vintage store that not only sells second hand clothes, but also upcycles old clothes into new crop-tops or shorts. This is the perfect place to go to find one-of-a-kind pieces. Kilo-sales are also found all over the UK, which is a really fun event to go with friends. This is an event where you can buy 1 kilogram of pre-loved clothes for £20, and if you go early in the morning, you can get some real bargains.
Apps such as Vinted and Depop have been great tools to find second hand clothes online. I would describe Depop as more expensive, as it has very high quality and well-known brands being sold. Vinted is cheaper, however very saturated, so you might be spending more time rooting through the app for good finds. I recommend vinted more, as you are more likely to find a bargain. I found an oversized, vintage black leather jacket on there for £2, and I still haven’t stop talking about it.
Other apps such as Bloc Vintage are also useful, as they are branded as being a specifically vintage retailer. It is a lot more expensive, however their clothes are hand-picked and have verified vintage pieces. When I have more money in the bank than usual, this is the first place I go to find an oversized Nike sweatshirt.
So, if you would like to update your wardrobe without impacting the environment, without spending more than you have to and with one-of-a-kind preloved pieces - second hand shopping is definitely the way to go.