Huddle in team and let's chat about water!
I'm so stoked that you're here and you're choosin' to play for Team Earth!
Here's the thing, our current collective game plan just isn't making the cut.
Even though 70% of the world is covered in water only 3% of it is fresh...that means 3% fresh water for 7.4 billion people...
783 Million of our team still don't have access to clean and safe drinking water while in the same breath the average cotton t-shirt takes almost 2,500 liters just to produce, never mind the washing or all the ways the fashion industry pollutes waterways with dyes and heavy chemicals!
It was over water where fashion and I really got cosy. I remember being at the beginning of my second year in my Bachelor of Design doing a paper on sustainability and I had decided to do my essay on the cotton industry, specifically on the area of the world where I grew up in: Central Asia.
(In case you're wondering I grew up in a little country called Tajikistan for a significant part of my childhood/early teens where my parents did humanitarian aid work.)
I remember being floored. Like breath-knocked-out-of-me floored as I researched on Uzbekistan, a country I spent many of my summers in as a kid, and I realized so many of the human rights abuses that were going on were directly linked to the cotton industry. What shocked me, even more, was that since the 60s till today the Aral Sea had gone from the FOURTH LARGEST LAKE IN THE WORLD to 90% of it gone. How had this huge body of water just disappeared over 50 years? click here for image
The Aral and her rivers that fed her had been irrigated to grow cotton. And the drying of the Aral brought with it a whole host of other problems, the loss of entire livelihoods of those who depended on the fisheries that used to operate there, toxic pesticide-laden dust that was left behind causing cancers and tuberculosis, extinction of native fish, fauna and animals...it goes on. But the point is that for 50 years the world prioritized cheap cotton over our most basic need. WATER.
It has been known as 'one of the planets worst environmental disasters." But this is just one extreme example of how the mainstream fashion industry has and frankly, still, prioritizes cheap and fast over sustainability and LIFE.
Early last year I was in Bangladesh for a few weeks and I remember this deep feeling of anger and sadness as I drove past the rivers that were a deep dark blues and reds from all the dye run off. As I drove past the endless piles of fabric scraps that spilled off the sides of the roads into the rivers.
I was listening to this fascinating podcast: The Inquiry by the BBC on the water crisis in Cape Town, South Africa. Water has now become the new clear gold with it looking like day zero (when the whole city is out of water) will be around June this year.
And Cape Town is just one of a long list of major cities that are at risk of running out of water. This time it has nothing to do with fashion. But the point is, everywhere we look we are needing to rethink how we care for our water. And by OUR I mean an all-inclusive OUR.
The thing is that all of this is just the ramifications of an old paradigm, and what gets me lit AF at the moment is that THE PARADIGM IS SHIFTING. Want proof? This is it right here. Us, having this conversation! The Millenial Generation. The champions of Team Earth that went before us and paved the way now get to witness the tipping point. Everywhere you turn you can see the shift. It's in the social causes attached to companies, it's in the data when we look at how and where Millenials choose to spend their money which is with companies that hold themselves accountable to Mother Earth and humanity. It's in the vegan cafes that have become the norm. It's in the recycled plastic bottle- high cut, sexy af one-piece on that mega babe at the beach. Its the marriage of ethics, sustainability and swag.
And that comforts me, it gives me fire in my belly, it fuels me, and I know it does you too! But there is still SO MUCH to be done.There are still so many areas that the collective game plan needs revision. And now it's our turn to play our part.
First before we look at how's here's the point I want you to get. Our greatest job right now as Team Earth is not to get caught up in the heaviness of it all, it's not to 'save' Mother Earth while we throw up the middle finger to anyone who doesn't yet 'get it'. It is, as the babe Peta Kelly so perfectly puts it, to "take radical responsibility for your own energy/vibration urgently, as this is your greatest offering to yourself, your business, your family, the collective and the Earth." It is a 3 part energetic, vibrational, action upgrade, and it's urgent.
The big-time, systematic kind of changes that need to take place (and yes, are taking place) are complex, but where we can each start at the ME level and so here's 3 really so-simple-my-two-year-old-could-do-it ways we can start.
-R-E-S-P-E-C-T. What we respect and revere we protect. This one isn't really a 'do' so much as a be. If we be in the respect for water and all it is and means for our life and every other living human, plant, animal, organism on this planet the way we use and protect water will be so different than it currently is.
-Break up with our water addictions. Just turning down the pressure of the shower and having shorter showers makes a big difference! And babes, if you save your legs in the shower, turn the water off while you're shaving and back on to rinse off.
-It's in the things we buy.
One of the biggest ways we can be conscious of our collective water game plan is to buy better, especially when it comes to our clothes. We live in a 'consumer-driven' world. Which is just a fancy way of saying we get to choose. The fashion industry is an incredibly water-dependent industry and while it's not (yet) possible to completely cut out its water dependency, we can definitely play a big part in shifting the needle by:
a. Buy less. It's pretty simple really. Every item of clothing made takes water, every time we buy into the fast fashion game, buying items we probably won't wear more than once or twice, we're just making the wheel spin faster. Buy less, buy quality and buy from companies that really give a shit about the future of our planet.
b. Buy vintage or second hand where you can. My favorite pieces are always vintage finds and second-hand.
denim is always a winner, it just takes a bit of hunting to find the gems.
c.Wash better. Check your washing powders...are they kind to the planet or could you choose a better option? Do you really have to wash that piece every time you wear it? Denim especially can go several wears in between washes.
So water, it's like that skirt tucked into the back of your undies kinda thing...you can't change what you don't know. now we know.
From the Earth to you- thanks for playing for Team Earth.
-Amie B. x
P.S. Let's get the conversation going, leave us a comment with how you upgrade your own gameplan and share this blog if it lands with you.
If you're an earth nerd like me and love diving deep into these kinds of convos you can check out the links I've put below.