Examining the Environmental Impact of Fashion Consumerism

Last week, we had the opportunity to have Malia Brown as a guest speaker in our Sustainability and the Future of Fashion class at LIM. Malia centered her talk around three very important questions: Must we change? Can we change? Will we change? The answer to all of these questions is yes, we must change, we can change, and, hopefully, we will change.

Earth Systems

There was a phrase she used that left us thinking: “We are the only species causing our own extinction.” How is it that everything we do and consume is affecting the Earth and ourselves? From driving a car to producing our clothes and food, all of it has an impact on the environment. We may not realize it, but the four spheres of the earth are connected between each other and when one is affected, the consequences are also felt by the others.

We are creating an excessive amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels and through deforestation. This action, apart from damaging the land and ecosystems living there, is also preventing heat from leaving the earth, and it is ending up in the ocean. What is better named as “ocean warming” has other negative consequences for us like storms, water scarcity and flooding. So basically, we are using more resources than we have available, we are destroying ecosystems on which we depend, and we are risking the only home we have and share.

Being Earth System Thinkers means being aware of the four spheres and how they work and impact our life. It means being conscious of the effect that our lifestyle has on the environment, how one small action can impact the whole system, and, finally, being able to transform those actions into solutions.

We are also part of the system, we are connected to the four spheres, and it is our role to preserve them, to create a sustainable life, and to spread the word in order to have a better future. It’s important to remember to use our choice, use our voice, and use our vote to make an impact and make everyone become Earth System Thinkers.