The Growing Challenge of Climate Change

By Catarina Dantas

Above all, we must set the example: by fostering energy transitions, investing in sustainable cities, and promoting global awareness. The key to a sustainable future lies in our hands.

Climate change is no longer a scientific hypothesis, a problem for a distant future. It has recently proven to be a generation-defining challenge, a clear and present threat to our collective survival. 

Last summer, record temperatures caused wildfires to burn vast natural reserves on the Western Coast of the United States. The amount of carbon dioxide thrown in the atmosphere was superior to the UK’s entire power sector’s annual emissions. 

Around the same time, a severe drought made the Pantanal wetlands in Brazil an easy target for a deadly combination of human-made and natural wildfires. The loss of biodiversity in one of the world’s top wildlife sanctuaries was genuinely heartbreaking. The images of desperate jaguars cornered by the burning vegetation were a metaphor of our condition in the face of anthropogenic climate change.

Super-storms in the South Atlantic, giant hurricanes in the Gulf, melting ice-caps in the Arctic: the evidence of the damage we are causing to our planet is overwhelming. And yet, many individuals, corporations, and governments either deny the problem or refuse to act with the necessary vigor. 

We cannot stand idle. We must move now: by electing committed leaders, fighting obscurantism, and supporting international environmental cooperation under the Paris Agreement. Above all, we must set the example: by fostering energy transitions, investing in sustainable cities, and promoting global awareness. The key to a sustainable future lies in our hands.

The Beginning of the End

By Carol Khorramchahi

The remnants of another world are still all around me, but that world feels so different. I live in a place where you can’t go outside. I’ve crossed universes into another planet. Is this the big disaster of my generation?

We grew up surrounded by the frills of the cinematic world, the movies where high school was portrayed as a place where you’d either look for the bullies pushing you into lockers or where the class would break into song, mid-class, with a perfectly rehearsed choreography and a freeze frame of them jumping, with graduation caps mi-air and red curtains closing on their school years. As a person that tends to go by the “glass half full” type of attitude, I chose the “High School Musical” route when dreaming of what’d it be like to be a “big kid.” Safe to say, this looks nothing like High School Musical.

Every morning for the past three years, I would come to my dining room and tell my mom “I don’t want to go to school today,” when choosing between waking up early and my bed. My mom always told me “be careful what you wish for, God works in mysterious ways and the universe is listening to everything we are saying now.” I’d laugh it off, I knew it was true, but I knew I could handle whatever God, or the universe threw at me that would make me not able to attend class. Or I thought I did anyway.

Screen Shot 2020-10-30 at 7.50.44 PMWe later found that the seven days away from school, had turned into seven weeks, rapidly growing into seven months. Life was put on pause and put into an alternate universe. I remember writing the following extract mid quarantine, about three months ago, where the light at the end of the tunnel was nowhere to be seen. “This can’t be real. It’s everything but real. School isn’t a place you go to anymore, class is just an awkward video chat over your tablet. It’s odd, but not that bad. Did we ever see our friends in real life? Did we ever touch a pencil? Did we ever do school in a uniform? The remnants of another world are still all around me, but that world feels so different. I live in a place where you can’t go outside. I’ve crossed universes into another planet. Is this the big disaster of my generation? Is this the large event that we tell our grandkids about?  I can practically see myself sitting in a rocking chair, telling my grandkids, “Oh I remember when that old virus struck… Everyone was so excited to get out of school… It was a different time back then.” It feels like I’m living through something big… so big that it fills up the outside air like a thick syrup. Every once and awhile, a little seeps in and you remember – it’s syrup outside. I could die out there. Then you throw the syrup away and try to forget. It’s all too easy to forget what came before – I think I already have.”

Flash forward to Monday, 26th of October, the infamous day we all counted down: back to school. I had it all planned out in my head, starting high school, university hunt activated, the beginning of the end. The wind howling as we arrive through the gates, hustling and bustling down the corridors. Friends greeting each other with a hug or a playful punch while newcomers would stand looking scared. The seniors standing, tall and proud, confidence born of experience. Soon the bells would ring  and everybody would run except an occasional slowcoach or chatterbox. Everybody going in except one and all is quiet; smiling to myself. “Another school year begins,” I’d think before smiling and running in to join the others. Too cheesy? Thought so, but it’d be something along those lines. 

Today, as I practically skipped through the school gates, without Mr. Bair’s high five, or Jackson’s huge smile, which I could only make out from the smile wrinkles around his eyes. I looked around, everyone 2 meters apart, with our strings tugging at our hearts, tempting us to get closer. I realised what growing up was all about, what being a “big kid” in high school consisted of: growing up. We lived through three years of middle school with our Portuguese teacher telling us, “You won’t make it in high school if you don’t mature, start to be a citizen of the world.” And that’s exactly what we did today. To mature one’s psychology requires ongoing effort for a lifetime, otherwise, like the ignored muscle, it can wither. It’s about being flexible, being the lamb in some situations and the lion in others. 

So although I should’ve been careful about what I wished for a few months ago, although I should’ve maybe lowered my expectations going into high school, and although hugs won’t be happening so soon, we can still have our own High School Musical experience. Maybe not breaking into song mid class, not too sure Mr. Bair would find that funny. It may not have started the way we wanted to, but it will still end with our graduation caps mid-air, beaming smiles and butterflies escaping from the pit of our stomachs (masks or no masks).

The 5 Easy Steps to Quickly Say Nothing and Pretend like you Contribute

By Felipe Bauer

Getting people to read your writing is all about having a point that feeds into people’s confirmation biases, a title that’s highly controversial, and an image.

“Hooke’s law is a law of physics that states that the force (F) needed to extend or compress a spring by some distance (x) scales linearly with respect to that distance” (“Hooke’s Law”). That means that further you deviate from the title of your essay at the start (x) the greater the force your hook will be, as the reader wonders what is the correlation between the thing they payed for (in kindness, because we do this for free) and whatever desperate attempt at comedic relevancy the author is attempting. 476f6f640a. It’s kind of like being a social media influencer. Getting people to read your writing is all about having a point that feeds into people’s confirmation biases, a title that’s highly controversial, and an image.

The “point” part is usually called a “thesis,” in which you state your focus and your arguments to prove you are right. It is usually followed by the most boring sentence of your piece, as you struggle to gain your footing after spending over 60 minutes thinking of Hooke. That is your first topic sentence. As a matter of fact, all topic sentences are boring, like social media influencers, because they have to connect with the next paragraph, and as someone who wants to get off on minimal work, you can’t be bothered writing a joke that will span multiple paragraphs and actually be intelligent. 

As a matter of fact, experts claim that only 10% of people will make it past your title. Most will be turned off by it’s controversy, some by it’s uselessness. Those who make it past the title will then check it the article contains an image, followed by a skim over the introductory paragraph. It is important, to leave something extremely random and confusing in the first few sentences for seemingly no reason. This forces the few active readers to check through your body paragraphs for clues, like that hexadecimal is a great coding system. People with English degrees call these things “literary devices.” An example would be the recurring motif of mentioning social medial influencers for no reason. I, on the other hand call them “making it seem like I made more than one draft, even though I’m totally making this up as I go along.”

The 5 Easy Steps to Quickly Say Nothing and Pretend like you Contribute

Including an image somewhere between the third and second paragraph is crucial for reader retention. They can play the role of distracting the reader from the fact that you have no idea what you are doing and completely forgot what that great joke was you came up with when you were in the middle of your introduction. This might not even be necessary if your target audience are social media influencers. Such a method has an effectiveness of 47%, and that is because images between paragraphs serve to completely break the flow off the essay. Preferably make them as large as possible, with no text. That is because the areas of the brain responsible for word and image comprehension are completely different, forcing a break in the first to activate the second.

Now that you have the random images, the dumb titles, and the well crafted thesis that always comes off worse when re-written for the conclusion, how do you make sure the readers keep coming back for more? The key word is interaction. Ask rhetorical questions. Make a random sixth point in your 5 step guide instead of actually writing a conclusion, making the conclusion and the thesis much longer than your body paragraphs. Those make the reader feel like they are part of the text, and have a connection with you, the author. That voice they make for you in their heads will make sure they see you as more then words in a piece of paper. Another piece of advice, and this goes for those trying go attract a more intellectual crowd, is to include random facts. In verbal or numerical form. Can be correct or completely made up, sourced or unsourced. It just needs to sound the slightest bit believable so that nobody actually bothers checking if there are sources. Soon, there will be hundreds of people saying that the brain uses two different sectors for word and image recognition. When someone finally decides to check it that’s correct, the only Google result will be your article. Then the entire population will be split in two sides: those who are hooked on your big brain, and the social media influencers.

COR MusEUM

By Elisa Uccello

The walls would have pictures
of you, in your favorite blue shirt.
Maybe it was grey.
The color got lost somewhere
like us.

Behind broken glass, letters
I wrote but never sent.
Would you have read them,
under the stars,
to find out I love you?

Is love an art?

A wooden hanger
would hold the shirt I gave you.
That room would smell like you;
like hugs, and smiles, but sometimes
like yearning.

Does love have a meaning, or is it
the meaning?
It doesn’t matter
as long as it’s real.

In the furthest end of the hall
there would be a room; but
the door would always
be locked.
Inside, the things I fear.

You can’t go in, or maybe
you’re already there,
and I’m not.

Either way,
I’m the prisoner.

Did we discover love
or did we invent it?
Or does it not exist
outside of our minds?
I walk around,
entering and leaving
heart full of rooms,
rooms full of art, hoping.

Maybe one day,
I’ll see you in my museum.
Then I’ll leave,
so you can have it.

It was always meant to be yours.

American Film Noir

By Joao T. Corbett

American Film Noir

From “The Maltese Falcon”

What is Film Noir?

In the dark and tight spaces of urban America, a new genre of film was developed. A style reflective of its historical backgrounds of the great depression and the second world war. It is a style characterized by its cynical and existentialist heroes, employing frequent use of flashbacks, and intricate plots. Dubbed “film noir” in 1946 by French-Italian critic Nino Frank, this genre evolved out of the crime dramas of the 1930s, whose romanticized prohibition-era gangsters inspired the detectives of film noir. 

Lighting

Film Noir is known for its innovative lighting which evolved out of the Weimar-era German expressionist style. The main characterization of the lightning is actually the lack of it. Darkness often disturbed only by a weak street light can create a feeling of mystery, and discomfort. This, matched with their soften depressive settings of early rainy mornings, delpitated apartments and dark streets illuminated only by the shimmering halos of street lights helps reinforce the idea of a mysterious plot, and a cynical society. 

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The use of lightning in Billy Wilder’s “Double Indemnity” helps portray the protagonist’s moral decline.

Characters and Themes

The hero of a Noir film is often a lonely man (almost always a detective) who has developed, as a consequence of their environment, a cynic attitude towards life. This leads to them having a fatalistic look on the society around them, and consequently being alienated from it. These characters developed from the many veterans arriving back home from years in the second world war, finding that the society they had left to protect had become totally unrecognizable, leading to them becoming alienated and developing these characteristics. The noir genre also makes avid use of moral ambiguity leading to viewers often sympathizing with their protagonists, and eagerly falling their detective journey through the entirety of the movie. 

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Humphrey Bogart, considered by many to be the face of Film Noir. 

Sources

https://www.britannica.com/art/film-noir

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-h1ceF9ToI&t=18s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K77aPil7btM

Mental Illness in the Music Industry: Is There Hope?

By Vitória Arantes

It is crucial for the musician to have an oasis; an escape in the midst of chaos. Those who are lucky enough, find their nirvana in the process of music making. 

There is no doubt that modern day musicians are in an endless game against anxiety. Money problems, self medication, and the pressure to please the public are life changing factors that might become great issues in the artist’s life if not treated correctly. Being a musician is a rather emotional rollercoaster, filled with the ups and downs of the thrills of life. However, it is also very exhausting and takes up most of the artist’s energy. According to Genius Magazine, in 2019, the digital distribution platform Record Union conducted a research regarding the music industry. The survey stated that more than 73 percent of independent music makers suffer from symptoms of mental illness, and that anxiety and depression were the most common conditions mentioned in the songs. It is crucial for the musician to have an oasis; an escape in the midst of chaos. Those who are lucky enough, find their nirvana in the process of music making. 

In light of the news that Kid Cudi’s and Kanye West’s Kids See Ghosts collaborative album is possibly making a comeback, it is only fair to analyze a successful example of how music managed to heal a musician’s wounds. 

“I was ecstatic to be alive,” says Cudi to Esquire Magazine when discussing Kids See Ghosts, a collaborative album launched in July 2018 with the rapper Kanye West. Followed by some time spent in rehab in 2016 and a year off making music due to depression, Scott premiered his comeback alongside Ye, who was not only a shoulder to Cudi, but also a mentor who was crucial in Cudi’s path to recovery through music. “I felt a little bit more confident because I had my friend lifting me up,” Kid Cudi stated when questioned about the role that Kanye played during the music making process. The self titled album was released through the label imprints, GOOD Music (an American record label founded by Kanye in 2004, co-signed by Def Jam Recordings), and Wicked Awesome Records. It also has a total of seven songs all produced by Kanye and Kid Cudi, along with the collaboration of worldwide known artists like André 3000, Justin Vernon, Cashmere Cat, and so on.

Mental Illness in the Music Industry: Is There Hope?

“Kids See Ghosts”: a hip hop duo formed by Kid Cudi (left) and Kanye West (right).

The album is filled with messages and symbols that reflect on Cudi’s journey and how he managed to emerge from a catastrophe, stronger and better than ever. In the song “Reborn,” for instance, the hip-hop duo sing about rising above their errors and overcoming the “lemons” that life gives you with lyrics like “I’m movin’ forward,” and “peace is somethin’ that starts with me.” Clearly, the rappers grew a very fruitful harvest with those “lemons,” because two Gold-certified singles (“Feel the Love” & “4th Dimension”), one Platinum track (“Reborn”) and a No. 2 debut on the Billboard 200 albums chart does not grow on trees.

Mental Illness in the Music Industry; Is There Hope?

Album cover of “Kids See Ghosts” debut album. Artwork designed by the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami.

On most “recent” events, during an interview with Complex in September 2019, Cudi confirmed his and Kanye’s plan to develop more Kids See Ghosts projects. “There will be more Kids See Ghosts albums. Kanye already told me he wants to start working on the second one,” affirms Cudi. Although this might seem like it is not happening anymore because it was announced over a year ago, an artist’s work should never be rushed. Furthermore, a fan that encountered Cudi on the streets in December 2019, made a tweet testifying that the rapper stated he was working on the album during that time. Could there be hope, after all?

Mental Illness in the Music Industry; Is There Hope?

Tweet made by a fan when encountering Kid Cudi. Via Twitter.

“I’m really learning the art of pacing myself. I don’t think I knew how to pace myself before. I was always just like, ‘Work, work, work, work, work. This is my dream. Ain’t no telling how long it’s going to last.’ …Whenever we feel like we’ve seen it all in life, or there’s nothing more to do, God tells you, ‘Yo, you’re not done here. You still have more work to do here.’” Kid Cudi, on how collaborating with Yeezus helped him balance his work mentality and take one step at a time. 

Thankfully, Scott Mescudi managed to release himself from the chains that his mental illness pinned him into and consequently, showed to the world that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Kid Cudi’s breakthrough served as an example to the world that embracing what holds you down is better than trying to blind yourself from it. Kid See Ghosts is a clear example that there are always better and healthier alternatives to overcoming your obstacles. Cudi used his passion – music – as a way out, and the commitment he made to living in alignment with what makes his heart skip beats played a significant role in his healing. After all, this is what we should all live for: passion. It is what tingles our sense of individuality and stimulates us towards innovation. 

Mental Illness in the Music Industry; Is There Hope?

The album’s “price tag” showing its tracklist, awards, collaborators, producers and release date.

Sources

https://www.complex.com/music/2018/12/kid-cudi-mental-health-red-table-talk

https://artists.spotify.com/blog/a-psychologists-take-on-mental-health-for-musicians

https://www.complex.com/music/2020/10/kid-cudi-says-recording-kids-see-ghosts-with-kanye-west-saved-him

https://genius.com/a/kid-cudi-speaks-on-how-kids-see-ghosts-helped-him-overcome-self-doubt-after-rehab

https://genius.com/a/kid-cudi-confirms-kids-see-ghosts-2-explains-why-he-didn-t-want-kanye-west-too-involved-in-his-early-music#:~:text=Learn%20More-,Kid%20Cudi%20Confirms%20’Kids%20See%20Ghosts%202’%20%26%20Explains%20Why,Involved%20In%20His%20Early%20Music&text=%22I%20had%20my%20single%20with,my%20albums%20were%20all%20me.%22 

Brasil: uma “Democracia Racial”?

Pedro Henrique Tauil

A perpetuação da ideia que o Brasil apresenta uma “democracia racial” acaba, dessa forma, impedindo que esse problema seja tratado com a devida seriedade pela sociedade brasileira.

O termo “democracia racial” advém da ideia de uma sociedade em que o indivíduo não sofreria nenhum impedimento em sua vida social, política e econômica baseado na “raça simbólica” que apresenta. Sendo assim, é contraditório que um país com um passado escravista tão presente em sua história, como o Brasil, tenha a percepção amplamente difundida que há essa “democracia racial” estabelecida na sociedade brasileira. Apesar disso, os defensores dessa ideia, que tem suas origens em uma corrente sociológica do início do século XX, apontam para a miscigenação da população brasileira como a principal evidência que não há racismo no Brasil. Segundo essa ideia, durante o período escravista, a relação entre escravo e senhor não teria uma natureza opressiva, mas cordial, apesar do trabalho forçado. Nesse sentido, a mistura entre europeus, africanos, indígenas, e seus descendentes, seria fruto de relações consensuais e de uma noção humanista de igualdade difundida em todas as camadas da sociedade colonial. Essa visão é evidentemente baseada em uma perspectiva idealizada da sociedade no período colonial da história brasileira. É conhecido que o Brasil Colônia foi fundado por meio da violência contra os povos nativos e desenvolvido a partir do amplo tráfico de africanos escravizados, ambos eventos que tiveram grande impacto na estrutura social da população brasileira. Mesmo com ocorrências eventuais de uniões consensuais, é aceito atualmente que a miscigenação brasileira foi produto de violência sexual contra mulheres indígenas e africanas escravizadas, o que refuta qualquer tentativa de apresentar essa miscigenação como fruto de uma relação “cordial”.

Em contraste com a narrativa romântica de ideais de igualdade difundidos na sociedade colonial, a população brasileira foi formada a partir de centenas de anos de opressão institucionalizada na forma da escravidão. Ademais, mesmo depois da escravidão houve políticas públicas que se embasavam em conceitos racistas, como a eugenia, que pregava a “superioridade genética” de pessoas brancas. Esse é o caso da grande campanha para a imigração de europeus que ocorreu durante a República Velha (1889 – 1930), mais especificamente entre 1890 e 1920. Nessa ocasião, mais de 50% das passagens em direção a São Paulo eram financiadas pelo governo estadual. Além disso, a falta de planejamento para o destino dos descendentes de africanos no período pós-abolição levou à exclusão econômica e social desse grupo, que acabou sofrendo com a pobreza e a miséria. Esses fatores foram ainda impulsionados pela falta de políticas sociais e a competição injusta no mercado de trabalho com os imigrantes europeus, favorecidos pelo racismo da sociedade brasileira. Essa exclusão, quando reforçada pelo Estado na forma das políticas higienistas da virada do século XIX para o XX, que visavam “limpar” os centros urbanos brasileiros, acabou criando bolsões de pobreza e miséria nos subúrbios das grandes metrópoles brasileiras, que viriam a ser as favelas.

As consequências herdadas do período escravista e das políticas racistas da República Velha não se limitam ao surgimento das favelas, fenômeno presente em todas as grandes metrópoles brasileiras. É possível verificar os efeitos que a exclusão categórica de indivíduos baseada na “raça simbólica”, já que a genética provou que não há diferenças significativas no DNA humano para sustentar a existência de “raças”, dura até hoje. Um exemplo disso é a concentração de renda entre os descendentes de europeus, apontada pela Síntese de Indicadores Sociais do IBGE em 2014. Também nesta pesquisa, foi mostrado que os indivíduos considerados “Pretos e Pardos” eram o grupo que possuía a renda mais baixa na sociedade brasileira. Isso em conjunto com a baixa qualidade do serviço público brasileiro, em especial a saúde e educação, gera uma desigualdade de oportunidades que é transgeracional. Apesar de a escravidão ter sido abolida há mais de 130 anos, os descendentes dos africanos escravizados ainda são prejudicados pelo racismo decorrente da estrutura em que a sociedade brasileira foi criada. A perpetuação da ideia que o Brasil apresenta uma “democracia racial” acaba, dessa forma, impedindo que esse problema seja tratado com a devida seriedade pela sociedade brasileira.

Por meio da análise do processo de formação da sociedade brasileira, sujeito à ideologia colonial e escravista, e pela verificação de evidências empíricas do prejuízo que essa formação causou ao grupo de “Pretos e Pardos”, que compõe a maioria da população brasileira, é possível garantir que não há nenhuma veracidade na afirmação que o Brasil é, atualmente, uma “democracia racial”. Contrariamente, o oposto pode ser visto, com a exclusão e opressão histórica desse grupo tendo consequências duradouras, que permeiam diversos aspectos da sociedade brasileira. Sendo assim, a noção que o Brasil é uma “democracia racial” deveria ser substituída pela consciência das desigualdades históricas presentes no país, que impedem a integração completa do “povo” brasileiro.

Declan McKenna Art Piece

By Leo Landry

Declan McKenna is an English singer and songwriter. He is most well known for his album “What Do You Think About The Car,” which he released at the young age of 18. I was introduced to him by my older brother two years ago. I decided to draw the cover of the aforementioned album because it is my favorite work by him.

Moments of Happiness: EAB Moments’ Yellow September Project

By Fernanda Ferreira, EAB Moments’ Vice President

Moments of Happiness 1

“Photography is the only language that can be understood anywhere in the world”, said the famous french photographer Bruno Barbey. Photography is one of the most recent, yet extremely powerful, ways of expressing ourselves through art. As most of you probably – and hopefully – know, EAB Moments is EAB’s photography club. Not only that, but we also represent a group of students who document our school life through art and passion using photography. Our club serves the purpose of meaningfully eternizing the moments of our community.

Since art and emotion are almost intertwined, we feel the need to engage in some sort of motivational project every year during Yellow September. It’s the month in which each one of us can somewhat impact the lives of the ones who are merged into the darkness of mental illnesses and filled with hopelessness about their lives. It’s the month in which each one of us gathers to try preventing suicide and promoting life. Not only as artists but as humans, we feel the need to help each other in such an important cause.

This year, we have decided to take a different approach: instead of emotionally shocking our audience, we felt that we already had enough drama this year. Thus, we took a positive and inspirational approach. Our project Moments of Happiness aims at emphasizing the beauty of the most simple, yet meaningful things in our lives. Since we eternize moments using photography, we decided to ask people around the school to share with us a picture of something that made them feel happy with themselves and the world. We intended to evoke, even for a little moment, a positive insight, and to remind people of their moments of happiness.

Something as simple as a picture with you playing with your pets, or a beautiful sunset, reminds you of a reason to feel proud and filled with joy. Moments of happiness are never about expensive, rare, and extraordinary moments but, rather of subtle, daily events that make us realize how fascinating it is to be alive. How each and every moment is an opportunity to grow, to laugh, to be around your loved ones. This is what we should remind ourselves daily, but especially during Yellow September. If art can so easily move us emotionally, we believe that art can heal.

Please appreciate some of the Moments of Happiness that we have captured so far. Find much more on our Instagram page.

Moments of Hapiness 2

Sustainably Fashionable?

Maybe don’t shop till you drop…

By Veronica Streibel-May

Screen Shot 2020-10-01 at 5.01.58 PM

Above: See Cate Blanchett rock the same dress on two different occasions. From the Film Festival in 2018 to the Golden Globes Awards in 2014.  There is no such thing as “last season” when it’s simply recycling a stunning, timeless look. Reduce, reuse and recycle!

What does it mean?

I take a long glance at my closet and never do I stop and consider what it took for me to end up with these clothes in my possession. How spending 20 dollars resulted in way more than just losing money.

When we think of sustainability and the environment normally we don’t immediately connect this to our wardrobe choices. You may be questioning the relevance and as to how the clothes on your back could possibly be related to the insane wildfires in California. We live in a society where we can’t separate these things into separate categories anymore. With the environment being such a big topic of discussion in today’s modern world, we become more aware of every little factor. Fashion and design, production as well as its distribution plays a key role in this climate crisis.

Luckily, there is a way to take an ethical route when it comes to staying stylish and being environmentally conscious. Shopping from sustainable brands that use recycled materials and undertake ethical labour practices is a step in the right direction. A step into the future where we are eco-conscious and take into consideration the socio-economic aspects of the fashion industry. This is an enormous  industry and will continue to grow. We can do our part and make sure it’s at least sustainable.

Beginning to the End

We start with the production phase. So designing, the production of raw materials and of course the manufacturing. Splitting it up into two parts we look at the environmental aspect that refers to the way in which natural resources are being used throughout the whole process and choosing renewable energy sources throughout the clothing’s entire journey. Keeping in mind the air pollution while manufacturing and delivering these products as well.

The use of water and the devastating reality that a simple shirt on average requires 3,000 liters of water to produce. To compare, the average american uses roughly 60 liters for one shower. On a larger scale, in 2015 the whole fashion industry used 79 billion cubic meters of water- this translates to 32 Olympic-sized pools.These figures are predicted to increase by 50% over the next ten years while we keep in mind the earth’s water resources are already running low.  ⅔ of the world’s water use goes into clothes (mainly due to textile production), which is an insane amount.

The other half we need to look at is the economic lens and its major role in society and therefore also the idea of sustainable fashion. This considers the workers’ perspective and the ethics. Are they being paid reasonably? In what sort of conditions are they working?

After companies have done their part by being sustainable, now we look at the consumer. That’s us. What do we do? The way we use or reuse clothes. That part is our responsibility.

The 5 Ways to Sustainability

  1. Green and clean during the entirety of the clothes’ lives.
  2. High quality that is intended and made made to last
  3. Fair and ethical. This refers to the human working conditions and that animal rights were valued.
  4. Repair and upcycle. Changing it and making it something else once you’re “done” with the clothes. Or sewing up a rip before disposing of the clothing.
  5. Vintage / second hand. Being reused and getting more use out of these products before they’re truly destroyed.

The Problem: Fast Fashion

It’s easy to fall into this rabbit hole that these ‘fast fashion’ brands create for us consumers. They offer trendy pieces at low prices. What more could we want? These clothes are not made to last. The fabrics and materials which these companies are using, more than 60 % of these fabrics are synthetics (which we get from fossil fuels). Meaning that once you throw away that T-shirt from H&M that only lasted a few months it will end up in the landfill or possibly the ocean where it will outlive the oldest vampire. These microfibres do not decay so these articles of clothing are literally immortal. Imagine what people would think when they looked at the hideous trends from 2020 and laugh because they were never able to decompose.

There’s more: textile dyes are highly toxic (for both humans as well as animals) causing disease or perhaps carcinogenic. So it contributes to environmental degradation alongside unfair labour which is inhuman for workers due to the potential dangers. In China, certain rivers have been classified as “too polluted for human contact” because of these chemical toxins. Believe it or not textile dyeing is the second largest contributor to water pollution, after agriculture. Especially in developing countries, this is a huge issue.

The Trick

BEWARE. Marketing is half the battle when it comes to fashion companies selling themselves to the younger generation. They claim to produce a line of clothing that uses only “organic” cotton and recycled polyester. In essence they falsely advertise themselves as green and sustainable. H&M being an example of this with their clothing line named “Conscious”, claiming to be environmentally friendly. However this is not the case as they too will use 20,000 liters of water to produce one men’s “green” long sleeved shirt. They get away with this label as the definition of green is so broad. Having one line that is rumoured to be sustainable is a trap for consumers as they get lost on the website and end up back in the “normal” section. These brands lure customers in with these terms yet still do nothing of value for the environment. Make sure to do your research beforehand.

Here are some options:

The Reality

Quantity matters. They say quality over quantity and this applies to the fashion industry with no exceptions. How much you buy with each trip to the mall has a real impact. Short answer: buy less. This may sound brutal to our shopaholics and especially now during these trying times where online shopping has become a best friend. Sacrifice is crucial if we want to make a real change. Question the true necessity of having an overflowing closet. With this fragile planet facing so many other issues, let this be your contribution.

Sources

What Is Sustainable Fashion?

Fashion companies use greenwashing to lie to consumers

https://edition.cnn.com/style/article/back-to-basics-natural-fabrics-sept/index.html

https://greendreamer.com/journal/what-is-sustainable-fashion

https://edition.cnn.com/style/article/common-myths-about-ethical-and-sustainable-fashion-sept/index.html

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2452072119300413

https://www.whowhatwear.com/affordable-sustainable-fashion-brands/slide31

https://www.theconsciouschallenge.org/ecologicalfootprintbibleoverview/water-clothing

https://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/fashion-beauty/article/2146342/seven-celebrities-who-dare-rewear-recycling-brings-touch