planet earth first poster on a concrete post

Source: Pexels by Lauris Rozentāls

Earlier this month, the COP27 summit took place in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. According to the Guardian, one breakthrough of the COP was the European Union’s agreement to fund developing nations for loss and damage caused by global heating. Despite this development though, the head of the EU executive, Ursula von der Leyen, described the outcome as “a small step towards climate justice”, noting that much more still needs to be done to meet climate goals. Moreover, in the aftermath of the more recent UN climate summit, climate experts and campaigners have warned that the world is still “on the brink of climate catastrophe”.

Whilst we are indeed facing the increasing severity of the climate emergency, with several tipping points potentially having been crossed already, there are still actions we can take to lower global heating. This article will discuss the benefits of second-hand shopping in reducing the impact of carbon emissions and will examine positive steps individuals can take to help save the planet.

Second-hand shopping

According to Green With Less, every new item we consume has an impact on the environment. This is where second-hand shopping comes in to help us lower our carbon footprints. By buying clothes second-hand, we are reusing items that have already been produced and which would otherwise end up in landfills. As such, shopping sustainably or second-hand allows us to reduce the overall number of items we consume as a population and, therefore, lowers the environmental impact of those items.

One second-hand clothing initiative I recently discovered is Thrift+. Founded in 2017, Thrift+ was set up to make it easier for individuals and brands to re-sell unwanted items through free ThriftBags.

With the fashion industry being responsible for 10% of total greenhouse gas emissions being emitted, and a massive 85% of items it produces going to landfill, Thrift+ is on a mission to clean up the industry and create a circular model where buying second-hand clothes is everyone’s first choice. What’s more, every sale made also makes a contribution to raising funds for important charities and social causes. A lot of my recent wardrobe acquisitions have been items I have found on Thrift+ and knowing that I have played a part in helping the environment truly does make for a guilt-free shopping experience. It is also an extremely affordable way of having fun with fashion and showcasing your individual style, so it’s a win all round!

Make do and mend

Just as shopping second-hand can help lower the impact of our consumption on the environment, learning some basic mending techniques to preserve our clothes, rather than buying new ones, also helps create less waste and saves the planet’s natural resources. According to blogger Lily Fulop, mending is “a way of repairing clothes that have holes, stains, or other signs of wear to make them more useful and beautiful. It’s about using what you have, embracing imperfections, fixing what’s broken, and rejecting the idea that newer is better.”

Another point worth mentioning is that with the rise of fast fashion and ever-changing trends, clothes are being produced much more cheaply and are, sadly, just not made to last. However, if we try to be more mindful about our purchase choices, and re-wear more of the pieces we already have, then our collective action may help turn the fashion industry on its head and see a transition towards slow, ethical fashion.

In a nutshell, those are some actions we can take to limit the amount of physical goods we acquire, reduce our carbon footprint, and waste less. It is true to say that there is indeed no Planet B and we are facing an unprecedented climate emergency. But every little action we take in our daily lives to lower our own impact on the environment contributes towards tackling rising global temperatures.

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