Are your fast fashion purchases contributing to global warming?

No matter what independent theories people have about global warming the facts are clear. CSRIO concludes that:

  • “Global average annual carbon dioxide (CO2) levels are steadily increasing; they reached 399 parts per million (ppm) in 2015, and the annual value for 2016 is almost certain to be higher than 400 ppm. Current levels are likely the highest in the past two million years. 
  • 2015 was the warmest year on record for the globe since reliable global surface air temperature records began in 1880. The last 15 years are among the 16 warmest years on record.
  • Globally-averaged ocean temperatures and heat content are increasing. Observations reveal this warming extends to at least 2000 m below the surface. 
  • Globally-averaged sea level has risen over 20 cm since the late 19th century, with about one third of this rise due to ocean warming and the rest from melting land ice and changes in the amount of water stored on the land.”


Now how does this relate to the clothes you buy?

To start, let’s have a look at some statistics from Dr James Conca’s Forbes article, which shows us what the fashion industry is doing to the environment:

  • “Nearly 70 million barrels of oil are used each year to make the world’s polyester fiber, which is now the most commonly used fiber in our clothing. But it takes more than 200 years to decompose.
  • More than 150 billion garments are produced annually, enough to provide 20 new garments to every person on the planet, every year.
  • Americans throw away about 70 lbs of clothing per person every year.
  • Fast fashion garments, which we wear less than 5 times and keep for 35 days, produce over 400% more carbon emissions per item per year than garments worn 50 times and kept for a full year.
  • Cheap synthetic fibers also emit gasses like N2O, which is 300 times more damaging than CO2.
  • Over 70 million trees are logged every year and turned into fabrics like rayon, viscose, modal and lyocell.
  • Cotton is the world’s single largest pesticide-consuming crop, using 24% of all insecticides and 11% of all pesticides globally, adversely affecting soil and water.
  • Plastic microfibers shed from our synthetic clothing into the water supply account for 85% of the human-made material found along ocean shores, threatening marine wildlife and ending up in our food supply.
  • The fashion industry is the second biggest polluter of freshwater resources on the planet.
  • A quarter of the chemicals produced in the world are used in textiles.”


So, although you may be the type of eco-conscious person who limits energy, water and chemical usage in the household, have you thought about what purchasing cheap clothing each year does to the environment? Judging from the statistics mentioned above, the fast fashion industry is a HUGE contributor to the world’s global environmental problem, global warming. But if we all play apart in making eco-conscious clothing choices, making a stand against the unethical fast fashion industry, we can make a difference.


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