Day 11

Fashion

SPONSORED BY DIVACUP

OVERVIEW

“Everything we personally own that’s made, sold, shipped, stored, cleaned, and ultimately thrown away does some environmental harm every step of the way, harm that we’re either directly responsible for or is done on our behalf.” 
Yvon Chouinard, Founder, Patagonia 

Consider what you’re wearing today. Do you remember where or when you bought your cozy sweater, favorite jeans, go-to t-shirt or other wardrobe staples?

 In addition to considering what you’re wearing, think about who you’re wearing. Whose hands made your clothes, picked the cotton for your t-shirt, sewed your sweater or dyed your jeans? 

We live in a world of fast fashion where companies churn out high volumes of low-priced clothing at the devastating expense of workers and our planet. In the world’s least developed countries, an estimated 40 million people sew more than 1.5 billion garments in 250,000 factories and sweatshops each year. In many cases, these workers are not provided with fair wages or ethical working conditions. Companies like Zara and Forever 21 process 1 million garments per day; imagine the resources – both human and otherwise – required for such operations, and where these garments end up after being worn.

Now think about the materials and chemicals used to make clothes. Cotton, one of the fashion industry’s commonly used textiles, is among the most pesticide-intensive crops. Conventional cotton uses approximately 16% of the world’s insecticides and 7% of its pesticides. It is estimated that a single pound of cotton requires at least one-third of a pound (136 grams) of pesticides to produce. To put this in perspective, it takes half a pound (227 grams) of cotton to make your average t-shirt. To make matters worse, cotton requires more water than most other crops with every pair of jeans taking 1,800 gallons of water.

The $3 trillion fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. According to the Responsibility in Fashion website, “the most destructive effects of the global fashion industry result from pesticide overuse in cotton production, dumping of hazardous chemicals used in leather tanning, water pollution and emissions from textile dyeing and finishing, toxic chemicals used in dry cleaning and widespread exploitation of workers.”  

The output of the apparel and footwear industries is 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. That accounts for more than international flights and shipping combined! Emissions stem from textile production, to international shipping, to disposal of garments in landfills or incinerators.At its rapidly expanding rate, the fashion industry may be responsible for a full quarter of global emissions by 2050.

The good news is that consumers (us!) can make informed decisions with our fashion choices. When considering getting a new clothing item, refer to the Buyerarchy of Needs: use what you have, borrow, swap, thrift, make, then buy – in that order. When you choose to use what you already have, borrow, swap, or thrift, you extend the life of clothing that already exists and don’t contribute to further negative impacts of the fast fashion industry. And you’ll likely save a lot of money! 

If you’re looking to buy something new, there are many companies in the industry working toward positive outcomes through deep commitment and innovation. Businesses like Patagonia are committed to “building the best product, causing no unnecessary harm, and using business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” Eileen Fisher, Indigenous, Reformation, Nau, Nudie Jeans, and others prioritize human rights, worker rights and ethical supply chains as guiding principles. 

Websites like Good On You assess and rate the ethical standards of clothing and accessory brands based on impact upon people, place and animals. Transparency between consumers and producers underscores the importance of buying from responsible brands. 

Nonprofits like today’s partner, Fibershed, are developing regional fiber systems that build soil and protect the health of our biosphere, mitigating climate impact. Green America is working to help steer your clothing dollars toward companies with fair labor practices, helping create a system that respects workers’ rights. 

It’s up to you to drive demand for ethical fashion! Shopping second-hand, upcycling, trading clothes or investing in better brands upfront makes a powerful statement to support responsible, sustainable, fair trade fashion that benefits both people and planet.

CHALLENGE

Green

20 POINTS

Think

The average American throws away almost 10 pounds of clothing each year. We can and must all do more to keep clothing out of landfills by swapping, buying used, repairing or upcycling.

Challenge

Watch today’s video and read up on Green America’s Toxic Textiles Report. With this information fresh in your mind, write your own definition of fast fashion (maximum 50 words).

Next, assess your role in the fashion industry.

  • What brands do you currently buy?
  • Where do you shop? (3 retail or online stores) 
  • Are you contributing to fast fashion?

Deliverables

Upload a PDF document with your responses. Please include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.

Submission Guidelines

  • If you do not see an upload button, you need to log in
  • Submit all entries as PDFs; no Word or Pages documents
  • Be sure to include all content for your submission in one document
  • Save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_green_2019.pdf)
  • Do not include # or spaces in filenames
  • Do not upload a file larger than 5 MB
  • Link to images, if possible
  • You will see a confirmation in green that your submission uploaded correctly; if you do not see this confirmation, please try again
  • If your total points does not change, your submission did not load correctly, please try again
  • Send any questions to info@turninggreen.org
  • Don’t forget to post about the challenge and your learnings/doings on social media and tag us on Facebook @TurningGreen, on Twitter @TurningGreenOrg, and on Instagram @TurningGreenOrg and use #PGC2019
The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

Greener

40 POINTS

Think

Does your favorite shirt have a label that says, “made with 100% pesticide-sprayed cotton, chemical dyes, and/or sweatshop labor?” Highly doubtful! How can consumers ever really know what goes into making any article of clothing? Knowledge is power, so get curious

Challenge

Now that you are beginning to understand the impact of fashion, let’s look more closely at your favorite shirt. Check the tag inside. What kind of information does it provide?

  • Record the brand name, materials used and where it was produced.
  • Research the impact this item may have had on the people who produced it and the environment. Share your research. (maximum 100 words)

Be bold and wear your shirt inside out for the day. Whenever anyone tells you that your shirt is inside out, tell them you’re involved in Project Green Challenge to start a conversation with what you have learned about today’s theme and the fashion industry.

  • Was anyone surprised to hear why you were wearing your shirt inside out? What were their reactions? What information did you share with them?

Post a great picture of yourself on a social media platform of your choice wearing your inside-out shirt. Caption the photo with the tag details, its impact on workers and the planet, and why you chose to wear your shirt inside out. Use the hashtags #PGC2019 and #whomademyclothes, and tag @TurningGreenOrg, @TrueCostMovie, @GreenAmerica, and @Fibershed.

Deliverables

Upload a PDF document with your responses. Include a screenshot of your social media post. Please include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.

Submission Guidelines

  • If you do not see an upload button, you need to log in
  • Submit all entries as PDFs; no Word or Pages documents
  • Be sure to include all content for your submission in one document
  • Save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_green_2019.pdf)
  • Do not include # or spaces in filenames
  • Do not upload a file larger than 5 MB
  • Link to images, if possible
  • You will see a confirmation in green that your submission uploaded correctly; if you do not see this confirmation, please try again
  • If your total points does not change, your submission did not load correctly, please try again
  • Send any questions to info@turninggreen.org
  • Don’t forget to post about the challenge and your learnings/doings on social media and tag us on Facebook @TurningGreen, on Twitter @TurningGreenOrg, and on Instagram @TurningGreenOrg and use #PGC2019
The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

Greenest

60 POINTS

Think

Film is a powerful tool for sharing information – and one documentary, The True Cost, allows its audience to truly grasp the fashion industry’s toll on people and the planet.

Challenge

Gather a few friends or family members and watch the eye-opening 90-minute documentary, The True Cost, on Netflix, Amazon Prime video or other outlets. If you are unable to access the documentary, you can screen other videos on the topic.

Following the screening, host a Q&A with at least 3 friends. Gauge their reaction to the film by asking the following questions (or some of your own):

  • What did you take away from this film? Can you sum up your reaction in three words?
  • What changes will you make when you go shopping in the future?
  • What will you do to spread the message about the impacts of fast fashion to friends and family?

Summarize your friends’ comments and answer the discussion questions yourself in one or two paragraphs. 

Deliverables

Upload a PDF document with your responses. Please include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.

Submission Guidelines

  • If you do not see an upload button, you need to log in
  • Submit all entries as PDFs; no Word or Pages documents
  • Be sure to include all content for your submission in one document
  • Save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_green_2019.pdf)
  • Do not include # or spaces in filenames
  • Do not upload a file larger than 5 MB
  • Link to images, if possible
  • You will see a confirmation in green that your submission uploaded correctly; if you do not see this confirmation, please try again
  • If your total points does not change, your submission did not load correctly, please try again
  • Send any questions to info@turninggreen.org
  • Don’t forget to post about the challenge and your learnings/doings on social media and tag us on Facebook @TurningGreen, on Twitter @TurningGreenOrg, and on Instagram @TurningGreenOrg and use #PGC2019
The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

TODAY’S PRIZES

Up to 10 Greener and 10 Greenest of the most outstanding submissions will be chosen as winners and awarded prize points to redeem in the PGC Prize Store. Greener wins = 75 prize points, Greenest wins = 100 prize points. Check the Winners page to see if you’re selected!

5 submissions will be randomly selected to receive:

Everyone:
Organic Cotton T-Shirt
Everyone Hair Gel

Girls:
DivaCup  

Boys:
Baseball Hat

Each time you submit a challenge, you get an entry. Complete Green, Greener, and Greenest to triple your chances!

Extended deadlines and extra credits do not apply.