Yesterday was a very disappointing day, to say the least, for the state of our planet. It is inconceivable at this point that I would have to impress on anyone what effects our actions have had on the environment, yet here we are. Historical droughts, wildfires, floods, landslides and even the new term “super-storm” should be evidence enough that we need to change our ways. The United States follows a ridiculously small group of countries not signed on to the agreement, Syria which is not in the position to be making international arrangements and Nicaragua who doesn’t feel the agreement goes far enough.
Vox.com’s David Roberts has a scathing, yet I feel appropriate, assessment of the entire speech. Besides the total fallacies in the speech, one of my main points of contention with this logic is the idea that saving the environment will have negative economic impacts. That is, as David says, bullshit. First, as renewable energy scales, as with any new technology, it becomes cheaper; at the moment, clean energy is on par to become more economically viable than fossil fuels. Second, even if it were the case that cleaning up our environment was to slightly hinder economic growth, this is such a shortsighted view. The longer we delay on taking appropriate action, the harder it will be on our future generations. It is also the easy way out to say that the jobs of today will be lost. We don’t have as many horse and buggy drivers as we did in the past. Our education systems worldwide need to focus on the jobs of tomorrow and governments can help in retraining those working in the fossil fuel industries to transition into the green energy workforce. Even fast-fashion giant H&M, with whom we have many disagreements, is on board with moving forward with a greener industry.
But there is hope. The rest of the world has committed not to turn back on COP21. Mayors, governors and businesses in the United States have rebuked their president as they all know that economically, socially and for our common sake, a clean and sustainable environment is necessary for our collective future. Even Michael Bloomberg is offering to pay in to the United Nations fund in lieu of the United States' commitment. One hope for our future of the fashion industry is that, thankfully, the biggest impact we have is in the raw materials stage and many countries producing those raw materials are still committed to the agreement. Thankfully, the future of our planet does not lie in the hands of one petulant man.
We will continue to talk about these issues and what our industry can do to make a difference. We cannot treat this issue as someone else’s problem when there are actions we can take to make tackle it on our own.
In the meantime, we will donate a portion of our online sales to the Environmental Justice Foundation, a U.K. based non-profit organization working internationally to investigate, expose and campaign to protect the environment and human rights.