HOW WE’RE TRYING TO FIX IT
We’re attempting to swap unsustainable materials and workplace practices, for sustainable ones. It’s exciting to see mainstream brands begin to use sustainable fabrics like organic cotton, and increase their workers’ rate of pay and work environment standards. They’re getting on board with compostable courier bags, making sure their dyes don’t damage waterways and gaining certifications that indicate their workers receive regular lunch breaks and overtime pay.
As a human race, we’re putting a lot of thought into how we can change WHAT we consume. But I don’t think that’s the most sustainable way forward.
HOW I THINK WE SHOULD FIX IT
I don’t have all the answers, but I’ll try my best. We need to change the HOW. We’re currently talking about sustainability as if it’s simply a change in the materials we use and the people who make them. It’s not.
Sustainability is a mindset and system change. It involves viewing each and every item as a valuable resource to society and making careful and conscious purchases that ensure our planet’s resources are not abused, and neither are our people. Sustainability begs us to ask the question: If I were to keep doing this over and over again, how would the planet and people be affected?
If I were to continue shopping at the rate I was 4 years ago, but swap out my purchases from Kmart with purchases at sustainable fashion brand KowTow, that would be unsustainable. If I were to continue wasting food at the rate I was 4 years ago, but it all be organic, plastic-free, and locally grown food that I threw into the rubbish bin, that would be unsustainable.
Sustainability means slowing down. Sustainability means considering your actions. Sustainability questions the WHAT, but is ultimately the HOW. We need to change the system, not our underwear.