On Monday the 7th of October I will be taking to the streets of London with Extinction Rebellion to protest against the British government's lack of action on the climate emergency and ecological breakdown. Now, I am aware that some people may be critical of this, so in the spirit of XR's (Extinction Rebellion) first demand to tell the truth, I thought I should be open about it and try to explain why.
Having been environmentally aware for most of my life (thanks to hippy parents) I knew the climate crisis was bad. I had signed petitions, supported and donated to green groups, gone on strikes, marches, became vegan and zero waste and fostered many other individual actions to 'do my bit', But when I watched 'Heading for Extinction and What to do about it' and read the undisputable science behind it I was truly shocked. I strongly believe that if everybody knows the dire truth, most people would do something about it. Some of the key facts that stood out for me were that the IPCC report is actually somewhat conservative and doesn't include dangerous feedback loops that make the situation worse. But also if we continue on the course we are on we are headed for 3.5-5 degrees of warming or more which will not be survivable. I now know that all the laudable things I had been doing are not enough. In some ways they have even been a distraction or an illusion that suits the fossil fuel producers and their enablers in government to point the finger at us so they can carry on with business as usual.
"Humanity and life on Earth now face a ‘direct existential threat’ UN Secretary General, Antonio Gutteres
I am really scared for my son's future and even for my own, as the risks we face are also very likely within my own lifetime. I had always hoped to have another child with my late husband and although I am still single, I have decided that I cannot now bring another child into the world. The risks of mass starvation, drought, societal breakdown and violent unrest (even in the UK) are not the world I would want my child (or anyone's) to have to live through. We are already experiencing the melting of artic sea ice, arctic forest fires, record breaking temperatures, mass biodiversity loss and global crop failures many of which were predicted to happen many years from now so it's not hard to imagine these rapidly increasing.
"Climate Change is now reaching the end-game... the issue is the very survival of our civilisation" Prof. Hans Schellnhuber
I love my son more than anything else in the whole world, He is the Boy Wonder, my incredible miracle and the embodiment of my love for my late husband. I am doing this for him more than anything as I want him to be able to grow up in a safe and beautiful world. I love this earth too, especially this small part of it that we call home, and want to be able to protect it and pass it on to him and future generations along with all the wonderful animals and living things in it. My son should be able to enjoy clean air, clear blue seas and the wonderful, rich natural world that I grew up with. All children and all people deserve this.
Change is not happening quickly enough and the 1.5 degree target set by the Paris Climate Accord according to the science is now impossible to meet. Our emissions have not declined to meet these hard won targets, but are actually rapidly increasing. We have all the solutions to drawdown these carbon emissions. We know what we need to do, but need the political will and complete system change to bring it about and fast. The 11 years the IPCC report gave us to turn things around is now 10 years and many scientists in fact say that the next 18 months are critical in getting things moving. Studies and history show that Non Violent Direct Action and civil disobedience is the most effective way to do this; from the civil rights movement to the suffragettes. Indeed, the actions that XR took in April have already changed the public's opinion on climate change with over 64% saying that we are running out of time. It also helped to change the dialogue enough to get parliament to declare a climate emergency. All this has helped raise awareness, but no positive actions have yet been taken; instead support for renewable energy has been withdrawn and the 3rd runway at Heathrow and new coal mines approved.
"It takes around 3.5% of the population actively participating in the protests to ensure serious political change." Erica Chenoweth
So, the government has failed us. As a widowed parent I will not put myself forward for arrest, however it is my duty as a mother to do all I can to protect my child. This is why I am rebelling against government and the system they uphold. I hope you will join me on the streets x
#actnow #tellthetruth #extinctionrebellion
Responding to criticism of the rebellion
5 ways to save the planet pt2
How to talk to kids about the Eco Crisis
How to stay climate positive
If a garment is very cheap, then you do have to ask yourself why. Cost is normally a very good indicator of ethical credentials, but not always. You have to remember that it will have been made for a fraction of what you are buying it at, as the retailer will add their own mark-up. So the factory workers would get very little which could mean safety is not great as well. That said, a high cost garment does not always ensure good ethics either, merely a higher profit for the retailer.
Certifications such as Fairtrade, Oeko-tex and GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) are an easy first check for a shopper as they will appear on labelling or marketing. They all have differing sets of standards regarding social and environmental aspects and factories are often audited by the certifying bodies. You can find out more about the different certification on our glossary page here.
It is important to state here that we have spent a great deal of time specifically sourcing materials with the above certifications and paid a premium for them, but we are not allowed to use their logos as our factory is not itself certified. Therefore we simply state that the materials are certified organic and chemical-free. You can request to see a company’s certifications if you want to check. Ours are available to view here.
How open are the brand about their production and supply chain? If they are doing all the right things, then they will have nothing to hide. How much information do they provide to their customers and are they happy to answer questions on these issues? An ethical brand may have open factory events or show video and photo footage of their staff and factory premises. Full disclosure of the list of factories they use is another big tick. Our factory and supplier list is available here.
Policies & Initiatives
Many big brands are signed up various initiatives that check up on their ethical claims and promises. The most well-known one being the ETI (Ethical Trading Initiative), but others such as the Bangladesh Fire & Safety Accord, Fair Wear Foundation and Fair Living Wage. However they should also have their own comprehensive ethical policy too, that states their own guidelines and working with manufacturers and suppliers. For many small brands this will be all they have, as they won’t be able to bear the cost of being part of costly initiatives. See our Policy pagehere.
A strict Animal Welfare policy is also a must have for an ethical company. This should state which animal products they will not use and should include: mulesed merino, cashmere, mohair, shearling, angora – or any animal hair, down, feathers, fur, exotic skins, silk, shell, horn and bone. If they use wool it should carry the RWS (Responsible Wool Standard) Symbol which guarantees a high animal welfare standard.
Many big brands will carry out factory audit, either by a third party or themselves to ensure ethical practice. The main certifications of this are SEDEX (Supplier Ethical Date Exchange) and Fast Forward which is the highest standard. Audits are expensive though, so many small brands don’t have them for the smaller factories they work with. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are unethical if they are ticking some of the other boxes. Many of the small factories such as ours are family businesses with less than 10 employees who they have worked with for years. Our main supplier has Living Wage Employer certification, which we hope to gain for others in our supply chain too.
There are various apps and websites that rank fashion brands according to various markers. Check out the Ethical consumer magazine, rank-a-brand, Good on you app, Fashion Revolution’s Transparency Index and the Good Guide. However, I find that many of them have odd anomalies so I compiled my own brand rankings. You can read about who came out best here.
Big brands really have no excuse to not be ticking all these boxes. So if they don’t, then ask them why. Consumer behaviour and demand can drive change if we are all more vocal.
I hope this helps you to shop more ethically and feel more confident in your choices
#ethicalfashion #howto #fashionexpert
5 Most Ethical High Street Fashion Brands
Top 5 ethical kids Fashion Brands
Top 6 Ethical Kids Accessories
6 Fashion Brands to avoid & why
After analysing the poor success of the crowdfund campaign I realise I need to do some research on who my audience is and whether they are actually potential customers or not. So it would be a massive help to me if you could answer the short 2 minute survey which pops up on this page. (You can go to the home page for another pop-up if you got rid of this one)
Everyone who takes part in the survey will be entered into a prizedraw to win a free t-shirt from our sample collection. The survey will run for 4 weeks with winners announced on September 30th. So do it now, so you don't forget and miss out on this great giveaway!
We have all felt the lure of that shiny new thing and most of us will have enjoyed a shopping spree in our time. In our western culture of mass consumption, we are constantly surrounded by advertising, in mass and social media; TV, films, billboards and magazines portraying aspirational lifestyles. All these seductively persuade us into thinking we need to buy more stuff. But does this really make us happy? And are we now beginning to confuse our wants over our needs?
As social beings we are heavily influenced by our families, friends and environment often leading us to feel we need to ‘keep up with the Jones’s’ with a fear that if we don’t we are in some way not good enough. This constant push to have more, bigger and better drives consumer debt and means we work ever harder and longer to…
“Buy things we don't need with money we don't have to impress people we don't like.”[I]
Many people within this economic model are often so time poor due to long working hours that they spoil their kids with stuff out of guilt over not spending time with them. I know I have and I worry about what affect this will have in the long run because we know innately that kids want our love not our money.
In these grave times of climate emergency and ecological breakdown we really need to start challenging this idea of consumerism. The capitalist model of endless growth which is fed by our consumption is literally killing the planet and ourselves, yet we seem powerless to stop ourselves like moths to a flame. Our wardrobes get more crammed, our landfill sites get ever fuller and our purses ever more depleted.
However, more and more research shows that less is definitely better and proves, what we all know deep down, that material wealth does not make you happier…
“The bulk of the evidence seems to contradict the consumption-happiness relationship”[ii]
And in fact…
“Being dissatisfied with what you have, and making a point of acquiring more, is the quickest way to dissatisfaction in life”[iii]
The Happy Planet Index goes some way to prove this. It found that Costa Rica has the highest level of happiness while having just one quarter of the GDP per capita than the richest countries. So what is it that is making them happier than others?
Although there is evidence that some level of wealth and material goods do add to our happiness in terms of being able to cover our basic needs we derive most of our happiness from other sources.[iv]
“People who live a life of intrinsic motivation are much happier than those who live a life dominated by extrinsic motivation”[v]
Intrinsic motivation means finding happiness within yourself, through self-acceptance, affiliation and community, whereas extrinsically motivated people seek happiness through appearance, social popularity and financial gain.
The minimalist movement is a good example of people choosing to live their lives with less and have found happiness and satisfaction from it.
“Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.”[vi]
I suspect too, that the current interest in decluttering experts such as Marie Kondo shows that actually we do want to be free of our excessive consumptions and actually crave a more frugal existence. So maybe there is hope for us if we can chnage our mindsets in that way?
If we start first with our fashion consumption then hopefully the rest will follow. So why not join in #secondhandseptember by buying everything second-hand this month?
#lessismore #slowfashion #ownlessdomore
Slowly Does It
The 4 R's of Eco Fashion
Donating or Dumping?
My Wardrobe Audit
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