Earth Day Every Day
Happy April, everyone! Happy month of rebirth, renewal, and rejuvenation! April just so happens to be my favorite month of the year -- it's great. There's so much blooming, growing, raining, and many green things! I've been working on growing some starter plants in my apartment. I've never had much success because there is barely any adequate light that comes in. My plants always stretch too tall and look a little weak. The etiolating is pitiful. This year, I'm going to try to be better about it. I don't know if that means investing in a small grow light or tending to my starters until they are big enough to transplant them into raised beds outside. I'll keep you posted.
Another reason why April is so great is because April is an action month commemorating some of the most important causes that I believe in. It is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM); EARTH MONTH -- obviously; it is when Iowa City's Take Back the Night protest takes place; and April also has a week dedicated to garment workers' rights. April 23-29 is Fashion Revolution Week (taking place right after Earth Day).
Fashion Revolution is a non-profit global fashion activism movement (Whew! A mouthful.) that campaigns for reform in the fashion industry. It aims to encourage clothing manufacturers to increase transparency in the fashion supply chain. The movement began in 2014 as a response to 2013's Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh -- a horrendous atrocity. The plaza was home to many clothing factories, stores, apartments, and due to the poor structure of this multi-level building, it completely crumbled with workers inside. More than 1,100 people died and many more were injured. A number of Western retailers sourced labor from Bangladesh. These Western companies consumed literally thousands of pounds of clothing produced from the Rana Plaza before the building collapsed. It has been over 5 years since the catastrophe and there has been slow and steady change but, of course, challenges remain. I highly encourage you to research and read more about the movement on their website or follow my links for more info. If anything, be aware of what's going on.
As the movement continued, the hashtag, #WhoMadeMyClothes caught wind. According to their website, the non-profit believes that, "this simple question gets people thinking differently about what they wear. We need to know that our questions, our voices, and our shopping habits can have the power to help change things for the better. With more citizens encouraging brands to answer ‘who made my clothes?, we believe Fashion Revolution has the power to push the industry to become more transparent." Brands began participating across the globe and responded with, #IMadeYourClothes -- to encourage communication between consumer and retailer.
This year, to acknowledge the importance workers' rights, expose the corruption and unsustainable demands of Fast Fashion, all while celebrating Earth Month, I decided to create, of course! As if I needed more hobbies, I've taken up sewing and I have tons to share later this month (eep!). My creativity is impulsive, that I know. I also know that sewing is a practical skill to have. This is something I dabbled in a few months ago but I fully invested in recently when I finally got around to purchasing my own machine. It just makes sense.
I don't have to buy a new shirt just because it's missing a few buttons. I don't have to toss a pair of pants because there's a gaping hole you-know-where. With sewing, I can mend ripped seams, holes, and missing buttons. I don't have to contribute to this idea of always needing to keep up with the trends. I very rarely buy new anymore and I haven't for a while. Sewing my own garment feels new and awesome! Thrifting is the way to go. In fact, my garments are all made from repurposed bed linens, pillow cases, and yes, even fitted sheets! If I'm lucky, I can find some unused fabric! Now, I'm no purist. I'm not completely boycotting consumerism. I'm simply being conscious of how and where I spend my money. I read labels! Fair Trade? I'm all about it. Made locally? Even better.
Here are some other ways I am contributing to a healthier earth and I hope it inspires you to make some changes!
- Thrift/Buy Second-hand/Used
- Repurpose Goods -- Bed sheets, linens for new garments, a picture frame made into a loom, you name it!
- Recycle -- Yes it can be time-consuming but worth it and it feels good! Honestly, I feel lighter after every trip to the recycling center.
- Conscious of Water & Energy Consumption/Usage -- You'd be shocked to know how many times a week I shower (only half kidding).
- Compost -- This one is tricky but once you get into the habit, it is a breeze. OR find a local organization that will take your compost (for Linn & Johnson County, there is Compost Ninja). OR talk to a neighboring farm. Do your research! I've made an indoor vermicomposting bin which I can write about sometime. Now I have castings (natural fertilizer) for my houseplants!
- Reusable Bags -- I have TONS! Working at a co-op has it's perks.
- Avoiding Plastic -- This one I need to be more conscious of...Like bringing a glass container/jar with me to a restaurant to skip the doggy bag! But hey, I've been pretty good about using my stainless steel straw!
- Home Cooked Meals -- I kid you not, like every night. It feels wrong not to!
- Bulk Buys -- It's way more affordable.
- Environmentally Safe Cleaning Products -- No harsh chemicals!
- Plants, plants, plants!
- Bike -- Great, quick exercise especially when commuting to work.
- Read Labels!
- Buy Local! -- Knowing where your product comes from.
- Buying Quality Material -- For example, never plastic stone jewelry. These things don't last.
- A wardrobe with Neutral Palette Clothing and jewelry will last the times.
- Palm Oil Free Bar Soap
With all of this in mind, I want you to ask yourself what YOU do for the environment at home? Comment below (or just take the time to self-assess your actions).
Earth Day is coming up. Spread love & do good!