Thinking about the 21st century as a simple citizen and actually trying to find purpose and beautify our lives as we move into this new decade is challenging in many ways. We try to understand what is happening and how we can respond and collectively construct our future. We are seeing the urge to transform both personally as well as in our daily business set-ups; the world as we know is no more.
I have been working on sustainable practices and the implementation of multiple projects professionally since the early 2000s for the fashion industry. Fashion`s impact on climate crisis is immense and the industry is linked into all 3 aspects of social, environmental and economic context. The global supply chain is very complex with data gaps which is a barrier into full traceability and transparency, and we need to tackle diverse projects to transform the system.
The transformation does not yield short term results but remains to be a future proposal; investing in the future rather than the fast results that fashion has become so accustomed to in the past two decades. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) launched in 2015 are being used as the guidelines in many industries as they cover interconnected, interdependent strategies for the common goal to keep our future safe. Initially agriculture and fashion may not seem to have too much in common but actually they are closely linked and operate on similar systems using partially the same finite resources such as land and water. Fashion has been using up much of the land that would otherwise be used to grow food.
It takes almost 10,000 liters of water to cultivate 1kg of raw cotton. Cotton is used in 1/3 of the textiles produced globally.
The fashion industry currently uses enough water to quench the thirst of 110 million people for an entire year. (Pulse of the Fashion Industry 2017 report)
To produce just one cotton shirt requires approximately three thousand liters of water. (Water Footprint Network)
The Aral Sea in Central Asia has shrunk to just 10 per cent of its former volume, largely due to irrigation for cotton farming.
The water pollution impact of organic cotton has been shown to be 98 per cent less than non-organic cotton production. (Water Footprint Network)
Fashion is a thirsty industry and it does not get any better – every year, more than 150 million trees are cut down to make our clothing. If you look at the tags inside your clothes you might came across rayon, viscose and they are man-made cellulosic fibers which are presented as eco-friendly as they are not coming from oil -based resources like polyester or nylon. The downside is they are often coming from endangered rainforests, so the trees are actually linked directly into our jeans, wardrobes.
Canopy is a Vancouver-based non-profit and works with fashion brands, businesses to come up with methods that protect the old forests. Canopy has over 110 brands on board to go rainforest free in their collections as well as the biggest global rayon producers Lenzing and Birla. Deforestation accounts for nearly %20 of the global gas emissions. ( Redd-Monitor) and we still have a long way to go. Once I started to observe and see the patterns and how our lives are interwoven into our environment at almost every stage then we become citizens instead of consumers. We start to realize our dependency as well as the choices that we have. By becoming global citizens, we also become more responsible – to inform as well as to be informed. As we adapt to a new way of perceiving, following the patterns then we also meet other areas in our lives where we can accelerate the transformation. This is where the fun begins as we then meet new people who come with their amazing stories and fresh passion.
I am involved in the formation of a Permaculture Foundation in Istanbul, Turkey for the past 6 months. I got to know about the permaculture practices 2 years ago after a visit to Belentepe, permaculture farm which is owned by Taner Aksel and his family. Taner is a high school classmate of mine and the initial idea of having old friends get together turned into a profound plan to set up a foundation. Taner`s leadership and experience in permaculture is teaching me to see further links into the fashion industry. I have completed the first introduction course on “Designing with Nature” and have started using the guidelines of permaculture for the fashion industry as well as introducing the best practices from fashion to the permaculture family.
The regenerative mind-set is becoming more pervasive and defines a system that works to integrate capital assets through restoration, renewal and growth. In the linear system of industries with limited, finite resources; the assets are consumed until when the resources are no longer sustainable. Once we can recognize Earth as our common asset which needs to be nourished rather than Our common capital asset is the Earth systems itself, we than place a different approach on how we construct our manufacturing and consumption practices across multiple industries. The BillionPersonMovement™ Global Challenge was created by ReGenFriends™ for organizations and companies to share their programs and ideas to reach a billion people by Earth Day 2023. The focus is 100% on end-users. B2B and B2C are included. NET-POSITIVE regenerative practices will be featured throughout the Global Challenge event in San Francisco on Feb 27th,2020 via keynotes, panels, and pitches.
Collaborative, interactive, engaging practices where we all come to understand how much all is connected into our lives, how much we all are connected to one another and to the Earth with all that we eat, or wear will spearhead the transformation into the new decade. I invite you all to join the #Billionpersonmovement.