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Fast Fashion and its Environmental Impact on Global Warming
FAST FASHION eBook CLICK HERE
Fast fashion has become an integral part of the modern economy, as it fulfills consumers’ desires for trendy and affordable clothing items. However, this lucrative industry has a dark side – its enormous carbon footprint and negative environmental consequences that contribute to global warming. In this lesson, we will explore the repercussions of fast fashion, provide examples of its impact, and suggest ways our society could change for a sustainable future.
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Environmental Impacts of Fast Fashion:
1. Greenhouse Gas Emissions: The fashion industry is responsible for roughly 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The production and transportation processes release vast amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, accelerating global warming.
Example: Textile production, in countries like China and Bangladesh, emits over 1.2 billion tons of CO2 annually, making it one of the largest polluters.
2. Water Pollution: Fast fashion heavily relies on water-intensive processes that generate toxic waste, polluting our water sources.
Example: Dyeing textiles consumes large volumes of water containing harmful chemicals such as AZO dyes and heavy metals which contaminate nearby rivers and groundwater when left untreated.
3. Resource Depletion: Companies manufacture disposable clothing items at an unsustainable rate using limited resources such as land, water, oil, and emissions-intensive cotton.
Example: Cotton farming alone accounts for approximately 24% of global insecticide use and 11% of pesticide use due to its high demand in the fashion industry.
4. Waste Generation: Given the short lifespan of fast-fashion products, they quickly end up in landfills or incinerators releasing methane (a potent greenhouse gas) and other toxic fumes into the environment.
Example: It is estimated that nearly 85% of textiles produced annually end up in landfills or are incinerated.
GRAMMAR SECTION: FAST FASHION eBook CLICK HERE
1. Identify the error in the following sentence related to fast fashion: “Despite it’s low prices, fast fashion has a significant negative impact on the environment and human rights.”
2. Choose the correct verb tense to complete this sentence about fast fashion: “By the time awareness ______ (raise) significantly, fast fashion will have caused considerable damage.”
3. Combine these two sentences about fast fashion into one complex sentence using a subordinating conjunction: “Fashion brands release new collections every week. This leads to overconsumption and waste.”
4. Rewrite this passive voice sentence about fast fashion in active voice: “Countless items of clothing are discarded after being worn only a few times due to the low quality of materials used in fast fashion.”
5. Correctly use a gerund or infinitive verb in this sentence about fast fashion: “The primary goal of fast fashion companies is _______ (maximize) profits rather than focusing on sustainability and ethics.”
LISTENING SECTION VIDEO:
- Consuming so much is wrecking the planet. What does the word “wrecking” mean?
- What is a “landfill?”
- What is a graveyard and a flea market?
- Poor countries are getting “flooded” with used clothing. What does “flooded” mean?
- After watching the video report do you think that recycling is the solution or the problem?
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Ways to Combat Fast Fashion’s Environmental Impact:
1. Adopt Sustainable Fashion Practices: Encourage the use of ethical brands and eco-friendly materials and support companies that actively work to reduce their carbon footprint.
2. Increase Use of Recycled Materials: Recycling and repurposing textiles can significantly reduce waste generation and resource consumption.
3. Embrace a Circular Economy: Promote a shift from ‘produce-use-dispose‘ to a circular approach focused on reusing, repairing, and recycling existing garments.
4. Educate Consumers: Raise awareness about the environmental impact of fast fashion, promote conscious consumption, and encourage people to buy less and choose quality over quantity.
5. Implement Stricter Regulations: Support policies that enforce stricter environmental regulations for the fashion industry to ensure it adheres to sustainable practices throughout the supply chain.
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As the fast fashion industry continues to grow, it becomes crucial for each individual to recognize its environmental implications on global warming. By taking conscious steps towards changing our consumer habits, promoting sustainable practices, and advocating for legislation that protects the environment, we can build a cleaner, greener future.
VOCABULARY CHECK: FAST FASHION eBook CLICK HERE
Documentaries & Films to watch:
1. The True Cost (2015) – Directed by Andrew Morgan
2. RiverBlue (2016) – Directed by David McIlvride & Roger Williams
3. Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things (2015) – Directed by Matt D’Avella
4. Machines (2016) – Directed by Rahul Jain
5. Fashion’s Dirty Secrets (2018) – BBC Documentary with Stacey Dooley
Websites & Blogs to follow:
1. Good On You (goodonyou.eco) – Ethical Brand Ratings
2. Fashion Revolution (fashionrevolution.org) – Campaigning for a Clean Fashion Industry
3. The Sustainable Edit (thesustainableedit.com) – A Conscious Living Journal
4. Eco-Age (eco-age.com) – Sustainability Consultancy & News Platform
5. Ethical Unicorn (ethicalunicorn.com) – In-depth Analysis on Ethical Issues
Academic Research & Reports to read:
1. Ellen MacArthur Foundation – “A New Textiles Economy: Redesigning Fashion’s Future” (2017)
2. Clean Clothes Campaign – “Garment Worker Diaries” (2016-17)
3. Global Fashion Agenda & Boston Consulting Group – “Pulse of the Fashion Industry” Annual Reports
4. Institute for Human Rights and Business – “Driving a fairer future: Improving working conditions in the fashion industry” (2020)
5. Cambridge Centre for Sustainable Finance & UN Environment Inquiry – “Financing the Transformation of the Textile Industry” (2018)
GRAMMAR QUESTION ANSWERS:
- The error in the sentence: Is the incorrect usage of “it’s.” The correct sentence should be: “Despite its low prices, fast fashion has a significant negative impact on the environment and human rights.”
- Choose the correct verb tense to complete this sentence about fast fashion: “By the time awareness ” has been raised” significantly, fast fashion will have caused considerable damage.”
- Since fashion brands release new collections every week, this leads to overconsumption and waste.
- People discard countless items of clothing after wearing them only a few times due to the low quality of materials used in fast fashion.
- The primary goal of fast fashion companies is to maximize profits rather than focusing on sustainability and ethics.