A few years ago I shared my thoughts with you about how I was feeling disconnected with the world because I didn't understand or realise the environmental and social impact that the items of clothing and other personal objects I was using on a daily basis were having on the world. I talked about how I was going to start becoming more environmentally and ethically responsible.
Fast forward three years, and I realise that I have completely forgotten about the promises that I made in that blog post. I have definitely become more aware of the products that I use on my body and put in my body as far as food, face wash, make-up, shampoo, etc. are concerned (minus a couple of items because I needed to use them for the betterment of my overall health), but when it comes to clothing I have completely fallen behind and really don't pay attention to where my clothes come from -- although I have done better with not shopping as much.
Then I watched a film called The True Cost, and it really opened up my eyes to the impact that, what they refer to as, Fast Fashion is having on the environment and the people making the clothes that we wear. They spoke with a woman named Shima who works in a factory in Bangladesh for less than $3 a day, and she said something that really got to me: she asked why people would want to buy things that were made with their blood. And that put everything into a new perspective.
The juxtaposition of the images of people working and suffering in the countries where our clothing is made with the images of us waiting outside stores only to rush in and fight with each other over a specific size is absolutely heartbreaking. There were no words. There were only tears. And it was at that moment that I made a promise to myself, and to the millions of men and women working as slaves in Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, India, etc., that I would not be a part of it anymore.
Another thing that I did not think about was the environmental impact that the making of clothing has, right down to the beginning with the growing of cotton using pesticides that are killing the people that use them (including cotton farmers in America), and creating serious health issues for the people that live nearby -- as well as the pollution of water. These are things that we have fought against in our own countries (and still fight for), and no body else deserves this kind of treatment -- regardless of if they live in what is considered a poor country.
All of the people that are working to make our $5 t-shirts are fighting for their basic human rights against a government and corporations that are so corrupt that they would rather make money than protect their people and the people that work for them. I know that this would never be tolerated in North America, and I think that if you were to watch this film you would also see what is wrong with Fast Fashion and that we need to stand up against it.