The core principles of the gaia theory contend that everything in the global ecosystem is inter-connected.
In that way, when damage is done to one part of that ecosystem, it is done to all parts of it.
This is why everyone should be concerned about the fast fashion industry.
Fast fashion companies are severely damaging the environment not just during fashion production but throughout the supply chain.
Here’s what you need to know about the global fashion industry and why we all need to fight fast fashion. Because it’s killing us as well as the planet, according to Gaia Theory.
The Fashion Industry And Water Waste
It’s a horrifying truth but fast fashion uses over 10% of all the water, globally, that’s required to operate all businesses.
A single kilo of cotton farming can use more than 10,000 liters of water! That means the next time you buy one cotton shirt, you’re on the receiving end of a process that has wasted more than 3,000 liters of water!
Nearly 20% of all the world’s waste water comes from fashion-related processes!
Textile dyeing and then washing clothes also run through large amounts of water. They create water pollution too.
Plastic Pollution (Microfibers)
Worse, the fashion industry is responsible for much of the industrial water pollution worldwide (and this water is so toxic, that it cannot be treated to clean it up) and, in particular, most garment factories that produce synthetic textiles are essentially creating disposable plastic items.
35% of all the world’s microplastic waste comes from synthetic garment production. And because fiber production can be expensive, the fashion industry which is already the world’s second-largest polluter, often shys away from other manmade clothing fibers in favor of producing polyester fibers.
Producing polyester releases large amounts of plastic into the environment. The environmental cost of this is incredible as when this plastic breaks down it produces toxic chemicals that poison marine environments permanently. They also enter the food chain and may build up enough to poison birds and mammals relying on the sea for food.
Excessive Clothing Turnover Is Not Sustainable Fashion
In the year 2000, fibre production was damaging. In the year 2011, European fashion companies had begun to produce two and a half times as many garment lines as they did in the year 2000.
And leading brands such as Zara and H&M were now putting out between 6 and 12 times as many lines as they had in the year 2,000.
The consumer is paying a relatively low financial cost for this but the garment industry and the fashion sector continue to do untold environmental harm to facilitate this change.
85% Of All Fabrics Go To Landfill
This is such a frightening statistic that it doesn’t even feel real, does it? In an age of recycling and reusing, nearly all the textiles and other manmade clothing fibres in the world, end up in a landfill!
Fashion production makes each and every one of us a contributor to the death of Gaia but as James Lovelock theorized, in the end, as the fashion sector continues to have a huge environmental impact, that impact is going to come down as hard on us as it does on the oceans and land.
Textile Waste Is Rising
And because of the process of fast fashion and more and more collections being released each year? Textile waste is actually increasing when nearly every other form of pollution is declining.
There are slow fashion brands out there trying to fight back against this but it has yet to have a significant impact on fast fashion, consumer education is going to be key in getting the importance of a change to slow fashion across to the average fashion wearer.
Viscose Is A Problem
Viscose is an alternative to cotton but it creates greater levels of greenhouse gas emissions and more toxic chemicals than cotton production does and workers using viscose end up with potentially lethal health problems.
10% Of All Carbon Emissions Come From The Fashion Industry
No joke. Our clothing companies are producing 10% of the world’s greenhouse gasses. Climate change is being driven by the catwalk.
If Things Keep Going This Way – In 2050, Fashion Will Account For More than 25% Of All Carbon Pollution
And even worse, if the pattern of change in the fast-fashion world continues – in just 30 years’ time, fashion will cause more than a quarter of the world’s carbon emissions.
Final Thoughts On The Impact Of Fast Fashion On Gaia
When the fashion industry creates more carbon emissions than all international flights and maritime shipping combined do? You know you have a problem.
The answer to this is to rebuild the fashion industry so that it serves us all rather than poisons the planet.
We should all become better educated about sustainable fashion (take a free sustainable fashion course), opt for slow fashion products, and boycott fast fashion brands.
This is the only way that the industry will be compelled to preserve our natural heritage.