This blog was originally based on a course ran by Professor Nick Gray of the Trinity Centre for the Environment at Trinity College Dublin who also wrote a textbook for the module Facing up to global warming: What is going on and what you can do about it. Now working as an independent consultant, Nick continues to work in the area of environmental sustainability and looking at ways of making a difference without recriminations or guilt. Saving the planet is all about living sustainably.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Buyer Be Aware!

Hiring a dress is a sustainable option
When you think of carbon footprint you think about carbon emissions from car and heating emissions, am I right? Although these do make up the majority of household emissions, I am going to discuss other types of emissions that make up a massive amount of the world’s greenhouse gases.
People often forget about carbon emissions from consumerism. Our clothes are mostly factory produced with machines. In other to run these machines we need electricity, oil and other resources which produce emissions, not to mention transportation costs. These resources cause thousands of metric tonnes of emissions to be released into the atmosphere from all around the world on a daily basis.
Times have changed in recent decades as having the most fashionable trends is of huge importance, gone are the days when people bought clothes when they needed them and washed them after sufficient use (we won’t even go into the fact people wash their clothes after every use). Fashion has become costly for the environment.
Consider what you are wearing right now! Ask yourself how long have you had these clothes? Where were they made? Were you cautious of these factors when you were buying them? If the answer is no, you are part of a majority. Most clothes are made in factories in China, I’m sure you are aware of the “made in China” label. China is the world’s largest carbon emitter and with no plans to limit emissions the number is continuing to grow. EU regulations limit carbons emissions and large industrial companies pay for emissions, so they produce products elsewhere. This is carbon avoidance!
We as consumers should be aware about the products we buy and were they originate from. We could also make the change by going one step further as there are many ways in which we can be more environmentally friendly. Here are some options available right here in Dublin:
·         Renting: If you are only going to wear/use something once, renting is a great option you are not only saving emissions but being more cost effective too. Cari’s closet rents dresses from high street to designer labels and is a great example of renting for those special occasions ladies.
·         Reuse/Recycle: Charity shops such as SVP offer a great selection of clothes for all ages and sizes. Reusing clothes is a great way to keep your personal carbon footprint down, and doing a good deed too! I have recently stumbled upon a great selection of recyclable jewellery a brand called “Alex and Ani” (see photo). They produce their jewellery from scrap metal and plate them in gold and silver. A great idea that’s carbon friendly and very fashionable too!
Taking the small steps discussed in this blog would really contribute to help saving our planet. Next time you hit the shops think of this blog, think of the product you are buying, is there a better option. Remember to always “Be Aware”!
Alison Lynch

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