April 22nd. Do you know what day that is? No, it’s not International Pancake Day or International Wine Day, two “holidays” that millennials are probably more familiar with than this day. April 22nd is Earth Day, a day that is dedicated to caring for our planet and making eco-conscious choices.
I find it ironic how millennials are “Earth-activists” and care about the environment, yet most do absolutely nothing to help it. While yes, part of Earth’s future lies in the hand of our President, it is our decisions in our everyday life that ultimately effect the health of Mother Nature. Being a millennial myself, I admit that I am not the best at recycling or reusing my resources. However, I am also not preaching for everyone else to help the Earth but not help it myself. So this brings me to ask you, how have you planned to help the Earth on this lovely upcoming Saturday?
I think we can all sacrifice a few hours of our day to pick up litter in the neighborhoods surrounding us. I highly recommend organizing a neighborhood clean-up and picking up litter in your surrounding area. Just imagine if everyone did this; the Earth could be completely clean for a few hours! Growing up, my mom would bring my sister and I to participate in our neighborhood Earth Day clean-ups. I actually ended up always enjoying them, walking away with a sense of accomplishment that the patch of ground was clean because of my efforts. One time I even found an old love letter hiding in the litter alongside the highway. Not only are you helping your community, but you could find your own little treasures!
You may be asking yourself, well how can I make a change that will permanently help the Earth? My answer for that is sustainable fashion. Many people, specifically Earth-activists, do not realize just how detrimental the fashion industry is to Mother Nature. Not only is it the fabric itself that is unethical, but the services of those who are making the clothing, the dying of the clothing, the shipping of the clothing… It is truly unfathomable how much harm fashion does to the environment.
Fast fashion stores like H&M, Forever 21 and Zara are doing nothing but harming the environment with the toxins their factories release into the air, the unsustainable fabrics, and the strenuous practices that they put their workers through. Unless we stop buying from these stores, fast fashion companies will only continue to gain power.
While I know it is hard not to shop at these stores, because lets face it, they are the only thing in our budget, but it is essential that we at least support companies making efforts towards sustainable fashion. My favorite company working towards this goal is EILEEN FISHER. Last summer I worked as a Social Media and Public Relations Intern for them and experienced first-hand how ethics and safe environmental practices are the core of their company (read more about my experience here). We need to support companies like EILEEN FISHER who are making an effort to change the fashion industry as we know it.
Not only do these two companies design and produce their clothing with the environment in mind, but they make an effort to truly educate consumers. Look on either of their websites and you will see environmental statistics plastered all over. They don’t try to hide how and where they produce their products, which most companies do. Try to find out where fast fashion retailers make their clothes. Hint: you won’t be able to. They don’t easily disclose this information on their website. If this information is found, it is usually in a news article titled “Forever 21 Clothing Made in U.S. Sweatshops for $4 an Hour” or “Forever 21, H&M, Zara, Uniqlo: Who’s Paying for our Cheap Clothes?“.
Earth Day may be April 22nd, but every day should be Earth Day. I know we are all not perfect, but we all can do something a little extra to make the environment a healthier place. I’m not talking fighting legislation or joining the Green Party, but something we can all easily do every day, like make sustainable fashion choices.