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How To Take Action On The Environmental Crisis

How To Take Action On The Environmental Crisis

When it comes to the environmental crisis, why does it feel like we are all on a runaway bus hurtling towards a cliff? We see the cliff in front of us. We know its coming and we are getting closer, yet action seems elusive. Humanity seems to have accepted it and some are actually stepping on the accelerator. 

On June 5th, 2024, during a special address on climate action, the UN Chief called on countries around the world to act on the climate crisis within the next 18 months. This is a stark reminder that the time to act is now.

But what does it mean to "act" and who exactly needs to be taking action?

First of all, we all know the family already struggling to get by shouldn't be worrying about going out of their way to find clean, organic, recycled products. These people and families are not going to be the difference makers and they should not feel the pressure. One business has a much larger impact on the planet than one person or one family. Businesses must be more conscious of how products are manufactured and sold. 

For example, all of the plastic in the average grocery store should be easily curb-side recyclable. No more deciphering numbered triangles. Make all plastic easily recyclable! Its a no-brainer and it would be an excellent start to addressing plastic pollution around the world. The average American should not be burdening themselves trying to figure this stuff out. Businesses need to make it easy for consumers to be eco-friendly. There are a small number of people and business with a large footprint that can easily make more of an impact than the average person, and it is their responsibility to lead the fight.

Changing our habits and encouraging individuals to be conscious consumers is still an important piece of the puzzle. By prioritizing the most polluting industries, we can collectively drive massive change.

Energy, clothing, food, and everyday essentials – these four sectors are the heavyweights when it comes to environmental impact. By focusing on how we consume and the businesses we support in these areas, we can make the biggest impact.

The key is to focus on impact, not perfection. Don't get bogged down in every choice. By prioritizing these high-impact sectors, we can collectively create a wave of positive change and begin to see a difference in the world around us.

For businesses, The London College of Fashion has provided a framework for to pursue sustainability. This was designed specifically for the fashion industry, but it can be applied across the board to all businesses and industries as a guide for pursing sustainability.

The first step is to understand your business and your supply chain.  All businesses in the clothing industry are generally part of the same 4 phase supply chain: Raw Material Farming, Processing, Manufacturing, and Retail.  It is crucial to understand your supply chain and product lifecycle from beginning to end.

After you have your product lifecycle mapped out, then begin to look for the key environmental issues as identified by the London College of Fashion:

  1. Chemical and Plastic Pollution
  2. Water Scarcity
  3. Land Use and Biodiversity Loss
  4. Diminishing Resources
  5. Consumption and Waste
  6. Human and Animal Wellbeing

For the clothing industry, the majority of the environmental impact occurs in the early stages of raw material farming and processing. That is where we find the most pollution, water usage, land use, and resource consumption.

As you familiarize yourself with your business’s supply chain, the environmental issues with the most impact will start to rise to the surface. Start with the most impactful and aim to make progress every year, just like with profits. That is the key. We must put human and environmental health above the unbridled pursuit of money.

Keep in mind, sustainability is a spectrum. It is nearly impossible for a human or business to operate 100% sustainably.  Some business care about sustainability a lot and are very good at minimizing their environmental impact. Others make very little effort. It is up to the business to be honest and transparent about their environmental approach.

This is a good start for anyone, or any business that likes the outdoors and cares about the future of our planet. Even if you don’t like the outdoors, we all have a stake in the environment. We all want to be drinking clean water, breathing clean air and eating clean food. These things come from nature. Keeping our environment clean is the best thing we can do for ourselves, our health and our future.

-Nate Baller, Founder, Abode Outside

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Are you a clothing retailer interested in a Sustainable Clothing Workshop hosted by Abode Outside? Please fill out the form below. You and your team will learn the fundamental principles of sustainable clothing, why it has such an impact on the world around us, and how you can incorporate environmentally friendly practices into your life and business.

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