"Sustainable fashion is growing, and you can be part of the change!" tells 16-Year-Old Girl Scout Sarah Kessler on Instagram. She has been interested in fashion for a long time and now actively works for more sustainability in the fashion industry.
As she learned more about sustainable fashion, she felt the need to explains what everyone can do to fix it. She created a video on her new Youtube channel "Fashion Or Planet? Choose Both!" to bring awareness about the dangers of fast fashion and inspire real change.
"Fast fashion is destroying the Earth and killing the workers making our clothes. Educate yourself, join organizations making changes, and buy less, buy better. Sustainable fashion is within reach, and you can be part of the solution with a few easy steps!"
- Sarah Kessler
Sarah Kessler is working toward the Girl Scout Gold Award, the most prestigious award in the world for girls - and the most difficult to earn. It's awarded to young women and inspiring leaders that make a sustainable change in their communities and around the world.
She drew two shopping maps for northeastern Minnesota with more than 80 retail stores that sell locally-made, responsibly-made, Fair Trade Certified, and/or second-hand clothing. She explains:
“When I kind of learned about how badly we need sustainable fashion, I was just really shocked, because I’d been into fashion my whole life, and I’d never heard about this before. I was just really amazed, and I wanted to give people the opportunity to know how their actions affect so much more than they think it does.”
The fashion industry is the second-largest polluter globally after the oil industry. It massively exploits natural resources on the planet that aren't infinite.
It also exploits billions of animals every year, as well as people in developing countries. They are forced to work under unsafe conditions, with a lack of healthcare, low wages, and abuse.
The global textile and apparel industry accounts for more than 8% of annual carbon emissions, as reported by the 2019 Fashion Transparency Index. If the trend continues, its contribution to global warming will keep increasing with greenhouse gas emissions 50% higher by 2030.
In the United States alone, 16.9 million tons of used textile wastes are generated every year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). That number is close to 10 times bigger than in 1960 and has doubled over the last 20 years.
Luckily, as consumers, we have the power to drive change in the fashion industry. We choose the clothes we buy and who we support with our money.
It's very inspiring to see young leaders take action to reduce the disastrous impact of our excessive clothing consumption.
Sarah Kessler has been a Girl Scout for five years and thought of sustainable fashion as a great topic for her Gold Award project. She spreads awareness about it through her video, shopping maps, social media channels, and public speaking.
She reached out to more than 80 retail stores and asked about their sustainability efforts. She finds very inspiring how many stores offer responsibly and locally-made clothing.
Her shopping maps are free for use and distribution. She plans to distribute them through visitor centers and chambers of commerce.
Follow Sarah Kessler's project on Instagram.
About the Author: Alex Assoune
Alex Assoune (MS) is a global health and environmental advocate. He founded Panaprium to inspire others with conscious living, ethical, and sustainable fashion. Alex has worked in many countries to address social and environmental issues. He speaks three languages and holds two Master of Science degrees in Engineering from SIGMA and IFPEN schools.