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  • Young Climate Warriors

Can you help out climate change by being creative? What's lurking in the back of your cupboard?

Updated: May 14, 2021

It might have turned a little bit chilly again, but summer is nearly here! Do you know what summer clothes you have in your cupboards? 80% of 16-24-year olds can’t remember what clothes they own - that's 4 out of every 5!! – can you?? – and if we can’t remember what we already have, we are more likely to think we need to buy something new. In the UK, we buy more clothes per person than any other country in Europe!!

Can you rummage in the deepest, darkest corners of your wardrobe or drawers to see what you can find to help tackle climate change? It can be exciting to find clothes that you haven’t worn for a while - if it still fits, you’re ready for the summer! If there’s a tear or a stain, can you remember how it got there? – that’s part of your story and makes your clothes into your own portable memory-box! If you need to, can you mend it, patch it or even tie-dye it? See below for some handy tips and ask your parent/ carer before you get started. If it is too small for you, can you parcel it up and pass it onto a friend / cousin / neighbour? You could try to remember this simple rule - Repair it. Outgrow it. Pass it on

This week’s challenge is to try to think in a new way about your clothes - our first thought should be ‘how do I fix it’, not ‘how do I get a new one’! . After you have tidied out your clothes cupboard – and helped tackle climate change by buying less - then don’t forget to HIT THE RED BUTTON!

Ever wondered why clothing production is bad for climate change? Clothing production actually contributes more to climate change than international air travel and shipping combined! There are carbon emissions related to each of the various stages of clothing production – cotton growing (water and pesticides), cotton processing (factory energy use), garment manufacturing (factory energy use), retail packaging, transportation and then post-use waste and recycling.

To reduce your impact on climate change – can you get it second hand, or borrow from a friend? If you have to buy new, can you find the label and investigate what’s in it and where it was made? Organically grown cotton creates over 40% less carbon emissions – because it supports healthier soils, avoids pesticides and fertilizers, and uses 90% less water than regular cotton! If you’re looking for synthetic fabrics, look out for recycled materials – they use less energy and resources than other synthetic fabrics. They may have started out as plastic bottles that have been melted down to make a new material. This sounds pretty cool, but unfortunately it doesn’t get rid of the plastic, it just delays its escape into the environment – another reason why we need to get as much use as we can out of our existing clothes.

You may have heard of the term ‘circular economy’? – it’s was first used in relation to the textiles and clothing industry. In order to dramatically decrease our clothing related carbon emissions we need to create a more circular approach to making, using and disposing of products – a circular approach means designing out waste and pollution by continually recovering and recycling the raw materials, and by growing raw materials such as cotton in sustainable ways.

If you’re interested in finding out more about how clothes are made, and their impact on the environment, you could watch this TED-ed talk on ‘the life cycle of a t-shirt’

If you want to get crafty, try using some old fabric scraps to make funky patches to repair your jeans, or check out this blog which shows you how to make tie-dye out of turmericto update an old white t-shirt or even an old pair of socks.

Don’t forget to HIT THE RED BUTTON when you have undertaken this wardrobe challenge and send us a photo of your crafty repairs or your tidy cupboard!


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