Last year Greta Thunberg, the then 15-year-old Swedish environmental activist, initiated School Strike for Climate Change. It’s difficult not to be inspired by the activism of the younger generation, as last week thousands of adults across the country joined children walking out of school, taking to the streets to demand action on climate change. They are not just ‘bunking off’, it’s hard to see the benefits of algebra when there is no oxygen left on the planet.
The government has announced a climate emergency and yet fails to do anything about it. Hardly surprising since the Prime Minister can’t even organise his own hair, let alone Brexit. Within 12 years, without drastic action now, the damage will be irreversible and a very real threat to our existence. Recently, we witnessed enormous areas of the Amazon rainforest, the lungs of the planet, devastated by fire; starving us of another 20% of our oxygen. As Thunberg said in a speech to congress on Wednesday Night “stop telling people that everything will be fine. As it looks now, everything won’t be fine”.
Actions we can all take
So, what can we do directly for the environment in our daily lives? ‘Meat free Mondays’, plant-based diet, eradicate single use plastics…. It’s not just rhetoric. Obviously, models need to drink plenty of water so make sure you take your own eco-friendly bottle to castings, perhaps consider a personalised one with your ‘Insta handle’ on? Whilst this alone is obviously not enough, if we all change 80% of our choices, it will make a difference. It’s a challenge to make conscious changes when our society is set up to make everything as fast and cheap as possible. Like Tinder dates.
In the real world most models rarely make a fortune (although we’re all crossing our fingers for you to get that next Dior campaign) and what is most ethical, is rarely most practical in our busy lives. Consider travelling by plane as little as possible, although New York fashion week should be an exception. It’s true, the more ‘successful’ and richer people are, the easier it is to make conscious choices; which is why we all need to draw these issues to their attention. Another simple and practical change available to us, is to save water by sharing a bath; admittedly this could go either way depending on the other person in it. *It is advisable not to do this with casting agents, even if you fancy them*! #metoo Don’t do it!
Possibly one of the biggest challenges for models regarding ethical sensibilities, concerns ‘fast fashion’. The close of London fashion week saw a series of protests that compared the impact of the fashion industry to the impact of single use plastics. However, stylist Mark Heyes maintains that “clothing isn’t the enemy here, it’s how it’s dealt with afterwards and we’re making incredible headway with that”. So, donate, sell and swap unwanted clothes. Let’s face it, upcycling and vintage is much chicer and more memorable at a casting.
So, as always in our darkest days, let us look to the wisdom and words of one of our most beloved Divas, our Whitney “I believe that children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way”. Greta’s generation can teach us not only about climate change, but about responsibility, solidarity, passion and fighting for what we believe in. Of course, the most eco friendly thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint, is to not bring any little Greta’s into the world yourself. But that’s a whole other conversation.
For further information; firstly, sign the petition! http://chng.it/yvhrSwTLj4
Information about practical changes you can make visit http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20181102-what-can-i-do-about-climate-change
Or the student climate network https://ukscn.org/