Can We Change The World One Informed Purchase At A Time?

By Sinead O’Reilly

There is a circular cycle of events that often occur when it comes to discussing the current state of the world with regard to sustainability. It perhaps starts with someone mentioning the fact that the clothing industry is the second highest polluter in the world (The True Cost). Or that in Australia, citizens are producing over 500,000 tonnes of textile waste a year (RiverBlue). Or even, that since 1995 over 250,000 Indian cotton farmers have lost their lives to suicide due to debilitating stress from debt accumulated in trying to compete with growing GMO crops (Bitter Seeds). Of those in the discussion who are not in the know, shock and upset usually follows, with questions trailing after.

How is this possible? Why is this not in the news? What can be done? But then when the answers arrive, Buy less. Buy better. Slow down.

  The shock often shifts to something else I would love to buy more ethically but I actually can’t afford to. That won’t stop the big retailers from selling fast fashion. One person can’t change the world. More often than not, the chat will turn to that of the food chain, an awkward debate may ensue, and sooner or later the conversation will get permanently changed to a safer subject. Problem solved. Well, that of conversation etiquette will be solved. The other problem, or multitude of problems, from inhumane working conditions to global pollution to staggering suicide rates will be left to exist in the ether somewhere, unsolved. There is a strange paradox with that phrase  

While problems are there to be solved, the notion of doing so can sometimes put us off, for fear that solving a whole problem is much too much for one person to do alone. And it is, alone.

  Kaizen is a Japanese word meaning ‘improvement’. It also denotes a philosophy citing that small changes along the line can improve the overall process or state of something. It finds its roots in the Toyota Auto factory back in the 1940’s but is a strategy successfully deployed across businesses globally today and is a personal philosophy followed by many individuals too. Even if it’s not common knowledge to all, it’s no secret that the current issues surrounding global sustainability are huge, but who’s to say small, steady steps aren’t the way to solve it.  

Renewed resources

  Mosa Meats, Impossible Foods, and JUST are alternative food companies that specialise in creating lab-grown meat and putting it into the mouths of the consumer. At present it is estimated that the world’s population will expand to 9.6 billion by 2050, a number far too large to be nourished by the meat resources available on earth. Business mogul and financial back of Impossible Foods, Bill Gates, predicts the strain feeding the world with meat could have, “raising meat takes a great deal of land and water and has a substantial environmental impact”; Yet, he is realistic and level-headed in his approach to a solution,  

“We can’t ask everyone to become vegetarians. That’s why we need more options for producing meat without depleting our resources”

  While the creation of lab-grown meat is undoubtedly a huge step forward in the realm of scientific achievement, the way in which it is being put into the mouths of the consumer is steady and measured. Once entering the retail space the likes of Mosa and JUST will be placed in the butcher section, side by side with their grassroots counterparts. Small steps into the butcher section and even smaller steps into the mind of the consumer as a suitable alternative that is ethically sound and works to sustain the environment, lab-grown meat looks to take on big pharma problems one step at a time.  

Conscious clothing

As a brand new to the market, it’s only expected that we here at Stiall would be taking small steps, the difference is, in the years to come that won’t change. As a slow fashion brand, our sights are fixed on change at a rate that we know is reasonable and sustainable for generations to come. While we will not accept the continuance of increased deterioration of our world and fellow- workers, we accept that to bring about change will take time. One ethically made, fair-trade, fair-paid tee bought on our site as opposed to those whose origins are ominous will not change the world, but it will take us in the right direction, one small step at a time.

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