It’s occurred to me that although I’ve made some lifestyle changes to become more planet-friendly (or at least less planet-unfriendly), such as only buying second-hand clothing, my activism so far has been zero. Nada. Nothing.
As a small first step, I’ve written the below (very formal-sounding!) letter to my local MP. Feel free to copy and paste to your own MP if you live in the UK. You can find him or her at https://members.parliament.uk/members/Commons Now is a perfect time as there’s an inquiry into the damage caused by fast fashion happening right now.
Thanks for reading
I am a constituent who is writing to you in connection with the ongoing investigation by the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC), chaired by your colleague the Right Honourable Philip Dunne, entitled ‘Fixing Fashion: Follow Up’.
As you may know, the clothing industry has a number of major impacts on the environment:
- The global fashion industry is estimated to have produced around 2.1 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2018; the equivalent to the combined emissions of France, Germany and the UK, according to the EAC.
- The United Nations has highlighted the fact that around 93 billion cubic metres of water – enough to meet the needs of five million people – is used by the fashion industry annually, and around half a million tons of microfibre, which is the equivalent of 3 million barrels of oil, is now being dumped into the ocean every year.
- The non-profit organisation WRAP estimates the annual cost to the UK economy of sending clothes and household textiles to landfill to be approximately £82 million.
Two years ago, the government rejected the EAC’s proposals, despite these being relatively modest. A proposed ban on sending unsold stock that can be reused or recycled to landfill was rejected. The government also failed to implement a suggested 1 penny tax on new garments, the proceeds of which would have been used to fund collection and recycling of textiles.
As you are aware, the United Kingdom has made a number of legally binding commitments to improve its environmental stewardship, notably the ‘Climate Change Act 2008 (2050 Target Amendment) Order 2019’ which requires this country to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Parliament has also formally recognised that we face a climate emergency with the threat of the irreversible destruction of the environment within our lifetimes.
It is difficult to reconcile the government’s commitment to addressing climate change with its inaction on such a pressing issue. I hope that you will join with Mr Dunne to urge the government to implement the EAC’s recommendations on this occasion.