A Sustainable Future

In 1988 when I was in the 10th grade I started The Recycling Club at my high school, the point of which was, recycling. It was not very cool back then, most of the kids (most, not all… there were about a dozen students who joined) thought I was crazy. My blue hair, torn fishnets and combat boots didn’t help I’m sure. Needless to say, back then it was a thankless task but one I believed in with all my heart and while the blue hair is long gone my belief in sustainability and protecting the environment still stands. So I get very excited when big brands like Levi’s and Patagonia practice what they preach, unlike certain publishing houses that produce a “Green Issue” once a year but somehow can’t find it in their budgets to recycle within the company. There I said it, send me to the fashion gallows once more. Last night at the Levi’s Haus a small like minded group gathered to listen to a dialogue focused on sustainability and responsible practices in business between Erik Joule (SVP of Merchandising and Design at Levi’s), Gary White (CEO and Co-Founder of Water.org), Alexandra Cousteau (Celebrity, Environmentalist & Founder of Blue Legacy), Vincent Stanley (VP of Global Marketing at Patagonia), Jane Choi (LA Urban Planner/Bike Planner) and Ben Goldhirsh (GOOD CEO) who served as host and moderator. I loved the statistics that Vincent from Patagonia mentioned, I had no idea that 90 percent of a product’s environmental impact is decided in the design stages, which includes the decision between regularly farmed and organic cotton. To manufacture one non-organic cotton polo shirt uses enough water for 700 people per day while 70% of our water use goes into agriculture. And around the globe there are 840 million people without safe drinking water. All mind blowing statistics. It’s seems overwhelming to think about but it’s the small steps that matter. We all know about only flushing when necessary and not letting the water run when brushing our teeth, and after many years in NY without a car or a lawn to water I feel like my “foot print” is slightly less than… what I don’t really know, these are all things I say to make myself feel better but we all do what we can and it’s good to support those doing it on a larger scale. But it’s not all gloom and doom; Gary from Water.org ended on a great positive note, saying our overall water consumption is down since the 50’s and this generation is more aware of these issues which is good news all around. Patagonia also just published a new book which I want to read called The Responsible Company that summarizes everything they have learned about sustainability and being more responsible in manufacturing and design throughout their 40 years in business.

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