Commemorating Our Planet & The Victims of The Rana Building Collapse

Earth Day is approaching soon. We want to take a moment and express our gratitude to our planet.  It's a truly beautiful and magnificent home for our increasing population of 7.5 billion people. We are grateful for all the natural resources given to us by our wonderful planet. For the last 5 years Californians, like myself  were experiencing historic levels of drought and have been accustomed to imposed water restrictions. Fortunately, due to high levels of rainfall this past winter we received enough rain for the drought to be declared officially over. Water scarcity and water pollution is a global issue. Water contamination stories have been popping up more recently in cities like Flint, Michigan, Philadelphia, Chicago and over 290 communities in California. Around 1.1 billion people worldwide lack access to water, 2.7 billion are water scarce for at least one month every year and 2.4 billion people lack access to clean water. With more water contamination stories being reported in the United States the number will likely increase. According to this GE report each year China generates around 70 billion tons of wastewater from textile production and requires proper treatment before being released into the environment. China is the largest textile producing country in the world.  It’s also happening in other fashion producing countries like Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Cambodia. The processes for treating manmade and natural fabrics are desizing, scouring, bleaching,  dyeing, special finishings and mercerizing. These various steps require chemical usage with large amounts of water. The treatment of organic cotton goes through the same processes and unless the textile processor are certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard they are not truly 100% organic. The Global Organic Textile Standard  is recognized as one of the leading processing standards for textiles made from organic fibers. Textile producers of organic fibers must adhere and comply to the standards given by GOTS and are mandated to have functional wastewater treatment plants on site in order to receive their certified approval. Untreated wastewater adversely affects workers, the biological environment and the people living directly in those communities.

There has been tragedy for the sake of fashion from the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire on March 25, 1911 where 146 garment workers were killed with 71 injured to the tragic incident of the Savar building collapse in Rhana, Bangladesh which occurred 4 years ago,claiming the lives of 1129 garment workers. We honor the Rana Garment Workers and their families. 

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While it would be great to have Erin Brokovich fighting to bring justice on behalf of everyone in our global community. There are several things that can be done on an individual level such as donating to organizations like Water.Org, The Water Project , Fashion Revolution ,  The Ethical Fashion Initiative or Fair Wear.  Balance your wardrobe by purchasing from ethical fashion brands and include vintage clothes. Start asking for increased supply chain transparency from brands and retailers. Doing what you can is better than doing nothing at all. For an in depth look on what is happening in garment factories overseas watch the True Cost of Fashion.