Thank you teachers!

Over at the always great addicteddotcom, Chelsea, a 16 year old from British Columbia (and clearly a fashionista in the making), has posted about a school assignment:

“As part of my history class we’ve been looking into the impact that we as consumers have on our society, our economy, and our environment. Part of the assignment includes public awareness, and I figured that my blog would be the perfect place to share this message.”

This assignment has opened Chelsea’s eyes to ethical business practices and what she refers to as her ‘Style Footprint’ (love it!  I’m adopting that term!).

Chelsea wisely concludes:

“I think that, in the long run, what I have learned during this research project will stick with me for a very, very long time. As I continue to grow as both a consumer and an individual, I know that I will be able to make smarter decisions regarding where I shop and which companies I support. Of course, with knowledge comes the responsibility of sharing it with others. I will be sure to keep my friends, family, peers and coworkers informed and conscious about their decisions and mine. While we may not realize it, every piece of clothing we buy has an impact on not only society, but also the environment and our economy – both locally and globally. While my love of fashion continues to grow, I am thankful that in the future I will be able to make educated choices and help others to do the same.

Though it may not cross my mind each time I purchase, the environmental impact of my clothing – thought not immediately noticeable to me – is significant. From the harvesting and processing of various materials to the run-off of hazardous chemicals from garment factories, our poor Earth is the victim of much torture. Of course, anything I buy has to be transported at some point during it’s life and this also has big consequences. Every truckload of garments is another car on the road and thus more carbon dioxide and exhaust into the atmosphere. And with the price of gas higher than ever the cost of my clothing also is raised.

For most people, clothing is simply not their top priority. And besides, when you’ve got expenses like education, gas, groceries and a mortgage, who can really afford quality clothing these days? This brings me back to me personal mantra, “quality over quantity.” Many people might not realize this, but in the long run investing in a few quality pieces is much more ethical than buying a large amount of cheaper, poor-quality clothing. Unfortunately, for many of us clothing is just another expense rather than a form of art and communication, and with inexpensive products in higher demand than ever we have to find a way to fulfill these needs withour violating human rights and throwing away morals.”

Photo from Chelsea's blog post.

If a 16 year old can get it, pretty sure the rest of us can as well!  Chelsea has a great attitude when it comes to the impact of her consumer choices.  I have emailed a thank you note to Chelsea’s teacher for helping to instill these values into BC students.  And yes, I did use the word values, because at the end of the day, that is what ethical business, CSR and sustainability is about.  It is always great to see something like this!  Thank you teachers!

Nadira Lamrad

Nadira is the co-founder of Social Alterations. She is currently completing her final year as a PhD Candidate at City University of Hong Kong.

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