10 Trailblazing Young Environmentalists from Around the World

Autumn Peltier

One endless fountain of hope in sustainability is our youngest generation. In 2019, teenage Swedish activist Greta Thunberg took the world by storm through a scathing speech at the United Nations. Greta continued to make waves for her passionate environmentalist, ultimately being named Time Person of the Year. And while she’s the most famous young person of the movement, you’ll find other amazing kids and teenagers who are voices of change.

We want to honour some of these incredible young people by bringing awareness to who they are and their causes. Many other brave teens are fighting for change, so don’t let this list be the end of your rendezvous with young environmentalists!

1. Autumn Peltier (Canada)

A member of the Wiikwemkoong First Nation from Northern Ontario, 15-year-old Autumn Peltier is one of the most vibrant voices in clean water today. Peltier lives on Lake Huron, one of the Great Lakes of North America, and she considers herself lucky because she and her people always had access to clean water. She became an activist after learning of other indigenous communities who can’t drink their contaminated water. In the past few years, she’s met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and even addressed world leaders at the UN General Assembly.

You can follow her here.

2. Mari Copeny (USA)

Known as “Little Miss Flint,” Mari Copeny is a 12-year-old native of Flint, Michigan. Since she was much younger, Copeny and her family have suffered the city’s ongoing water crisis. When she was 8, she sent a letter to then-President Barack Obama, demanding a government response. After declaring that “letters from kids like [Copeny] are what make me so optimistic about the future,” Obama headed to Flint in a visit that resulted in declaring a federal state of emergency, authorizing $100 million to fix the crisis. Copeny has continued to be one of the most recognizable faces in the fight towards improving Flint’s water crisis.

You can follow her here.

3. Xiye Bastida (Mexico-USA)

18-year-old Xiye Bastida was born in Atlacomulco, Mexico, and raised as part of the Otomi-Toltec indigenous group in San Pedro Tultepec until 2015. At that time, she and her family had to emigrate to the United States due to extreme climate conditions: their hometown was severely flooded after a three-year drought. She began her activism soon after moving to New York City. Bastida led her high school in a climate strike and spoke about Indigenous Cosmology in the United Nations’ World Urban Forum. Bastida currently sits on the administration committee of the People’s Climate Movement.

You can follow her here.

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RCGD Presents The Workshops

A journey into sustainable fashion through learning and understanding…

A series of workshops aimed at educating on the topic of sustainability. Curated for beginners, or those who are simply curious and ready to go on a journey of learning and understanding.

Launching on Thursday 8th October 2020
What to expect…

The Workshops will be hosted by RCGD CEO Samata with a range of guest appearances, including RCGD Founder Suzy Amis Cameron, covering key topics including:
Sustainable Design
Responsible Consumption
Fashion’s Impact on Nature
Intersectional Environmentalism – Human Rights & Social Justice
Communications Messaging & Terminology
Garment Care & End of Use
Sustainable Materials and Technologies
Size and Price Inclusivity – Size, Price, Category

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One World Cultural Sustainability Survey

For us at RCGD, cultural sustainability is the foundational element of sustainable development as it is intricately entwined with the social, environmental and economic spheres. At RCGD, we are very keen to understand your cultural references for sustainability and are happy to see this becoming a topic of greater significance in the industry. We have devised a single-question survey that we would love to share with our followers. Please click HERE  to redirect to submit your response!

 

Message From Our Founder

Words from Suzy Amis Cameron…

Placeholder text here:

Summertime – a moment of pause, reflection, travel and raucous family reunions; at least that’s what it meant to me in years past.  Most of us are wearing facemasks to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19 when we are brave enough to venture outside our homes.  We are picking up signs, protesting in the street for our friends and neighbors – seeking change.  We are a planet of tremendous souls that have experienced grief, fear, loss and so many other emotions and pains throughout the last few months. It makes you wonder, what will summer bring?

In closing, I’m taking a moment to reflect and plan ahead for a better future for our children. I extend my gratitude to those working tirelessly everyday during this pandemic. We would not have made the recoveries, had the ability to purchase groceries, or order our online purchases if it weren’t for those hard workers that showed up every day for us. Thank you. For those who have stood by their fellow American in the midst of COVID-19, you are admired and respected.

Sincerely,
Suzy

Fashion’s Textile Waste Problem

Proper waste management is of the most primordial stepping stones into a more conscious, regenerative lifestyle. It’s a well-known fact that the average individual generates tons of waste every year as the result of day-to-day living, most of which ends up in landfills or polluting our oceans and islands. And while we all need to step up and do everything we can to decrease our negative impact, it amounts to little if the world’s largest companies are generating an individual’s yearly quota every second. Unfortunately, one of the world’s leading generators of waste is the textile industry. And as EDGE reports, if it weren’t for the existence of oil, the fashion would be the largest polluter in the world.

Over the past 15 years, fashion production has doubled while the amount of time our clothes occupy in our wardrobes has significantly decreased. Entirely suitable and wearable garments end up thrown away and burned in landfills when they could easily be passed on or repurposed. Mass-produced garments which are not made to last, known as design obsolescence, coupled with our mental bombardment by a dangerous notion that our wardrobe needs to change entirely every few months, has brought us to where we are. Fast fashion has gone from releasing four seasons in a year to up to 10 collections (or more) over the past decade. This leads to two major and connected issues – more shopping, and less time for pieces to be in style. Between items that go unsold and the toxic disposal-focused culture, textiles have become huge components of landfills everywhere. The USA alone had generated up to 32.44 billion pounds of textile waste by 2014 by EPA estimates, and surely the numbers are much higher six years later. In all, textile waste makes up about 9.5% of America’s yearly municipal waste.

It’s been a growing concern for the past decade, as fashion lines have increased yearly production. The entire process is damaging on multiple levels, creating systematically unfair practices and a dismal situation for Earth’s health. It’s not just bad for people and our planet: waste isn’t even an economically sound practice. The industry misses about $560 billion in value due to the limited lifespan of the textiles we so heavily rely on.

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The magnitude of damage caused by toxic chemicals in fast fashion

The magnitude of damage caused by toxic chemicals in fast fashion is shocking!

There are four distinct pillars hugely affected: Consumers, Garment Workers, the Community living around the manufacturing facilities, and the Environment that we all live in. Regulating this space is complex and varies from country to country. It’s not uncommon for some toxic chemicals to go totally unregulated!⁣ As consumers, we can often feel powerless in this situation but the smallest of actions do play a part. Researching brands before purchasing, buying second hand or vintage, and reducing our overall consumption all help. In an interview with goop, eco-fashion advocate Marci Zaroff said that the worst and most hazardous chemicals are used in conventional textiles, so buying certified GOTS, Cradle to Cradle, and/or OEKO-TEX are the best ways to take action. Another tip she suggests is to encourage our favourite brands and retailers to build chemical reduction strategies, especially in their dyeing and processing supply chains. ⁣

Any other pointers worth raising? We would love to hear our community’s thoughts on this.⁣

Six Sins of Greenwashing

Twelve years ago, TerraChoice released a report entitled ‘Six Sins of Greenwashing’ which surveyed the North American consumer markets and delved more into false or misleading green marketing claims. The report concluded that greenwashing is pervasive, and came up with six key sins of greenwashing to be wary of. With the recent surge of environmental and sustainability awareness across the globe, this report seems more relevant now than ever. ⁣

Community, we urge you to do your research and investigate clothing brands before purchasing from them. There are many resources out there to help you avoid labels that may be greenwashing. We highly recommend the @goodonyou_app, an excellent resource for trusted brand ratings, articles and expertise on ethical and sustainable fashion. Tag below any others you know of as well! ⁣

Biodegradability of fabrics

In the 2015 fashion documentary ‘True Cost’, it was reported that a staggering 80 billion pieces of clothing are consumed each year, but only 10% of them are donated to charity or thrift stores. The remaining 90% ends up in landfills as textile waste! Well, how can we avoid textile waste? One option is to extend the lifecycle of our clothing by up-cycling or repurposing them, and the other option is to decompose some of our clothing!  Textiles made from natural fibres can be composted and returned to earth. We’ve put together a little infographic on the biodegradability of the fabrics to help you along the next time you do a spring clean of your wardrobe. Some of your clothes can go straight back into the soil. Take a look below…

5 Free Online Courses to Learn About Sustainability in Fashion and Beyond

Millions of people around the world are stuck inside their houses, and boredom has been taking hold of many people over the past weeks. For those of us fortunate enough to stay at home, the days might feel a little endless, with not much to do. As we wait for the outside to become safer again, this is a great time to turn our attention to learning things. Thinking of the people who can’t go out and don’t have a lot to do right now, we’ve curated a list of great (and free!) online courses related to environmentalism and sustainable design.

Isolation can be difficult. The considerable decrease in social interaction and outdoor activities can make anyone anxious and feeling on edge. Keeping one’s mind occupied is a great way to pass the time during these strange days. We can’t think of a better way to exercise the brain than learning about the driving force behind Red Carpet Green Dress: sustainability. The courses below revolve around creating a more conscious future for our planet and viewing different perspectives on sustainable practices. We hope you enjoy them!

1. UCLA – Sustainable Living
Designed, developed, and facilitated by UCLA students, the Sustainable Living course online is a sub-division of the Education for Sustainable Living Program (ESLP). The series compiles talks from speakers from the university and several other institutions to talk about the layers of sustainability. Here, you’ll hear about the practices of conscious living from experts, activists, professors, community activists, reps from environmental NGOs, and even government officials. The topics are as varied as green businesses, environmental justice, food systems, organic gardens, transportations, and the green economy in general, and it serves as a great introduction to this vast world.

2. London College of Fashion – Fashion, and Sustainability: Understanding Luxury Fashion in a Changing World
The London College of Fashion has housed the Centre for Sustainable Fashion research facility since 2008. For years, this institution has focused on creating knowledge to make our industry more sustainable. Their Fashion and Sustainability free course, aimed at fashion workers and educators, serves as an introduction to sustainable fashion, and its potential impact. Educators from the Centre for Sustainable Fashion teach this six-week course. In this time, they explore the reasoning behind sustainable fashion, the critical issues within the industry, the agendas at play, and the contexts associated with luxury fashion. Kering, Kering, the luxury fashion group behind brands like Gucci, Balenciaga, and Yves Saint Laurent, supports this series of lectures.

3. The University of Exeter – Who Made My Clothes?
Created in conjunction with the not-for-profit global movement Fashion Revolution, this 3-week course serves as a first contact with how the fashion industry looks behind the scenes. Students can learn about the practices of the fashion industry and how supply chains work, along with their cost in the economy and the lives of workers. It’s also an excellent tool to learn how to research brands and engaging in a safer and more conscious supply chain. It is an excellent place to begin that journey if you’re looking for a guide on how to become a more conscious buyer.

4. Columbia University – The Age of Sustainable Development
A 14-week course taught by world-renowned economist Jeffrey Sachs, it is based on his 2015 book of the same name. It’s an in-depth view of the meaning of sustainable development, and the current challenges its practices face. The Columbia professor teaches course students about the history of economic growth from the Industrial Revolution onwards, and how inequality has looked like at different times. He also delves into the various scenarios that need to be taken into account for sustainable development, including social justice, urbanisation, climate change, biodiversity, and more. In all, these lessons offer a comprehensive look from someone who has been researching this topic in the world stage for many years.

5. The Canopy Lab – Sustainability for Youth
The Canopy Lab is a Danish company that’s been looking to change the way people learn since 2015. Their Sustainability for Youth course has several speakers from different areas and experiences sharing their journeys in sustainability, from day-to-day practices like reducing waste to entrepreneurs creating projects entirely based on organic materials.