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Clothing Exchanges: The Way Forward

Hi, I’m Tamsyn, a Gr11 student, and these are a few of my views on ‘Being Green’ and what that entails… happy reading, yo.

So. Global Warming. Climate change. Carbon Emissions. Going ‘Green’. These are phrases we hear everyday, but do we every really think about them or the implications they have on our lives? Concern for the environment is one of the hottest topics in our current era, but do we ever do more than just talk? Do we actually go about making changes in our lives?

I know some people do, those people are cool people. I want to be like them. I try, but not everyone is perfect and sometimes there are constrictions. Like money, time, energy. I would love to live in a house that runs solely on renewable energy and eat only organic and patch the hole in the ozone layer myself, but sometimes this isn’t all entirely possible.

But I know I can still make a difference. I will. I have the inspiration. I just need to be proactive. Climate change, global warming and the increase of carbon emissions are not going to magically disappear, they will continue to destroy our planet unless we sit up and do something about it. That was super cliché, I’m sorry.

Recently I went to an event called ‘Just Shopping’ hosted by an organisation ‘The Warehouse’ and organised by some young ladies from my church. The event comprised of some insightful interactive workshops, some advertising of eco-friendly, local produce e.g. Fair Trade coffee (which is delicious btw, I just had some now, yummy) and chocolate. The second half of the event was what attracted my mom and I to go, a clothing exchange.

To gain entry into The Warehouse (which is an actual warehouse) we had to provide 2-4 items of ‘previously-loved’ clothes/shoes/scarves/hats. We got a tad over exited and bought a whole bag of clothes sourced from the closets of every one of my four family members (even those not present at the event) but nonetheless…

After the workshops, each person present was allowed to go and choose as many items of clothing as they had bought, or as many as they felt right and fair. So we got to shop, for free! It was amazing and very eco-friendly might I add!

But for me, the workshops are what really inspired me to go out and be a better person, for the environment and other people. The additions to my wardrobe were just an added extra!

The organisers got us talking about how to make sustainable decisions as consumers. To read clothing labels was one thing, it only takes a few seconds, but could be the start of people buying only local products, I mean, how many of our clothes or household appliances say ‘Made in China’, a country renowned for its sweat shops and exploitation of workers?!

This idea of thinking about what you buy, buying responsibly and for a sustainable future really stuck with me. We also talked about how we should always know where our stuff comes from, and ask when we are unsure, also that buying bargains and cheap stuff is not always the best option, especially when most cheap is ‘Made in China’ and had to be flown or shipped across the world.

This was a big turning point for me, a big bargain-hunter, who gets a thrill of buying stuff on sale. I realised that buying more expensive, quality, local stuff where you know exactly where it has come from, is better and will last longer. Then when you are tired of your clothes, or they don’t fit anymore, you can hold a clothing exchange with friends and get new stuff for free and know that you are making a difference to the environment by not buying more stuff but rather RESUSING (note key eco-word) old stuff and giving it new life.

So I hereby encourage all of you to be ECO-CONSCIOUS shoppers, to think about where your stuff comes from and to make responsible choices in what you buy to make this world a better place.

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