Code Red for humanity
“Today’s IPCC … report is a code red for humanity. The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable: Greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk. Global heating is affecting every region on Earth, with many of the changes becoming irreversible.” (UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres)
In 2021, the IPCC reported that we are facing CODE RED for humanity and that the narrow window of opportunity is closing fast. We need urgent, radical action to keep to 1.5oC global heating alive; we are heading for 2.9°C above pre-industrial levels (link) For every 1 degree, one billion people will suffer displacement and suffer from food and water shortages.
Biodiversity is threatened with nearly one million animal and plant species on the brink of extinction. The systemic effects of this loss of nature could be the tipping point for us too as the lungs of the world, the Amazon rainforest, fights for survival threatened by commercialisation for meat, leather, logging and mining. This is all on our watch.
The fashion industry’s part in the Climate, Ecological and Social crisis
Fashion contributes up to 10 percent of GHG emissions (The_Sustainability_Index_2021.pdf (businessoffashion.com) and is predicted by 2050 to contribute more than 26 percent of the world’s annual carbon budget associated with a 2oC pathway.
Fashion is highly dependent on fossil fuels. “The use of synthetic fibres derived from oil in textiles has more than doubled since 2000 and is already present in over two thirds (69%) of textiles we use today. Most cotton is still not organic and relies on fossil fuel derived fertilisers and pesticides to grow it, the fabrics are dyed, printed and finished with synthetic dyes and the final product is produced in coal-powered factories and distributed in a system that relies on unrenewable energy.Fossil fuels are responsible for 89 percent of GHG emissions and the extreme pollution from extraction to the 35 percent of textile related micro-fibres in our oceans, and drastically undermine water and soil health.
That’s why Earth logic makes the case for cutting production by 75-95 percent of current resorce use by 2030 – see more below- and the British Fashion Council recommends that production is cut by 50 percent. Link here.
Growing cotton accounts for 69 percent of the water footprint of textile fibre production; just one kilogram of cotton takes as much as 10,000 to 20,000 litres of water to produce (Cotton on: the staggering potential of switching to organic clothes | Fashion | The Guardian). In terms of pollution, conventionally grown cotton is produced using huge quantities of insecticide and pesticide and 69 percent of the water footprint of all textile fibre production. Chemical addition to crops causes soil deterioration, species loss and pollution. Growing cotton organically uses significantly less (up to 91 percent) water than conventional cotton. See more on Topic 5.
It can take years to understand how the fashion industry works. to understand it better Think Circular have provided this useful graphic.