Elephants are one of the most majestic species on Earth. There are two species of Elephants the African Elephant, which is the largest land mammal on Earth! And, the Asian Elephant. Unfortunately they have had a 50% decline in their population over the last 35 years, due to habitat loss and human conflict. Statistics shockingly show that 1 Elephant dies every 15 minutes. This rapid decline in the population, predicts that the year 2025 will be a year without Elephants. We need Elephants, as they are linked to rich biodiversity, and are needed to maintain forest and savanna ecosystems, they are a vital part of our planet. They are also key stone species, so would be major blow to lose such a powerful animal.
The Elephant pants have partnered with the ‘International Elephant foundation’ to donate a portion their sales, to help create a sustainable future for Elephants and in doing so will protect the globes biodiversity. They are focusing on four major categories.
- Anti poaching and security
- Habitat protection and Elephant conservation partners
- Finding a cure
- Sharing our world: Preventing human-Elephant conflict
So far, $138,170.00 has been donated to charitable organizations, very impressive! They will donate 10 % of all net profits to save Elephants.
I was recently sent the gorgeous ‘Annabelle sundress’, the perfect summer dress! I adore it, as it’s light, flowy and a beautiful design. It can be dressed up or down, and the best part it’s helping to save the Elephants. The Elephant pants offer many items, from pants, sundresses, yoga tops, shirts and accessories. Here is a link to their website and online store
I was given the opportunity to contribute to ‘what’s your impact’ blog site ‘The Eco Guide’. The Eco guide aims to educate people on the fight against climate change. Offering information and tips on various topics, on how each individual can make small or large changes to their every day life to help sustain our Earth by lowering their carbon footprint. It was a privilege to contribute to this wonderful organization. Below is a link to their website and a copy of my post.
Eco-fashion, the fashion industry’s answer to help combat climate change?
There is a strong relationship between fashion and climate change, the fashion industry has a direct impact on our environment. The billion dollar fashion and apparel industry is the one of the largest polluters of our clean water supply. The fashion industry uses extensive amounts of the Earth’s natural resources, such as water (second largest industry user of water) cotton and other raw materials. Approximately 8,000 synthetic chemicals are used throughout the globe to turn raw materials into the textiles that are used to make our clothes and accessories. As a result this industry is a primary source of greenhouse gas emissions, including Carbon dioxide (CO2) which as we know is a principle source of global warming, which is rapidly changing the globes climate. Understanding the ‘supply chain’ is essential in recognizing where and how various factors of the fashion industry are contributing to dramatic environmental damage and as a result accelerating the rate of which climate change is occurring. The supply chain describes, the use of millions of people, various environments and natural resources. As the supply chain is the process that turns raw materials into the finished product, the process that makes a designers vision into an object displayed in a store or on-line. It is one of the longest and most complicated industrial chains in the manufacturing industry. Changes across this supply change can and are needed to be changed to lessen the impact on our environment and to also enhance the well being of the people working and the various ecosystems along this chain which are being subjected to pollution directly and indirectly, such as the waste polluting water sources from textile waste during unsustainable manufacturing procedures.
Fast facts about this billion dollar industry’s impact on the environment:
Next to the food and beverage industry, clothing and accessories are purchased most often and replaced the most frequently.
60 billion kilograms of fabric is outputted annually.
132 million metric tons of coal is used each year through the production of natural and synthetic fibers, dying and bleaching of garments.
The fashion industry uses six to nine trillion liters of water each year.
Cotton is the worlds most commonly used natural fiber and is nearly 40% of our clothing. Cotton is also the worlds largest pesticide consuming crop.
On average, 150 grams of pesticides and other agriculture chemicals are used to produce the cotton for just one T-shirt.
Each year, over 90 million items of clothing end up in various land fill sites.
Annually, over 70 millions trees are logged to be transformed into various fabrics.
Plastic microfibers shed from our synthetic clothing, enter our water systems and attribute to 85% of the human made material found along shorelines, effecting marine Eco-systems.
The Fashion industry is the second largest polluter to freshwater water systems across the globe.
A quarter of the chemicals produced on earth are used for textiles.
Over 150 billion garments are produced each year, which is enough to provide every person on this planet with 20 new garments annually.
Many of us do not acknowledge where our clothing comes from and take fashion for granted. As the fashion industry has been around for a very long time, it is extremely important culturally, historically, religiously and socially. Therefore, fashion has many important attributes. As such, fashion is a leading platform globally, so it is essential to our planet that the fashion industry is sustainable and lessens its impact on the environment and reduces its carbon footprint. The fashion industry has the global platform, to endorse and promote sustainability. This industry has the power to change through education on the importance of sustainability and green living. Preserving fashion for future generations by conserving our natural resources.
Eco-Fashion is a term which is thrown around more and more frequently, so what is Eco-fashion? Eco-fashion is a social responsibility which will help reduce human impact on the environment, and reduce fashions impact on climate change. This can be achieved by designers and brands making the switch to environmentally friendly materials, and by also changing the methods of the production to that which is socially and environmentally ethical. This can be achieved by making clothing from recycled materials, or from materials that are produced by environmentally sustainable methods. The health of the consumer wearing the clothes is an another essential factor of Eco-fashion, as well as the well being of those making these clothes, ensuring that their working conditions are safe and environmentally friendly. Sustainable fashion is becoming more prevalent. There are various types of brands and designers who are branded as Eco-fashion and target a wide range of audiences, these vary from high end fashion, chain stores (fast fashion) to local boutiques. Examples include:
Stella McCartney: This is a vegetarian based company, aiming to use responsible resources and materials to lessen their impact on the environment.
MadeFAIR: An on-line retailer who strive to make ethical, sustainable, and Certified Fair Trade clothing and accessories.
Fair trade winds: A company which use environmentally sustainable products and support artisans, farmers, and craftspeople from various Countries.
Symbology: A company who employs women artisans from India and the West Bank. Who work with textile arts worldwide and fuse them with modern designs to create inspired,unique pieces, with each individually telling story of empowerment.
Fibre atheltics: This company use organic and recycled materials in all of their products.
Shift to nature: A company which only source products from Designers and Labels whose mission is to produce ethical, Eco, sustainable products. These brands create clothes from Global Organic Textile Standard Certified Organic Cotton (GOTS) and Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified Bamboo.
Freedom of animals: A unique sustainable and cruelty-free luxury bag line.
H&M conscious collection: H&M is making the switch to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly, their starting point is the desire to make more sustainable fashion choices available, affordable and attractive to as many people as possible.
These examples are just a few of the Eco-fashion brands that exist, there are even more Eco-fashion brands found around the world, we can all do some research to find an environmentally friendly brand that is near where we live and what suits us all individually. It is vital that we are all fashion conscious and are aware of what we are wearing on our bodies. The consumers of the fashion world have a voice, each of us can shop sustainable and reach out to those fashion brands who are not environmentally conscious and suggest they make changes that will protect our earth for our future generations.
Studies have illustrated that over the whole life cycle of a piece of clothing, from the manufacturing of raw materials to the disposal of that item, the CO2 emissions on average add up to more than 10 kilograms! As consumers we all have the power to enjoy and embrace guilt free fashion. Here are a few suggestions to wear with care, and make the switch to green fashion, by following these tips each of us can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
1. Limit your clothes:
Research has shown that the carbon footprint of a t-shirt is estimated to be approximately 6 kilograms, around 20 times its own weight! Ask yourself, how many clothes do you actually need? Ensure that your wardrobe is trans seasons. Meaning, make sure the clothes that you buy last over multiple seasons and can cross over into all seasons.
Recycling is extremely important when reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Even by recycling 1 kilogram of used clothes will help to reduce up to 3.6 kilograms of CO2 emissions. Detox your wardrobe, and when clearing out unwanted clothes make sure that these do not end up in landfill. Recycling clothing will help conserve raw materials and natural resources that have already gone through the supply chain, this will eliminate the use of 6000 liters of water, 300 grams of fertilizers and 200 grams of pesticides, required to start from scratch. Donate to charitable organizations such as goodwill and the salvation army, this will also provide to those in need, strengthening the community. Another way to recycle is to swap clothing with friends and family, you could make a fun spring cleaning event out of this.
3. Buy Vintage:
Buy your clothes from second hand stores. Keep clothes that have already been made in circulation, therefore these natural resources that have already been used do not go to waste. Fashion trends continue to pop up within vintage clothes, as they hold a unique history and have quality materials. Studies show that by extending the average lifespan by active use of an item of clothing by as little as three months, can reduce the carbon, waste and water footprint by 5-10 percent.
4. Buy local.
It is estimated that 60 percent of global clothing is manufactured in developing countries. Clothes are then placed in shipping containers and disperse around the world via various transportation methods such as planes, trains and trucks. It is not known how much fuel is used, however research suggests that 22 million new clothing items are brought by American’s annually with one 2 percent of which is domestically manufactured. Therefore around 90 percent of garments travel for thousands of miles, burning fossil fuels along this journey to reach the retailer. Keep business within your community, check the label to understand where these clothes have been manufactured. Ensure working conditions are suitable, that workers domestically and internationally are not being exploited. Local and quality materials are used, and the production methods are sustainable.
5. Slow fashion over fast fashion
Fast fashion is a dangerous trend. Sure, it may seem cheap and up to date with the ‘latest’ trends. However fast fashion is placing a large cost on our environment and future. Overall, consumers are spending less but buying more frequently. Hazardous chemicals are driving fast fashion production, as synthetic and inorganic materials are being used, which produces a large source of carbon emissions. Fast fashion clothes are made in abundance with constantly changing designs and styles therefore fast fashion clothing is disposable. It is estimated that in American each year, 10-13 million tons of clothes are dumped into landfill, releasing toxic chemicals into our soil and water. Avoid the trap of fast fashion, it exploits both domestic and overseas workers, ensures a decline in local production and is straining our natural materials and resources. Invest in quality over quantity.
6. Use sustainable washing techniques
During a single t-shirts life cycle, approximately 75% of its carbon footprint will be caused from the consumers machine washing and drying techniques, by being conscious of how you wash and dry your clothes can dramatically reduce this figure. Many laundry detergents contain harmful chemicals to both the environment and to yourself. Buy green laundry detergent, with biodegradable and phosphate free ingredients, ensure these ingredients are plant and vegetable based. Save energy (and money) by setting your washing machine to use cold water. Studies demonstrate that washing clothes at 30 degrees Celsius will have a carbon footprint of 0.6 kilograms compared to a carbon footprint of 3.3 kilograms if clothes are washed at 60 degrees Celsius. Avoid the drying machine, this requires the use of large amounts of energy resulting in greenhouse gas emissions and line dry your clothes instead to conserve this energy. Hand washing is another great technique to conserve energy.
As citizens of the globe we all have a duty to preserve the Earth for future generations. The fashion industry is linked to climate change, so it is vital that we are all made aware of this impact. From here we can educate and empower designers, fashion brands/companies, local communities and the individual to take a stand against climate change and ensure that our clothing and accessories are environmentally sustainable. When it comes to your fashion choices, always ask yourself, what’s your impact?
Fashion supply chain network competition with ecolabelling http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-12703-3_4
How does the fashion industry affect the environment? http://info.nhpr.org/node/27882
The future of fashion fabrics- reducing environmental impact. http://source.ethicalfashionforum.com/article/the-future-of-fashion-fabrics-reducing-environmental-impact
Carbon footprint analysis for clothing accessories. http://www.cleanmetrics.com/html/clothing_carbon_footprints.htm
Why fashion should be on the climate change agenda: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/livia-giuggioli/why-fashion-should-be-on-_b_5857162.html
Eco-labels picture. www.earth911.com
Eco-fashion picture. www.fashionone.com
It’s the Second Dirtiest Thing in the World—And You’re Wearing It http://www.alternet.org/environment/its-second-dirtiest-thing-world-and-…
Carbon Footprint and the Textile Industry http://www.brighthub.com/environment/green-living/articles/73624.aspx
Fast fashion and your carbon footprint http://www.trustedclothes.com/blog/2016/02/23/fast-fashion-and-your-carb…
Sustainable innovation: reducing fashion’s carbon footprint: http://rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/20/sustainable-innovation-reducing-fashions-carbon-footprint/
Carbon footprint of textiles: http://www.domain-b.com/environment/20090403_carbon_footprint.html
Carbon footprint measure of garments: http://www.onlineclothingstudy.com/2011/02/carbon-footprint-measure-of-garments.html
August to December 2013
After the midwest it was time to hit the northeast, getting closer to New York! Next state, Pennsylvania! Our first main stop was French creek state park, were we camped and hiked some of the trails. This place is really beautiful, it has a lot to offer too, from swimming, nature walks and canoeing. After a couple of days in nature, next stop was Philadelphia. Philly is a very charming city, with great historical significance. The independence national historical park, the liberty bell center and independence hall is a must see.
A stroll down market street towards the water was a treat, especially with a stop at The Franklin Fountain for the most delicious milkshake! Penns landing at the water front is another must see. We also explored the south street and experience the memorable magic gardens, this place is amazing! It was in Philadelphia where we witnessed out first baseball game, Mets Vs Phillies at the Citizens Bank Park. Another place we visited in Pennsylvania was New Hope. A very charming, historic town located on the Delaware river. A beautiful town to walk around.
Next State, New Jersey. We explored the stunning town of Princeton and walked the grounds of the famous Ivy league Princeton University, the campus grounds are precious. Atlantic city was another place we visited in New Jersey. Not my favorite place but it was nice to be on the beach.
After a beautiful road trip through California and camping in the amazing Joshua Tree national park, it was time to continue the journey towards New York. Next up, the fabulous Las Vegas! Driving through Nevada was amazing, with stunning views of the desert. It is unbelievable to drive through a desert, with not much going on, to hit a hectic city in the middle of a desert! Las vegas is like no other place. It is hard to describe ‘sin city’, you just have to absorb the atmosphere. Time was spent, relaxing under the palm trees in the pool and shopping by day. Night we spent exploring the hotels, casinos and bars. A very different experience, but still very enjoyable.
After Vegas, it was time to get back on the road. Next, Arizona. We stopped by the beautiful Lake Mead and Hoover dam (highlighted in a different post), before moving on to the breathtaking Grand Canyon national park, where we camped and hiked park of the park (also, highlighted in a separate post). The views driving through Arizona are beautiful! After the visit to the Grand Canyon, the next main stop was the four corners. A very remote area, the only place in the United States where four states intersect at one point. The Northeastern corner of Arizona, Southeastern corner of Utah, Northwestern corner of New Mexico and the Southwest Corner of Colorado.
Next, the gorgeous Colorado. Driving through, we saw some of the most scenic views. One of the highlights, was a stop in Sliverton, with its breathtaking mountain views and being one of the highest towns in the United States. Next was camping at Elk creek, which was a great way to relax and enjoy nature. Colorado is a state that I need to visit again, perhaps during winter time, to hit the slopes.
Driving through the desert and mountains was a memorable journey, enjoying the varying environments that the US has to offer.
Road trip down highway 1
We made it to continental USA! First stop, the charming San Fransisco, we spent a few days exploring and absorbing the great food, city vibes, stunning scenery and hiking some beautiful state parks. In amongst exploring, we brought a van, removed the back seats and transformed it into a bedroom ready for the road trip across the country! Starting point, California and to finish in New York City! The first part of this trip was a road trip through California.
From San Fransisco we decided to take the most scenic route to reach Los Angeles, highway 1 (Pacific coast highway). The views along the Pacific coast were breathtaking, California is a beautiful state. Our first stop was Big Sur, and what a surprise we got here…colonies of elephant seals laying out on the beach! Did not expect to witness this, and it only occurs a few months annually for the elephant seals to birth, mate and molt. So grateful to witness. After Big Sur, the next big stop was Santa Barbara. What a gorgeous place!! Ocean and Mountain views. The final destination was Los Angeles, before hitting the city center we ventured first to Malibu, this place is stunning. Next was the famous Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive, so picturesque and just like in the movies! We spent a couple of days exploring LA, visiting Venice beach, downtown LA, the Hollywood walk of fame and hiked as close to the Hollywood sign as possible. An amazing road trip, visiting some beautiful places.
From LA we drove to Joshua Tree national park, this place is breathtaking and will be featured in a different post. I have loved everything about California that I have seen so far. Cannot wait to visit this dreamy state again, hopefully soon.
Before reaching continental USA, we took the opportunity to have a seven day stopover in Hawaii. Breaking up the flight from Melbourne to California. And, what a wonderful seven days this was. Oahu ‘the gathering place’ is a beautiful Island, providing amazing sunsets, white sand beaches, culture, the hustle of city life, and the beauty of Island life. Beaches, forests, gardens, scenic views, a nature lovers paradise.
Highlights and must sees
- Diamond head state monument: A Volcanic tuff cone. This is a great hike, once you reach the top you can witness breathing taking panoramic views!
- Manoa falls: Hike through a lush green forest to view this beautiful waterfall.
- Iolani Palace: A beautiful historical landmark. The Palace was the royal residence of the rulers of the Kingdom of Hawaii.
- Waikiki: The main touristy area for the Island. Famous beaches with high rise hotels and resorts. Perfect for shopping, and a range of restaurants along the beach.
- Pearl harbour, USS Arizona: A national memorial.
- National memorial cemetery of the Pacific:
- Honolulu museum of art: The largest single collection of Asian and Pan-Pacific art in the US.
- Waimea bay: Beautiful beach and a popular surfing area.
- Kailua beach park: Breathtaking turquoise waters. With calm water, this beach is great for swimming.
- Polynesian cultural center: A Polynesian-themed theme park and museum.
- Hanauma bay natural preserve:
Oahu is a U.S Island located in the Pacific ocean. The third largest Island of the Hawaiian Island chain. The capital of Hawaii, Honolulu is located on the south shore, and is the main gateway to Hawaii. Temperatures are warm year round, with two main season, wet (November to March) and dry (April to October). We stayed in a hotel close to Waikiki beach and could easily entertain ourselves walking around and exploring this area. We also rented a car to get around Oahu to see more of the beautiful beaches and sights. The seven days on Oahu was a great introduction to Hawaii, with a mix of relaxation on the beach and exploring the sights and culture of the Island. I would love to see the other Islands and spend more time on exploring the stunning Hawaiian Island chain.
Niagara falls is as magical as expected. Whilst I was staying in Toronto for 10 days, I took the opportunity to visit Niagara falls for a day trip. A highlight of my visit to Canada. The views are breathtaking. Niagara falls is the collective name for three waterfalls that serve as the international border between Canada and the United States of America. These three water falls are named Horseshoe falls (The largest), American falls and Bridal viel falls (the smallest of the three). These waterfalls are located on the Niagara river. Niagara falls formed, when the glaciers receded at the end of the Wisconsin glaciation about 10,000 years ago (the last ice age). It is well worth the trip to visit this magnificent place.
Highlights and must sees
- Maid of mist: Breathtaking, close up views of the falls. This 20 minute tour departs every 15 minutes.
- Niagara falls history museum.
- Skylon tower: Provides indoor and outdoor observation of the falls.
- Niagara IMAX theatre: Showcasing true stories about Niagara.
- Bird kingdom: The worlds largest free-flying indoor aviary.
- Niagara parks butterfly conservatory.
- Niagara skywheel.
- Niagara parks botanical gardens.
- Rainbow bridge: Stunning views of Niagara falls.
- Floral clock.
- Journey behind the falls. Close up view behind the horseshoe falls.
- Maid of mist tour.
- Cave of the winds. Takes you close to the falls via the hurricane deck.
- Niagara falls state park. Visit the discovery center. Take a hike along the trails through the Niagara gorge.
- Old fort Niagara.
- Aquarium of Niagara.
As I was based in Toronto, I took a day trip tour from the city to Niagara falls. The bus ride is about one and half hours. The first stop is Niagara falls. Here we where given a few hours to explore the falls and town. From the Canadian side, you can see panoramic views of the three falls, which are amazingly beautiful. I was also able to get close to the horseshoe falls. After visiting Niagara falls, we traveled to the historic town of Niagara on the lake. A very pretty town to walk through, with its boutique shops, historic streets and victorian era charm. The final stop on the tour was visiting a vineyard with free wine samples. We had a tour walking through the beautiful vineyard. Here was my first time tasting ‘ice wine’ which was delicious! Ice wine is a dessert wine that is produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the wine. I Would recommend a day trip (or longer) to Niagara falls!