All The Small Things

By Climate Vegas Reality Leader Brittney Lewis

Earlier this year, my cousin invited me to her 90s-themed birthday party. And if you stick with me, I’ll tell you how I connected my 90s party prep to environmental sustainability.

My first idea for this party was to reenact my favorite scene from the 90s sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. This would have involved locating a nude unitard and learning some intricate dance choreography. I arguably had ample time to make this happen, BUT my procrastination game is STRONG. Top Notch. Unrivaled. So the preparation that plan required ran counter to my proclivity towards last-minuteness.

My second idea was to get one of those jogging suits. The ones with the bright block colors that made all the noise when you moved. OMG! Epic. It would have been SO easy to visit my online retailer of choice, drop a couple of coins, and walk into the place STYLIN’! BUT, let’s be honest, 90s fashion is trending, but nylon jogging suits haven’t made their way back into the limelight (yet?). So where else would I un-ironically wear a nylon jogging suit? It would undoubtedly be destined to live out the rest of its days in the back of my closet, collecting dust, fighting moths and dry rot. Fated to be yet another fast fashion blunder.

What does fast fashion have to do with environmental sustainability? Answer: a lot. It is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, it pollutes waterways, it contributes to microplastic pollution, its materials often do not or very slowly decompose, and it contributes to pesticide use. And I’ve only scratched the surface here. I haven’t even touched on the human toll (by way of worker exploitation) of the fast fashion industry. So, as much as I wanted to, I could not, with a clean conscience, purchase the jogging suit.

Third idea: I decided to peruse the internet for 90s fashion inspiration. I happened upon a picture of Spinderella (on a Salt-N-Pepa album cover.) I said “…yes, I can do that .” Everything I wore was fished from my closet (BONUS: a couple of items were even secondhand!). The only new purchase was the ring pop on my finger (I’m sorry! I had to!)

So why am I saying all this? Socially conscious or environmentally conscious actions do not have to be this GRAND gesture. You don’t have to buy an electric vehicle or give up meat to make a difference. Those are great things, but they aren’t the only things. You can start with small things and build up to grand things. For example, you can just start by becoming aware of and thinking about how your actions impact the world around you and ways you can mitigate those impacts.

You can find out about the things that don’t get all the media attention but are still important. And you can start transforming those thoughts into actions. Change can be incremental; it can happen all at once. The most important part is that it happens.

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