In recent years we have been bombarded with the word sustainability. Sustainable food, sustainable clothing, sustainable fairs, sustainable care, sustainable sports, sustainable work, and sustainable living. But what is it anyway?

We are the first generation to experience the impact of climate change, but also the last generation that can do something about it.

As it is now, we, as consumers, have to get to work

As it is, we, as consumers, have to get to work and think with each issue: “put your money where your mouth is”. If you are aware, there will naturally change. I personally experienced it a few months ago. I came to a halt from my busy and always hurried life.

Sustainable lifestyle life and family Rachel Cannegieter

Before I became aware of everything, I wanted to make a career, raise two sweet children, and I had an enormous drive to get up that ladder as much as possible.

Which ladder am I actually trying to climb and at what price is that really?

In my world, the fashion industry, it seems as if I’m struggling hard every time and then asking myself; where and for whom do I actually do this? It’s this undefined love/hate relationship with Fashion, I assume. Unfortunately, I rang the bell too late and I ended up in a sort of burnout status. In my stressed status, I thought about life. Am I still happy with my job, am I on the right track? Who was I again? And what do I actually want to give my children? If they see me go to work so unhappy, they never get my work ethos along. Is that the example I want to leave behind? And of course, there is also the complete exploitation in my fashion industry. What do I want to give to the next generations?

The textile industry is a very polluting industry

Rana Plaza, that disaster in Bangladesh in 2013, in which more than 1100 women and their children died, because the building did not meet the requirements for textile production. Do you remember that? Did you know that there is still slavery in the clothing industry and that people have to work extremely long days, sometimes 24/7, days and weeks in a row for our must-have outfit or Fashion Fix? The textile industry is a very polluting industry. 10% of CO2 emissions come from textiles. For comparison: 2.5% CO2 emissions come from the aviation industry. We then use around 10,000 liters of water per outfit (jeans + shirt) to produce it. In addition, I have not even talked about all the chemicals and dyes to make our jeans so special. These are namely dumped in nearby rivers. This way, the entire community can see which trendy color is “in fashion” in the West.

Polluted river China by Fashion Industry

The above is just the tip of the iceberg. But of course, you can now ask yourself why we still produce nature polluting and why the working conditions in the factories are so bad?

If we continue with our consumption this way there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050

This is such a typical case of the “pointing finger”. The fashion brands blame the consumer, the government blames the companies and the consumer blames the government. My father always said if you point a finger at the other, three points at yourself. So time to get started. If we continue to use our consumption in this way, there will be more plastic in 2050 than fish in our oceans (by weight).

Tips for a greener and more sustainable existence:

·         Pay and save greener: investing, saving but also daily banking can be done at greener banks/investment companies (eg Triodos)

·         Vote for green: use your voting rights and vote for people in politics who speak about climate change.

·         Buy plants: it absorbs CO2 and you get more balanced + you become more energetic with the color green.

·         Reduce your own CO2 footprint: buy solar panels, take a bicycle, take the bus, go carpooling with your colleague or opt for an electric car. But also separate your waste, do your shopping with cotton bags (also for fruit/vegetables), become vegetarian or eat less meat.

In the meantime, I have also started to live greener and more sustainably. I have introduced five different waste bins. That seems extreme (if you come from one or two), but trust me, it is not so bad once you do it (and you’re surprised by the number of single-use plastics).

Then I went to clean up waste after a wonderful day at the beach. A real hashtag has been created for this on Instagram: # 5minutesbeachcleanup. After the beach season

I thought; hey we have to do this in our neighborhood. You know; create awareness of roaming plastic. So we did just that. Because of this you are not only enjoying the walk, but you are also doing something good for fellow human beings and nature. Below a photo of the garbage disposal in our neighborhood. It was a fantastic evening.

Neighborhood clean up together we make a better world

Honest? I’m not there yet. I am still on my way and I would like to take you on a journey in my “greener” and more sustainable life without this having a goat wool socks image. In the end, I am still the fashionista who loves fashion. Sustainable fashion.

Do you want to know more about a sustainable existence or do you have questions for us? Feel free to do that in the comments below. Do you see mistakes? Let us know! Do you want to stay informed? Sign up for our Newsletter or via Facebook and Instagram.