How micro trends and fast fashion contribute to climate change

By: Mila Hart

I know we all love shopping and keeping up with the latest trends, but did you know that the fashion industry is one of the most harmful contributors to climate change? Here’s why.

A micro-trend is one that quickly rises in popularity and falls even faster. Fast fashion is trendy clothing that is mass produced as quickly and cheaply as possible.

In the past 100 years trends have gone from lasting a decade, to lasting three to five years, to now only lasting a few weeks before everyone moves onto something else. A large contributor to the increase in micro trends is social media.

Because the micro trends cycle has rapidly increased, more and more clothing items are being mass produced through fast fashion. Clothing production almost doubled in the last 20 years and people are only keeping those items for half as long.

According to the World Resources Institute, “[T]he fast fashion industry is responsible for nearly 10 percent of annual global gas emissions and is the second largest consumer of the world’s water supply”. 85 percent of textiles go to the dump each year. Experts say the “equivalent of one garbage truck of clothing is burned or dumped in a landfill every second”.

Here are some ways you can make a difference and reduce the carbon footprint of your clothing.

First off, thrift! Thrift! Thrift! Thrifting is an amazing way to be a sustainable shopper. And while you’re thrifting you may as well also donate your old clothes that you don’t want anymore instead of throwing them away.

But if you want to buy new clothes, select clothing items that are sustainably made and avoid synthetic materials like polyester. Studies show that polyester releases nearly three times more carbon emissions than cotton.

What’s happening with Pipeline 3?

By: Sarah VonBerge

Line 3 has been a pipeline that’s been running since the 1960s, when it was originally built. It was originally a pipeline that stretched 282 miles from Alberta, Canada to Wisconsin, United States of America. Overtime, the pipeline has eroded and once carried about 760,000 barrels of oil per day but now only carries about half of that amount.

Enbridge, the company who is building the pipeline, said that it would be cheaper to just completely make a new line instead of repairing the old one. The new Line 3 is expected to go 330 miles instead of only 282 because it is now being built around the Minnesota Ojibwe Leech Lake Reservation, which adds about 50 miles. According to Reutuers.com, as of September 1, 2021, Enbridge is planning on being able to transport 620,000 barrels of oil per day beginning October 1.

There are conflicting thoughts on whether a new pipeline is a good idea. Some agree with it and others do not; on one hand, it will bring more oil and on the other it could bring even more climate change than the world is already facing.

Some agree with the new pipeline, saying that it will make getting oil from place to place very easy. Pipelines are safer for transporting oil than trucks or trains, after all. The rebuilding of Line 3 is expected to make 4,200 jobs in the 2 years of construction, although it will only make about 20 permanent jobs.

All over Minnesota, people are constantly fixing roads and other power utilities, so many just see this new Line 3 as the same thing. Even though we have a limited supply of oil and they’re looking at better ways to use power, the demand is still high and oil means money.

Enbridge has already spent $100 million on safety measures for both the workers and the environment. The towns and cities that have been around the building of the pipeline are currently booming. The line is bringing more people into their hotels, restaurants, and stores, which is bringing in more money for them. In the end, the new Line 3 is expected to boost the economy by $2 billion.

Many are concerned about how this new line will affect the environment. The USA’s biggest inland oil spill came from Line 3 in 1993 and split 1,700,000 gallons of crude oil into the Prairie River in Grand Rapids, MN. Even 30 years later, the river hasn’t completely recovered. Many are worried it will happen again in multiple places but especially in the Mississippi River, as it crosses it twice.

The new Line 3 will bring more carbon-intensive oil for decades to come and blocking Line 3 instead of rebuilding it will help stop/limit emissions. Our earth is suffering and many are upset that we aren’t doing anything to help, but instead doing things that will only make it worse.

One of the biggest concerns about Line 3 is how it will affect indigenous people. Even though it will go around the Leech Lake Reservation, there is still a chance of a spill which will disturb their ways of life. If oil spills into their lakes, rivers, or wild rice fields, it will greatly affect their food supply. Because they are so dependent on the environment, they, and others, are very worried about how this new line will affect them; not only while it’s being built, but also in the future.

Not only are they worried about their environment around them, they are also worried for the women. Native women are going missing in extreme numbers and many have never been found. In June, state locals arrested 6 men involved in sex trafficking in Beltrami County. 2 men who were arrested were working on Line 3. At the beginning of this year, another 2 Line 3 workers were arrested in Itasca county for the same thing.

Line 3 is very dangerous, not only to the environment, but to people. Enbridge swears that they will make sure that everyone who interacts with line 3 in any way will stay safe and protected but there’s really no way to do that. No amount of money will guarantee people won’t go missing or that the environment will get healthier. There may be good news and thoughts on the other side as well, but neither out weigh each other.

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