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Earth Day 2024 - Let’s End Oil & Save Our Ocean

4 min read

Earth Day 2024 - Let’s End Oil & Save Our Ocean

Other than bio-based alternatives, all plastics are derived from oil or gas. Be it the synthetic sports t-shirt you bought yesterday, the toy your child was gifted last week or the bottle of water you just took a sip from. 

Our reliance on plastic products, which are often disposable or single-use, is a huge driver of both climate change and plastic waste pollution. It is for this reason that the lead campaign slogan for Earth Day 2024 is Planet vs. Plastics.


“We are unwavering in our commitment to end plastics for the sake of human and planetary health, demanding a 60% reduction in the production of ALL plastics by 2040.” 

- earthday.org


Fashion, and particularly fast fashion, has a toxic relationship with plastic. A recent report by Textile Exchange found that the fashion industry produced 47 million metric tonnes of polyester fibre alone in 2022, which in turn accounted for 125 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.  

The reason for this is that synthetic fibres have been historically cheaper to produce than natural organic materials or recycled materials, fueling low cost, fast fashion garments that have short lifespans and are often thrown away after just a few uses. 

Let’s Turn Off the Black Tap!

An incredible stat featured in the Greenpeace video above is that each year the global fashion industry consumes more oil than the whole of Spain, with Inditex and Nike using 10 million gallons of oil EACH to produce their clothing annually. 

Perhaps it’s no surprise then that there are now strong suggestions that it is the rise of ultra fast fashion brands like Temu and Shein that is driving continued fossil fuel industry growth. Indeed, fossil fuel companies themselves are acknowledging this shift – their products no longer being used to fuel power stations and cars, increasingly being used instead to produce more plastic-based consumer goods like clothing.


“BP’s energy scenario presumes plastic production will account for 95% of future growth in demand for oil.” 

- Changing Markets Foundation


The fashion industry already accounts for 1.35% of all fossil fuel company revenue, a number that is clearly set to rise. Turning off the tap to that new source of profit is crucial to bringing an end to fossil fuel reliance and all its environmental drawbacks.

How To Do It?

The most obvious way for eco-conscious fashion brands and consumers to react to this worrying trend on Earth Day 2024 is to stop using virgin plastics altogether. Indeed, this has been the reason for a recent shift back to more organic and even regenerative materials such as cotton, flax (linen) and hemp, all of which produce less C02 emissions, create less harmful microfibre pollution, and are in many cases completely biodegradable. 

But It’s Not Quite That Simple

Unfortunately, as the aforementioned Textile Exchange report mentions, switching completely from synthetic fibres to natural fibres is also not a total solution: 


“A total shift away from synthetics to land-based raw materials – particularly at current production rates – could lead to an overreliance on and depletion of natural ecosystems.” 

- Textile Exchange


Therein lies the fashion industry’s elephant in the room: production volumes and their inextricable link to profitability and financial viability. Ending the fossil fuel industry only to further deplete precious water resources or to accelerate deforestation is not a solution, but rather a continuation of the same tired game, where brands flit from one weakly veiled sustainability trend to the next, without ever acknowledging the systemic issues that undermine most sustainability initiatives. 

It is for this reason that recycling is often seen as the holy grail of fashion circularity and particularly the industry’s capacity to recycle post-consumer clothing – something which it currently fails at, with only 1% of all post-consumer textiles being recycled into new clothing. 

The recent closure of Renewcell showed that only conscious consumerism led by environment-aware brands can bring about the balance we need between high-quality clothing that lasts and a natural world that can thrive. 

Ending Oil - A TWOTHIRDS Priority

While the challenges set out above can feel daunting, it is days like Earth Day 2024 which can be the true launch pads for change. Everyone at TWOTHIRDS feels this way – reinvigorated to end fast fashion for the good of our beloved ocean and the communities that have relied on it for generations. We do this by reducing our yearly collections, promoting conscious consumerism and taking responsibility for our production volumes. We also use the lowest impact natural and recycled materials.

 

Whether it is plastic pellets smothering our surf beaches, oil slicks suffocating our reefs, or emissions sending water temperatures dangerously high, the time has come to just stop oil (and gas). Find out how you can get more involved on Earth Day 2024!