Does all this snow have some of you daydreaming about spring and gardening?
Luckily spring is just around the corner, and now is a great time to start planning a pesticide free yard, garden, and home! Pesticides are often used on lawns and in gardens to limit weeds and associated pests. Unfortunately, pesticides (including herbicides, rodenticides, insecticides, and fungicides) have negative health impacts on people and the environment.
Being pesticide free means choosing methods of controlling these weeds and pests in ways that are healthy for the environment and for you and your family!
Salt Lake City has been working with Healthy Babies Bright Futures since 2016 to reduce exposures to harmful chemicals—many of which we unknowingly come in contact with on a daily basis. A common source of harmful chemical exposure is through pesticides and lawn fertilizer use. Salt Lake City’s Sustainability Department partnered with Beyond Pesticides to create a public resource guide for a less toxic approach to pest management and lawn care.
Why are pesticides an issue?
Chemical pesticide use and exposure have been shown to have negative health effects on humans. Serious health effects of pesticide exposure include birth defects, childhood cancer, acute poisoning, brain tumors, and asthma. Avoiding pesticides in your yards will help protect the health of our communities.
On this blog and in general sustainability circles, we often talk about the environmental and health impacts of plastics, vehicle emissions, buildings, air travel– even the food we eat.
But today we want to take a deep dive into something we haven’t discussed very much. It’s a sector which is lesser-known, but hugely impactful in terms of waste generation and greenhouse gas emissions. We’re talking about clothing and textiles.
Did you know that between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, Americans throw away 25% more trash than during the rest of the year?!
As the Black Friday flurry and holiday gift-buying season approaches, it’s a good time to be mindful of this impact and how we can take charge of minimizing our environmental footprints.
It may come as a surprise, but the fashion industry is a significant contributor to our landfills, as well as to 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions, almost as much as the entire European Union!! The clothes industry also creates plastic pollution, threatens public health and the environment through intense chemical pollution, and takes up an enormous amount of landfill space.
Clothes are definitely a necessity and are also a fun way to express one’s creativity. But today, we want to emphasize the impact of the textile industry and why we need to think more carefully about the clothing purchases we make.
Laying Out the Issue
According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the environmental impacts of clothes production include:
- High reliance on nonrenewable resources
- High use of hazardous chemicals
- High land use (competing with agriculture)
- High greenhouse gas emissions (1 ton of textiles generates 17 tons of CO2)
- Textile production requires 93 billion cubic meters of water annually (4% of the global freshwater withdrawal)
- Microplastic pollution into the ocean
- Poor working conditions for garment workers (slavery and child labor included)
These impacts are increasing due to the rise of fast fashion.