Let's start by taking a snapshot of our planet, and the current predicament we find ourselves in. We've sourced these facts and figures from various resources around the internet, and checked the references are scientifically backed. They are. And they're scary.
Temperatures are breaking records around the world, and more greenhouse gases are in our atmosphere than any time in human history.
Multiple studies show that a massive 97 per cent of researchers believe global warming is happening. Earth could warm by six degrees this century.
Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal.
-Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (NASA website https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/ )
Sea levels are rising at their fastest rate in 2,000 years, and the current rate of change is 3.4mm a year. In July 2017, a massive crack in the Larson C ice shelf finally gave way, sending a 5,800 square km section of ice into the ocean. The newly formed iceberg is nearly four times the size of London.
Two-thirds of the Great Barrier Reef has been damaged as a result of climate change - Coral bleaching.
How much plastic pollution is there?
Approximately 51 trillion microscopic pieces of plastic, weighing 269,000 tons. That is about the same as 1345 adult blue whales. And 500 times the number of stars in our galaxy. I know which I would rather see. Every day approximately 8 million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans.
The amount of plastic produced in a year is roughly the same as the entire weight of humanity
500 MILLION plastic straws are used EVERY DAY in America. That’s enough to circle the Earth twice.
ONE MILLION plastic bottles are bought EVERY MINUTE around the world — and that number will top half a TRILLION by 2021. Less than half of those bottles end up getting recycled.
8 MILLION METRIC TONS of plastic winds up in our oceans each year. That’s enough trash to cover every foot of coastline around the world with five full trash bags of plastic…compounding every year.
If plastic production isn’t curbed, ocean plastic pollution will outweigh fish pound for pound by 2050.
Recent studies have revealed marine plastic pollution in 100% of marine turtles, 59% of whales, 36% of seals and 40% of seabird species examined.
A now infamous image of a young sea bird carcass on Midway Island, with it's stomach filled with plastic it mistook for food.
A plastic bottle can last for 450 years in the marine environment, slowly fragmenting into smaller and smaller pieces which eventually end up microscopic but never truly go away. A plastic bag for instance is used on average for 15 minutes, yet could take 100 – 300 years to fragment. This means that every piece of plastic that has ever been produced is still with us, in some form.
What is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?
In the North Pacific, a gyre or slowly swirling whirpool of ocean currents collects plastic debris. It is estimated to be twice the size of France and Charles Moore, the oceanographer who discovered it has predicted that it will double in size in the next 10 years if we don’t change our ways. It is not exactly a nice neat island that we can tidy away, it’s more like a ginormous plastic soup made of confetti like fragments of plastic. It has been suggested that it would take 67 ships 1 year to clean up less than 1% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), an estimated 18 million acres (7.3 million hectares) of forest are lost each year. One and a half acres of forest is cut down every second. 20 football fields every minute. At this rate, it is estimated that there will be no rainforest left in 100 years.
Up to 28,000 species are expected to become extinct by the next quarter of the century due to deforestation.
WHAT IS THE ROOT CAUSE OF ALL OF THIS? Some would say population growth, and consumerism…. We can’t really change one – but my belief is that a big part of the answer lies in the other. Don’t underestimate the power of consumers to change the world. Quite a cynical view – but reality imho - is that change only happens when there is profit to be made, or it costs people money.
Climate change and pollution is certainly starting to cost many businesses and individuals money – a stark example of this is to look at how coral bleaching is affecting the tourism industry in the Great Barrier Reef. But those businesses see no link between their practices and climate change.
SO, WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT? We can’t effect the ‘cost people money’ side of the equation in any tangible way unless we’re a government willing to introduce some sort of climate penalty or emissions or pollution tax. That leaves the ‘profit to be made’ side. We, as consumers, simply need to look for businesses that give a damn. Buy their products. It’s really that simple! I like to call it ‘retail therapy for the planet’.
If you demand it, there’s money to be made for businesses in producing more eco friendly products. And many already exist. In just about every segment of the market, you can now find a more eco friendly product for that thing you need.
Below is a list of links to eco-friendly retailers and conscious businesses to address just about any conceivable need you may have. If you know of more – please leave the links in the comments!
How does OORR address these concerns?
In many ways.
1. By producing vegan products. It’s not a popular fact, but a fact nonetheless, that the largest contributor to carbon emissions is the livestock industry. To put it in perspective, the transport industry (all cars, trucks, planes, trains, busses etc globally) contributes to 13% of all carbon emissions. Livestock sits at 52%.
2. By producing recycled products. One example – in our recycled Polyester, by Unifi, there are 3 steps to manufacturing the yarn from post consumer PET bottles. To make virgin polyester, you have to start by mining the oil – and it takes 9 steps. So far, we have saved the equivalent amount of carbon emissions produced by a car driving Syd to PER and back again – and that’s only including our fabric production, and we’re only just getting started.
Recycling also reduces landfill, ocean pollution, energy use and chemical waste.
3. Carbon neutral shipping. All of the OORR products are shipped within Australia using our carbon neutral shipping partner, Sendle. Trackable, more convenient, easier, and cheaper than Aus post. Check them out!
4. Planting trees. OORR commits to planting 5 trees for every garment we sell. This acts to combat deforestation, and the resulting forest enables more carbon to be removed from the atmosphere and stored – plus it provides employment for local communities, and restores habitat and biodiversity.
OORR also donates 50% of profits to charity partners Velokhaya – helping children in marginalised African communities by training them to become athletes, and Rainforest Rescue – who actually purchase at risk land to prevent it from being developed, and plant trees to restore cleared land up in the Daintree.
We work SUPER hard to make all of this happen, because we really do care about the future of the planet – but the power ultimately lies with you. All you need to do is choose which basket to put your goods in.
You could even start by choosing to get your morning coffee from the cafe that uses organic beans. Every little bit counts!
Below is a list of links to eco-friendly retailers and conscious businesses to address just about any conceivable need you may have. I recommend bookmarking them for now – or even just this page – so you can reference the list next time you go shopping. If you know of more – please leave links in the comments!
https://bcorporation.net/directory Searchable database of 2500+ Businesses doing the right thing.
https://mattandnat.com/ - Fashion, shoes, acessories
https://wills-vegan-shoes.com/ shoes, accessories
http://www.stylewithheart.com/ ethical fashion listing
https://futurewear.co/ ethical fashion listing
http://www.biome.com.au/ general retail and gifts
https://seapia.com.au/ - women’s Swimwear
https://laurazabo.com/ Bike tyre belts and accessories
https://donegood.co/ Bcorp Fashion product discount listing
https://rothys.com/ Women’s shoes
https://www.seventhgeneration.com/ Household products
http://www.primalearth.org/ Natural Men’s Skincare
http://www.purebikelube.com/ Bike cleaning and lubrication products
https://www.greengurugear.com/ Bike products and accessories
https://www.upcyclestudio.com.au/ All kinds of gifts and accessories
https://crueltyfreeshop.com.au/ Vegan food, house, and beauty products