Water is our most valuable resource, and water scarcity already affects every continent. (UN Water) In 2017 South Africa experienced a water crisis so severe the government announced “day zero” was coming – the day the water levels would be so low that the taps would be turned off. Today England is facing water shortage by 2050, unless drastic measures are taken. (BBC 2018) Even the US is facing water scarcity issues. (The Water Project) And according to UN Water, 2.1 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water services. (UN Water)
Whilst nearly 70% of the world is covered by water, only 2.5% of it is fresh, with just 1% of that being easily accessible – and freshwater is what we rely on to drink, bathe, grow food, and live. (“Freshwater Crisis”, National Geographic)
And if we look at clothing production, nearly 3,800 litres of water are used through the lifetime of a pair of jeans, which is the equivalent of 109 five-minute showers. About 68% of that goes towards cotton production and 23% is used by consumers in the laundry. (Levi Strauss, the Lifecycle Assessment)
That blows my mind. And makes me question if jeans (or any clothing) are worth the water trade off.
Here’s what we can do:
1. Love what you own: keep wearing what you’ve already got to avoid the need for new. It’s also cost-effective for your wallet.
2. Go for vintage: if you do need new, go second hand. All my favourite “cool” denim comes second hand. I just love the fit and styles available, and in larger second hand shops you can often shop your size in designated sections.
3. Wash less: by wearing jeans 10 times before washing, water and climate change impact can be reduced by 77% for Americans, and 75% for the British and French. (Levi Strauss, the Life cycle Assessment) I don’t know about you, but I spend most of my days sitting (at a desk, during my commute, on the sofa…) with a bit of walking thrown in. Which isn’t really a sweaty existence. So if I can, I wear & re-wear before I eventually wash. My water & energy bill are also lower thanks to this.
Jacket: vintage 2010ish
Dress: sample sale 2019
Sunglasses: prescription 2019
Much love, Katie xo