VIEW OF EVEREST, KHUMBU ICEFALL, LOTHSE, NUPTSE, LHO LA; 17,800 FEET; MAY 27, 2016
I love you, Mount Everest, and I believe you love me back. You certainly spared me in so many ways. We are biologically programed to love and admire you from afar: at altitudes above 22,000 feet human cells die. That is science, not heart, the way nature made us.
During the 12 days of my swift ascent I witnessed people stumbling down from your peak filled with wonder, shock and sadness. You took so many lives that week. I followed the trail we ALL leave behind, the trash, the dead bodies, the oxygen tanks, the human waste running against your flanks: frozen landfills of environmental hazards.
In our era we have decided to ignore the rules of nature; shouldn’t we at least do it without leaving a permanent trace of our passage for future generations?
A DEEPER LOOK
Global waste is predicted to grow up to 3.4 billion tons by 2050, more than twice the population growth during the same period. When waste can’t be avoided, recycling brings a remarkable savings in resources. For example, for each ton of recycled paper we can save 17 trees and 50% water. Bringing your own reusable shopping bag and asking cafes and restaurants to stop using plastic straws helps reduce plastic waste. Recycling also creates jobs: the recycling sector employs 12 million people in Brazil, China and the United States alone. Even clothing, footwear and linens are responsible for water pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and landfills.
“Fast fashion”, which makes new styles constantly available at a very low price, has led to a strong increase in the amount of clothing produced, used and then discarded. Globally, less than 1% of clothing is recycled as such, partly due to inadequate technology. And not only is the production of textiles estimated to be responsible for around 20% of the global pollution of drinking water due to the various treatments they undergo, such as dying and finishing; the washing of synthetic clothing accounts for 35% of the release of primary microplastics into the environment, which can end up in the food chain!
On average we have more clothes than we use. Before our next purchase, let’s ask ourselves: Do I really need this? Let’s also remember that when we buy a product we can always choose a producer whose choice of materials, packaging, etc. is more sustainable than others.
Another good solution is to buy second-hand or vintage clothing. Buying used clothes has become fashionable, and not only due to economic reasons. It’s also a way to create your own style, one distinctive from fast fashion, which drives everyone to buy the same thing because of the lower cost.