The U.S. Declaration of Independence asserts that all humans are endowed with certain unalienable rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. A democratic approach to Earth stewardship holds that all members of the Earth community have been similarly endowed with certain intrinsic rights, including the right to food, water, and a habitat that is safe and clean. The phenomenon of Fast Fashion poses a danger to a safe and clean environment for many of our Earth community members.

"Fast Fashion" refers to the speed with which the most recent designs are offered by fashion retailers, regardless of the environmental impact. The manufacturing process for new clothes, a major source of greenhouse gases, can involve water pollution, use of toxic chemicals, and textile waste, affecting surrounding habitats. Many garments end up in a landfill or incinerator within a year. A startling quantity of microfibers from washing clothes can't biodegrade; they flow into waterways and the ocean, are consumed, and then make their way up the food chain, affecting fish, land animals, birds, and humans.

Before you buy new clothes, consider the spinning, knitting, weaving, dying, finishing, sewing, and transportation involved. Research the following for both the brand and the retailer before you purchase:

  • Are the clothes made of recycled materials? If so, what percentage?
  • Does this brand/retailer offer organic fabrics that are not dyed?
  • Does this brand/retailer pay those involved in manufacturing a living wage?
  • Does it ensure that its factories are free of child labor?
  • How does this brand/retailer encourage clothes recycling?
  • How long does this brand/retailer keep unsold clothes? What does it do with unsold or returned clothes?
  • What specific measures does this brand/retailer use to avoid water pollution, avoid toxic chemicals involved in the fiber growing process as well as the dying process, and reduce the flow of microfibers into the oceans?
Habib Todd Boerger in Practicing Democracy with the Earth