Care about the Earth? Then you should learn to sew. 

 

I got an email from Old Navy with “$6 leggings” in the subject line and it made me grateful that I know how to sew.  Cheap clothes come with hidden costs. So if you care about the planet, you should grab your needle & thread (& sewing machine, if you have one) and learn to sew.  All you need is a few basic sewing skills to be a better steward for the planet.  How’s that, you ask? Let me explain.

5 reasons you should learn to sew if you care about the planet:  

  1. Lets you repair things & keep them in use longer.  We’ve got to move away from our disposable lifestyle and start caring for items for longer. If not, we’ll be drowning in trash soon.  Keep your jacket, your backpack, your grocery bags and more in use longer. Learn to sew tears & add patches to extend the life of your stuff.

2. Helps you appreciate the time it takes to make things.  Try sewing your own pants and you’ll probably take good care of those pants. When you appreciate the labor involved in making textiles, you’re more likely to take good care & keep it out of the landfill.

3. Helps you avoid the emissions from shipping all those online purchases to your house. When you can make it yourself or fix what you have, you don’t need to order things online (shameless plug: No Trace shipping is carbon offset by Etsy! So feel less guilty about ordering from me 😉). 

  1. Lets you express your creativity. This isn’t a direct benefit to the planet, but it’s a pretty great benefit that I can’t ignore.  Learning to sew lets you express your individuality.  You’ll get into a flow state as you work on your projects.  And you’ll create one of a kind pieces for yourself and as gifts for your loved ones!  That’s invaluable.

 

Perhaps the number one reason you should learn to sew if you care about the Earth, though, is this:

 

  1. Makes you question the price of cheap clothes. It’ll make you wonder how a company makes a profit on $6 leggings. Someone, somewhere pays the true price for those $6 leggings, and it’s probably the person who made them for you.  That employee may work in unsafe working conditions, and/or work 6 days a week, 10 hours a day, and may live with environmental pollution from the factories in their local water and air.  

 

CleanClothes.org breaks down the costs of garments (on average) and how much goes to the employee.  It’s about 0.6%.  The person who made those $6 leggings was probably paid less than 4 cents for their work. The rest of that $6 goes to material costs, factory owner profit, brand profit, transportation & factory overhead, and the majority (about 60%) goes to the retailer (when it’s sold in person) or back to the brand (for online sales).  Many factory workers don’t receive a living wage, as you can imagine at 4 cents per shirt.  As more of us understand this, we’ll start to make better choices with our purchases.  We can seek out the ethical companies who are treating their employees well. And we can pay a fair price for the textiles in our life.    

 

There you have it – 5 reasons you should learn to sew if you care about the planet.  So get out there and start sewing!  It’ll change your life, and may even change the planet for the better.  

 

If you’re not sure where to start, head to my YouTube channel for video tutorials – I’ve got a whole series including this one – Learn to sew – to get you started.  

 

Need a little help with a repair job?  Watch this one on stuffed animal repair & this one on mask repair. They both go over basic skills that’ll apply to other repair jobs.

 

And check out this playlist for all of my zero waste sewing tutorials.

 

Thanks for reading and for all that you do for the planet.

 

Liz

Earth Day is a day to show our love for mother Earth. It’s a day for political action and community organizing. It’s a day to celebrate the environmental movement.

And it’s also a day for small personal actions! If you aren’t taking part in something big on this day, there are TONS of ways to show your support for the environment. These are 5 super easy ideas for actions anyone can fit into their busy lives. Check them out!

My 5 super easy actions for Earth Day!

1. Eat vegan for the day!

This is by far the easiest way to make a BIG impact on the planet. I call this one a win, win, win, win! Because eating vegan does all of this: minimizes greenhouse gas emissions, reduces water pollution, reduces water use, and conserves resources. All of this happens when you eat vegan because you are eliminating animal products and all of the waste and pollution associated with animal-based products and big animal farms. If you are blanking on vegan eating ideas, check out minimalist baker for LOADS of good ideas. I love her stuff. Right now my favorite recipe of hers is Mexican cashew cheese. Yum. My kiddos love it too!

2. Pick up trash on your street.

This is a small step, but can help protect your local waterways and wildlife. Litter gets washed down or blown into small streams, which lead to rivers, which eventually lead to the ocean. Litter also gets accidentally ingested by small critters and birds. Pick it up and dispose of it in the right place instead! You might even get to know some new neighbors in the process, and even inspire others!

 

3. Stay out of your car for the day.

This is another biggie. In the US, transportation is the number one source of greenhouse gas emissions. Try to avoid driving for one day. Can those errands wait a day or two? Probably. If it really can’t wait, try taking your bike or the bus instead of driving. You get a little extra movement for the day, and spare the air!

4.  Go for a hike nearby.

Keeping in mind the whole don’t-drive suggestion, is there a hike or walk you can get to without your car? You can also try taking the bus, biking, or just going for a long walk in your neighborhood. I like to call that an urban hike. Getting outside into nature (or nature-ish) is awesome for clearing your head, tuning in to your surroundings, and remembering why this planet is so amazing and deserves our protection!

5. Plant a vegetable

Plant a veggie or an herb in your garden or, if you don’t have a garden – put it in a pot in front of a sunny window.  Not only does this literally make the world and your home a little greener, eating homegrown means eating super fresh, avoiding pesticides, and might even save you from a trip to the store now and then! At my house we have lots of greens like kale and chard growing in our garden. Even when we don’t have veggies in the fridge for lunch or dinner, we have veggies from the yard to eat! So they save us a last minute trip to the store pretty much EVERY WEEK! After you plant it, it can remind you of Earth Day each time you see it and water it, and hopefully bring a smile to your face.

That’s it – 5 super simple things to do on Earth Day. Do you have any to add? Or have you tried any of these? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

All the best,
Liz