At the beginning of 2015, I wrote a post on water, going with the flow, and my expanding, ever-changing view of what sustainability is and what it means for my own life and purpose. Here we are at the fresh start of a new year, and looking back at this post gives me goosebumps. It’s only in hindsight that I see how much “going with the flow” became my theme for this past year. It emerged with the unexpected loss of my grandmother this summer. It showed up when it became clear that there would be no “slow season” at work this year. And it said “hello” again when I found myself having a really hard time writing here after coming back from my annual August writing break.
While it wasn’t an intentional decision, I let myself slowly step away from This I Wear to gain perspective and rest.
As I let go of the “shoulds” and the guilt about not writing every week here, I found myself spending a lot of time letting myself be curious and learn new things. What ended up happening was that all my blog time this Fall ended up going to an online course on the Circular Economy led by the European university TUDelft and sponsored by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
There is nothing more “go with the flow” than the Circular Economy. The Circular Economy, which is still an emerging idea, is the total opposite of our current economy. Imagine our current economy – a linear economy – as a line: we take resources from the planet, we make the materials into stuff, we use that stuff, and then we toss it in the landfill. At most, that stuff gets a second go-around for recycling. In the Circular Economy, it’s exactly what it sounds like – a circle: we stop taking new resources from the planet that we can’t replenish, use all of the incredible resources and materials that we’ve already put in circulation, start designing things to last as long as possible and to be designed to be disassembled or re-imagined, and then keep them in the flow of making and using stuff as long as possible. In the Circular Economy, just as it is in nature, there is no waste.
Nature knows how to go with the flow. A fallen leaf becomes the nutrients in the soil to grow a new tree. Rainwater nourishes our gardens and then evaporates back into the atmosphere only to come down again. The cycle continues.
Throughout the experience of the course, I felt my understanding of sustainability growing and evolving. There is even a whole week dedicated to fashion and textiles. If you’re curious, the class will be offered again in February 2016.
This month, I’ll start another online course focused on finding your own way to be an activist in the sustainability movement. The 7-week course is hosted by the nonprofit The Pachamama Alliance, which works to protect the culture and environment in the Amazon, one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet, and it’s a pay-what-you-wish donation at the end of the course. If you’d like to join me, you can sign up here.
If you want to start with the basics, though, try their free online 2-hour course, Awakening the Dreamer, which will guide you through understanding the environmental and human rights issues of our time. Heads up that at the beginning, you might wonder “what is this??” but trust me it’s worth it to stick it out to the end.
And just one more learning opportunity if you’re up for it: The Ethical Fashion Forum will be hosting a free online course for the first time on building a sustainable fashion business. So if you’ve been dreaming of creating your own clothing line or want to know the ins-and-outs of sustainable fashion in practice, sign up before the class starts on January 18.
So what does all of this mean for This I Wear?
Here’s the only thing that I know: My posting is going to be a lot more “go with the flow.” I won’t be posting on a regular schedule moving forward, but instead I’ll only be posting when I know I have something really exciting and thoughtfully written to share with you. If you’d like to be notified when there are new posts, you can get them right to your inbox by signing up to receive posts by email here.
And yes, in case you caught it, I did say the word “activist” earlier in this post. I’m going to be honest that the word bothers me. When I imagine an “activist”, I imagine someone who aggressively pushes their views on others. That’s not me at all. But I’m also increasingly feeling like I can’t stand by while I see bad decisions being made everyday that hurt people, hurt our environment, and endanger our future. Changing our shopping habits might be the way that we dip our toes into more responsible decision making, but I’m also ready to start talking about how we take big steps to make sure our future planet is one we want to live on.
I’m also curious to hear from you. Do the topics above interest you? Would you like me to be sharing more about sustainability innovations and more non-fashion sustainability ideas? Would you be interested in hearing about what I’m learning? Share your thoughts in the Comments or send me an email.