Are your clothes environmentally friendly?

Are your clothes environmentally friendly? Do you even know. I didn’t. Manufacturing clothes is a complex industry that involves chemicals, non-ethical labour (child labour), shipping, and very high carbon emissions (5% over the overall carbon emission every year).

Clothes define us. Make us feel pretty or handsome, help us feel confident. I’m the first to admit that it’s hard to feel good in a job interview when you are wearing and old suit. But

Still, I know that my love of clothes is not the best for the planet. So I made one of my environmental objectives to buy more second hand clothes. In this PBS YouTube show Hot Mess they present other ways to help reduce our environmental foot print with different ways of choosing and buying clothes.

Pre discussion

  • Do you like to shop for clothes?
  • Do you ever buy second hand clothes?
  • What do you do with the clothes you don’t wear anymore?

Some concepts to explore before the video:

  • clothing as a status symbol
  • impact on the planet
  • textiles, garments
  • releasing carbon dioxide, greenhouse gas emission
  • climate-friendly
  • fossil fuel
  • sustainable
  • ethical labour
  • environmentally friendly shipping

Teachers note: The presenter speaks fast. But you can reduce the speed to 0.75 and still get a natural flow. You can also add the close captions. If the rate and vocabulary is a bit frustrating for your students, encourage them to use their meta-knowledge to achieve comprehension (images, body language, guessing from context). The faster they get over what they don’t understand, the better they will feel when faced with native speakers in real life.

The Video: PBS Hot Mess How To Make Clothes Less Terrible for the Planet

Discussion Questions

  • Stop the video 2 or 3 times and do a Mind Map of all the key concepts.
  • Why are clothes so important to us?
  • What are some of the impacts of polyester, rayonne, leather, and cotton?
  • What are some of the environmentally friendly things we can do to reduce the impact of buying clothes?
  • After watching this video, what could you change in your buying habits that could improve the impact of the clothing industries’ impact on the environment?
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Let me know how it goes…

How much to you know about Earth Day?

Looking for an earth day lesson plan? Look no further. The Washington Post for Kids published this fun trivia quiz that can conjure many side discussions on environmental issues.

Earth Day is a celebration that is intended to spark environmental awareness at all levels of society. Families, schools, communities and nations show their support of environmentally friendly actions and goals. I think we can all agree that being kind to mother nature is to everyone’s advantage. But in practice, it can sometimes be difficult to incorporate environmentally friendly habits.

I have resigned to think that this is more a process that a binary state (either you are or you’re not).  Yes there are the extreme “tree-huggers” as well as those who just don’t seem to care, but pointing fingers doesn’t help either way.  My motto is lead by example and don’t feel guilty about what you could be doing better and don’t look down on those who could be doing more.  That might sound a little wishy-washy, but I think it works.

Pre discussion 

  • Mind Map the following concept : lessen environmental footprint (good expression to explain)

The quiz: Washington Post How much do you know about Earth Day and the environment? 

  • Have the participants do the quiz in pairs. Encourage them to paraphrase the answers.

Discussion Questions:

  • What are some of the answers that surprise you?
  • How do you feel about the state of the environment?
  • What are some of the habits you have changed to lessen your environmental foot print?
  • Do you know of some easy actions that others may not know about?
  • What is you community doing?

Let me know how it goes…