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  • Writer's pictureMichaela A de Guire

What is the Green Movement?

Updated: Apr 16, 2023

The green movement is a movement that addresses the concerns regarding climate change, organic agriculture, pollution, preservation of wild and undeveloped land, protection of endangered species, resistance to genetic modification of crops and livestock (that's GMO), and the opposition to nuclear power. The Green movement began emerging in the 1960’s. It continued to grow in the 1970’s and forward. However, it was in the 1980’s that global climate change became the movement's greatest concern.

The preservation of natural and undeveloped land has been a part of European history since the nineteenth century. They have organizations such as Friends of Nature and the National Trust that have been established for at least that long. However, in America at the time of the nineteenth century you will find the struggle for protecting natural and undeveloped land was difficult. John Muir, an American naturalist, fought to establish the U.S. National Parks Services to protect the parks we have today, including the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Glacier, Arches, to name a few.

The Green Movement has grown to become a continuous under current in most everyone's lifestyle. Many people work towards being “green”, through recycling, carpooling, use of less electricity, reduced waste, and intentional shopping. Unfortunately, the media uses this against the people. We have more people calling themselves environmentalists than ever before, and in 2020, 42% of American voters said the issues of climate change were very important. And this is when Greenwashing become a larger issue. I am not here to tell you weather we should or should not care about climate change, but rather to explain what the "green movement" is.

Issues of Greenwashing. What is it?

Greenwashing is displaying to the media, that is showing the people you are a “green” company or person, when in fact you are doing the exact opposite. The practice of “greenwashing” started in 1980’s when Chevron, a major oil company ran TV and radio ads on how they were helping the environment, while they were dumping oil in protected lands and waterways, and thus, violating the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. However, it wasn’t until 1986 when environmentalist Jay Westervelt, pointed out that hotels that encouraged guests to reuse their towels did not do much else to reduce energy waste or help the environment, that the term “greenwashing” came into play.

Today, I believe a company should not be able to claim they are "green" when they only meet the minimum standards. But rather a company should be willing to go above and beyond the minimum standards, displaying to the people that they really do care about the wonderful gift God given us, this green earth and those who walk beside us on it.

Sustainability is not just about saying you are green, while recycling or because you produce a recyclable product. To be truly green one must be sure the process of producing your product is green from the farms you purchase materials from to the clients hands.

A Catholics duty regarding the Green Movement. What is it?

As a Catholic I see it as my duty to take care of what God has bestowed on us, after all it is only natural. But to skew it in such a way where it makes your every decision, such as I’m the only one in my car to go to Mass, so I’ll just skip today to help save the plant. Why not try taking another avenue of transportation, such as a bike? Basically you have just placed the planet above God. Putting it above of God is idolatry. There is not much else you can say. However, you must remember voting for a candidate in any political party that does the same or allowing another to be undereducated in such actions is wrong. Putting the earth, God's creation in front or above Him, is inappropriate and should never be considered, as it is idolatry.

How does the green movement overlap in the fashion industry?

The green movement has overlapped in nearly every industry. As a matter of fact, I can’t think of a single industry that does not talk about sustainability, recycling, etc. In the fashion industry the Green Movement is taken into consideration in the fields, where the fibers are grown, in the factories where they are turned in to fabric, in the manufacturing plants where they are made into clothing, in the stores they are sold in, the trucks for delivery. And, from the store to your hands it is up to you how “green” it really is by how you treat it and care from it for the rest of its life.

So How does one know what is sustainable?

First of all look for certification, such as the Eco-Stylist, GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standards), B-Corps, Fairtrade, etc. There are many certifications to look out for in the fashion industry, you will even find certifications associated with recycling. I would say the most important ones to look out for to begin with would be the B-Corps and GOTS as these are major certifications that play a large role in the fashion industry.

The B-Corps is a company that meets “the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.” (B Lab).

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) “is the worldwide leading textile processing standard for organic fibers, including ecological and social criteria, backed up by independent certification of the entire textile supply chain.” (Global With one common standard for the world any company can export their goods around the world without worrying about rejection. And, this offers clients the confidence in purchasing authentically green goods, sourced from green supply chains.

When you are looking at the certifications for your brands and companies you shop with be sure to look for third party certification. A third party certification means an independent organization, such as GOTS and B-Corps, that is an organization not associated with the company who is looking for certification (or is certified), has reviewed the manufacturing process of a product and has determined that the final product produced by said company complies with the specific standards for safety, quality, performance, etc.

If the company that has manufactured the product is the one who supplied the certification, then they probably purchased the certification and did not receive it by doing “green” or “good”. Thus, they could (possibly) have greenwashed their clients, and thus, guided people into believing they are truly green, when in fact they are not. But if an outside company certified them then it is most likely true and therefore, is in the clear for sustainability.

I do hope this helped clear the air in regarding to the Green Movement and the overlap in the Fashion Industry. If you have any other questions please leave them in the comments below!

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