ESL etc.

Global Issues and Activism in English Language Teaching

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Dress for Excess: The Cost of Our Clothing Addiction

December 2nd, 2007 by Dave · No Comments

As the holiday season approaches, now is a great time for talking about the environmental cost of clothing overconsumption. This article, from AlterNet is full of facts and figures that could be adapted for use in the English classroom. The article itself is probably too difficult for most learners, though. It has a heavy US focus, but it also references several other countries.

The government says apparel prices in the United States dropped by about 25 percent from 1992 to 2002, and we responded like the good consumers we are, increasing our buying by 75 percent. The population increased only 13 percent in that decade, so the average annual shopping haul, which stood at about 50 new articles of clothing per person per year in 1992, had grown to 75 or more items per person by 2002.

And to clear out closet space for the new purchases, the average American discards 68 pounds of clothing and other textiles each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says per-person consumption of textile fiber in the United States is double that of Spain, four times that of China, and almost seven times India’s.

Currently in the global south, estimates suggest that half of total pesticide use is on cotton.

Dye effluents can contain any of a long list of hazardous metals: copper, cobalt, chromium, nickel, zinc, lead, antimony, silver, cadmium or mercury.

A cluster of ten textile/dyeing plants in southern India were reported this year to be dumping 7 million liters of effluent per day onto their own land, supposedly for irrigation.

Thanks Khalid

Tags: blog · consumerism · ESL activity · global issues activities · reading · the environment

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