I recently did a talk at a Featured in Fifteen evening, where the focus is on celebrating little people with grand plans to change the world, all while working your way through a cocktail menu. My kind of event!
The theme for the night was Purpose and Power, which hugely resonated with me. A year ago I asked myself the simple question, ‘what is my legacy?’ and realised I wasn’t that in love with the answer. Questioning my personal legacy coupled with despairing at the destruction of the planet led me to abandon my corporate career to build a brand with purpose celebrating sustainable fashion.
“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that somebody else will save it”
The stats around clothes consumption are alarming at best:
- 235 million items of clothing are sent to landfill every 3 months in the UK alone
- 75% of people in the UK throw away their clothes rather than selling, donating or recycling them
- £30 billion is the estimated worth of unworn clothing in people’s wardrobes
What can we do about it? Well, lots. But one of the simplest things is to change our own behaviour and then convince others to do the same. Don’t believe your actions alone can have an impact? I can prove to you that they can…
- Day 1: You decide that at least part of your clothing spend will be secondhand
- By the end of month 1 you will have convinced just 5 of the people in your life to do the same (friends/ family/ colleagues/ etc)
- By the end of month 2 each of these five will have convinced another 5 to do the same
- And so on each month
- By the end of the sixth month, 19,530 will have changed their behaviour all thanks to you
- But it doesn’t stop there. Such is the power of compound effects, that by month 9 you would have had an impact on 2,441,405 people
- By the end of month 10 you would have made a change to 12,207,030 people (that’s over 12 million if you find long strings of numbers challenging)
- By the end of month 11 you would have reached over 61 million people
- And at the end of the year, more people than have ever lived would have decided to change their behaviour. All down to one person deciding to make a change and convincing others to do the same. That person could be you.
Now before a sharp-eyed mathematician/ statistician/ general smart-arse tells me that these numbers are an impossibility in that you can’t reach the dead (+ there are other statistical issues like some people won’t be able to summon the energy to tell 5 others, etc), I am aware of that. But what they do show is the IMMENSE POWER WE HAVE AS INDIVIDUALS. All you have to do is change your behaviour and tell five people. It genuinely is that simple.
Go forth, spread the word. Be the change.