Es warad wegen der Leit und der Umwelt (= österreichisch für “ein Plädoyer für die Menschen und die Umwelt”)

Who has seen the documentary yesterday on Arte? I was very touched by what I’ve seen and I just needed to write an article about this.

BACKGROUND: the Rana Plaza catastrophe in Bangladesh. The Rana Plaza was an 8-floor building and belonged to the politician Sohle Rana. In this building there were a few textile companies, stores and a bank. On April 23rd, 2013 cracks in the building were discovered and police forbid the entrance to the building. The next day there were about 3000 people in this building  – even though police had forbidden the entrance. On April 24th, 2013, at around 9.00 am the building crashed. It is said that people were forced by production site managers to come to work that day. More than 1000 people died, more than 1500 were injured. 

REACTION: After this accident and due to the big public pressure it was decided to check the security of textile companies by state. Some companies, but not enough were closed 1 week after the tragedy happened. Hundreds more were supposed to close after a couple of weeks later. Workers were now allowed to unite in independent unions and lead wage negotiations. The minimum wage was supposed to be increased. Furthermore big European companies signed an agreement for fire and building protection in Bangladesh. The necessary measures should be financed by these companies – pro rata, according to the production volumes and within 45 days after signing this agreement.

SITUATION TODAY: The working conditions are still catastrophic. The buildings are not safe, the fire protection stairs end nowhere, wages are still incredibly low and the production methods still dangerous for the workers.

Instead of taking responsibility – to which they pledged in the agreement – the companies cancel the contracts with the factories as soon as any kind of deficit is noticed. I assume that they then look for other factories where they can produce until deficits are being noticed there as well.

WHAT CAN WE DO: Unfairness is something I cannot cope with. But that doesn’t help much. We need to start to reflect – reflect on our consumer behavior, our value system, our attitude towards the environment and imagine the future of our planet.

We live in a global world and enjoy the advantages of it – but we just cannot only take and take and take. We have to be aware that people die because they produce clothes for the Western world. Their lives are just as worth as ours.

CONCRETE ACTIONS: Everyone can yell out loud, but now it is time to start with actions.

  • Awareness Raising: Talk and discuss, talk and discuss…..
  • Shop at Slow Fashion Companies: inform yourself on my blog or in the internet about alternatives to Fast Fashion.
  • Communication: A recommendation of Clean Clothes Campaign: If you shop at a Fast Fashion brand, send the receipt together with a prepared message to the brand headquarter. These messages can be downloaded under ci-romero.de, print them, sign them and send them via mail.
  • Reflect on your own consumer behavior: how many T-Shirts, pullovers und Jeans do you really wear? Do you need a new shirt every month? Do I have to go with every trend? Do I really need something new for a certain event or isn’t there anything in my closet? Saves money as well 😉
  • Upcycling: Check out Alexandra O’Donovan’s blog www.storyofmyshirt.de for more information
  • www.kleiderei.com: here you can rent clothes for 1 month, wear it during this time and then send it back. for 34 EUR/month.
  • no more Used-Look Jeans – the person who made these jeans has now sand or some other chemical in his/her lungs.
  • Take care of your clothes – be careful with them. Textiles are not disposable goods.
  • revitalize your jogger – Change your clothes when you get home. This is not only comfortable, but gives your clothes a break as well 🙂
  • Wash your clothes carefully and at low temperature. Sometimes it just helps to hang your clothes outside – this way the materials are being conserved. If your clothes are wrinkled, hang them in your bath room when taking a shower – steam helps against wrinkles – only against the ones in your clothes though 😉
  • No clothes in the dryer – I know it is practical, but the dryer really doesn’t protect your clothes. Hang them in the cellar, outside, anywhere but don’t use the dryer.
  • Don’t boycott. This doesn’t help anyone – not the workers, not the environment. It makes more sense to consume with consciousness and communicate the companies what you want: clothes which bring joy, but without exploitation.

If I only adress 1 person with this article and this one person is taking only 1 tipp to heart, then I have reached something. I’ll be pleased to read your comments and feedback!  

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