4pm UPDATE: Catwalk and gridlock: London Fashion Week Models meet Extinction Rebellion Swarmers in the Street

climate ecological Extinction Rebellion London Fashion Week

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Climate Factsheet for Rebels https://rebellion.earth/the-climate-factsheet-for-rebels/

  • Urge fashion industry to tell the truth about the ecological emergency and act on it

  • “It really is now or never. We swarm or we swim” Anna G, 20.

Central London today was brought to a standstill as models and protestors mingled in the street to converse about the ecological disaster we face, and what we can do. Models even took to doing a catwalk in front of around 70 protestors with their long banners in front of the entrance of the main venue of London Fashion Week, 180 The Strand.

A source from the International Fashion Showcase at Somerset House said “inside the building many were supportive of Extinction Rebellion’s drive towards a sustainable future.”

Topics of conversation included how:

  • Clothing production has more than doubled globally over the last 15 years, and in the UK we’re buying twice as much as we were buying 15 years ago [1]
  • Textiles are the largest source of both primary and secondary microplastics, accounting for 34.8% of global microplastic pollution [1]
  • Total greenhouse gas emissions from textiles production, at 1.2 billion tonnes annually, are more than those of all international flights and maritime shipping combined [3]

Alice Martin 28, a publisher and supporter of Extinction Rebellion said: “We’re doing what we came here to do. Streets are blocked across London. Participants of Fashion Week are running late and, our friends at the British Fashion Council have said that everyone inside the venues and at the shows are talking about us.

“We came to disrupt Fashion Week and to invite the industry to transform itself into a world saving cultural phenomenon. This is the beginning of that conversation. We’re excited to invite everyone whose day has been disrupted to join the Rebellion and give all they can to growing the movement as we mobilise towards International Rebellion Week in April.”

With over 100 swarmers in tow, the swarming protestors are now (3.30pm) are heading to Blackfriars Bridge to block access to the Burberry show at the Tate Modern.

Environmental impacts of the textile industry

  • Every year, around half a million tonnes of microfibers released by washed garments contribute to ocean pollution – 16 times more than plastic microbeads from cosmetics [3]
  • Loss of biodiversity due to intensive cultivation of cotton crops (22% of the world’s insecticides and 10% of all pesticides are applied to cotton crops) [1]
  • 20% of freshwater pollution comes from textile treatment and dyeing [2]
  • Textile production is also responsible for the loss of habitat (30% of rayon and Viscose come from pulp sourced from endangered forests). [1]

Updates from the swarming protests around London Fashion Week:

From Aldwych

Around 40 swarmers have been blocking traffic at the Waterloo Bridge end of Aldwych. A line of buses tailed into the distance westwards down the Strand. Atmosphere has been peaceful and drivers and passers by are responding well to the message. One placard reads: “Sorry for the delay. We’re here for all our futures.” Police are standing by, all is peaceful.

Lucy, 26, from France has been on the road at Aldwych: “Internationally, we now have the power to make real change. We just need to coordinate our actions and stand together.”

From Temple Station

Douglas Rodgers said: “There’s an upbeat funereal atmosphere outside Temple Station. The sun is shining on the river, someone’s playing music, and about 25 rebels are blocking the road for the last time before breaking for lunch. We’ve had a few grumpy drivers, but most people in cars seem happy to sit and enjoy the views.”

From the Strand

Swarmers are blocking the street all the way across the Strand directly outside the entrance of the main venue of London Fashion Week, 180 The Strand. As fashion photographers and bloggers surround the entrance to the British Fashion Council’s London Fashion Week Venue they are confronted with Extinction Rebellion’s message: we are rebelling so save life on earth and we need the cultural industries to join us in stopping business as usual. This is not a drill. We will cause major disruption in order to bring about the societal consciousness needed to address the climate and ecological crises.

Valerie DuPont, 43 from Paris said: “I am so extremely worried about the devastating ecological damage the fashion industry is causing. I am here today to let them know that they need to change.”

From Embankment

Buses are backed up at the Aldwych as swarmers clog up the surrounding area. There is a lively atmosphere as activists from Extinction Rebellion block the roads outside London Fashion Week. Extinction Rebellion’s protestors are looking raise the critical issue of climate change with people involved in the fashion industry to raise awareness about the damage this industry is having on the environment.

“It really is now or never. We swarm or we swim.” Anna G, 20.

FASHION – TELL THE TRUTH

  • Clothing production has more than doubled globally over the last 15 years, and in the UK we’re buying twice as much as we were buying 15 years ago [1]
  • Textiles are the largest source of both primary and secondary microplastics, accounting for 34.8% of global microplastic pollution [1]
  • Total greenhouse gas emissions from textiles production, at 1.2 billion tonnes annually, are more than those of all international flights and maritime shipping combined [3]

Environmental impacts of the textile industry

  • Every year, around half a million tonnes of microfibers released by washed garments contribute to ocean pollution – 16 times more than plastic microbeads from cosmetics [3]
  • Loss of biodiversity due to intensive cultivation of cotton crops (22% of the world’s insecticides and 10% of all pesticides are applied to cotton crops) [1]
  • 20% of freshwater pollution comes from textile treatment and dyeing [2]
  • Textile production is also responsible for the loss of habitat (30% of rayon and Viscose come from pulp sourced from endangered forests). [1]

 

Unsustainability

The textiles system operates in an almost completely linear way

  • It takes between 10,000 and 20,000 litres of water to grow and produce 1kg of cotton (1 shirt and 1 pair of jean) [2]
  • Worldwide, clothing utilisation – the average number of times a garment is worn before it ceases to be used – has decreased by 36% compared to 15 years ago [3]
  • In the UK 30% in average wardrobe has not been worn in a year [2]
  • Worldwide, fewer than one per cent of garments are recycled into new clothing each year, and only 20% of textiles are recycled at all [4]
  • In the UK £140m worth of clothing goes to landfill each year [2]

Notes

(1)   https://www.fashionrevolution.org/resources/fanzine3/

(2) http://www.wrap.org.uk (report: valuing our clothes the cost of UK fashion)

(3)https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/assets/downloads/publications/A-New-Textiles-Economy_Full-Report_Updated_1-12-17.pdf

(4) https://www.commonobjective.co/article/the-issues-waste

 

  1. About Extinction Rebellion:

Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction and abrupt, runaway climate change. Societal collapse and mass death are seen as inevitable by scientists and other credible voices, with human extinction also a possibility, if rapid action is not taken.

Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by its Government.

 

Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:

  1. The Government must tell the truth about the ecological emergency, reverse inconsistent policies and work alongside the media to communicate with citizens
  2. The Government must enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and to reduce consumption levels
  3. A national Citizens’ Assembly to oversee the changes, as part of creating a democracy fit for purpose.

Get involved in Extinction Rebellion’s other events

UK website: https://rebellion.earth/

International website: https://xrebellion.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ExtinctionRebellion/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ExtinctionR hashtag #ExtinctionRebellion

Declaration of Rebellion: https://rebellion.earth/declaration/

 

  1. About Rising Up!

Extinction Rebellion is an initiative of the Rising Up! network, which promotes a fundamental change of our political and economic system to one which maximises well-being and minimises harm. Change needs to be nurtured in a culture of reverence, gratitude and inclusion; whilst the tools of civil disobedience and direct action are used to express our collective power.

Website http://www.risingup.org.uk/;

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RisingUpUK/;

Twitter https://twitter.com/RisingUpUK

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