Workers in Asian clothing factory

Whether you’re a trendy fashionista or your style stopped evolving with grunge, you put on clothes every day. And those clothes have a tremendous environmental impact. To honor 52 years of action inspired by Earth Day, Earth911 is presenting 52 Actions for the Earth. Each week through Earth Day 2023, we will share an action you can take to invest in the Earth and make your own life more sustainable. This week, you can invest in the Earth by petitioning for regulations that will make the garment industry more sustainable.

Action: Sign the Petition

An Unfashionable Impact

The fashion industry is notorious for its wastefulness and steep environmental impact. The fashion industry is responsible for nearly 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. It takes nearly 3,000 liters of water to make one cotton T-shirt and nearly 3,800 liters of water to make a pair of jeans. Washing synthetic clothing (which comprises 60% of what we wear) releases microplastics that account for 35% of all ocean microplastic pollution. After technology, no other industry contributes more than fashion to modern slavery and child labor, while the chemicals (especially pesticides and dyes) that are used to produce textiles for garment manufacturing pollute the communities where they are made, further harming the workers who make our clothes.

Fashion for the Earth’s new campaign, Fashion for the Earth, aims to change all that. They want to make the fashion industry an example of how to make the shift to a green economy. But to realign the fashion industry with sustainable practices, consumers, businesses, and governments must work together. Individual consumers can do a lot to make their own wardrobes more sustainable and quit fast fashion. But it’s going to take regulatory changes to achieve industry-wide sustainability. Consumers can help with that, too. is collecting signatures on a petition to the Biden administration calling for legislation that will require businesses in the fashion industry to adopt greener practices. The petition calls for regulations that will:

  • Hold the fashion industry responsible for cutting carbon emissions to Paris Agreement levels
  • Require sustainable disposal of manufacturing waste and used clothing
  • Halt the use of virgin synthetic materials through carbon-taxation
  • Require Fair Trade Commission’s Green Guidelines-compliant labeling for transparency and traceability
  • Mandate plastic microfiber filters in new clothes washers
  • Restrict the manufacture, import, and export of clothing containing harmful substances
  • Eliminate unfair and unsafe labor practices for apparel workers
  • Ban importation of clothing made with indentured servitude or child labor
  • Educate consumers on effective textile recycling

You can sign the petition on’s website, which also contains information about their Fashion for the Earth campaign. You can learn more about sustainable fashion – from building a capsule wardrobe with sustainable brands to getting a greener clean in the laundry and disposing of your old clothes responsibly when you clean out your closet and more – right here on Earth911.

By Gemma Alexander

Gemma Alexander has an M.S. in urban horticulture and a backyard filled with native plants. After working in a genetics laboratory and at a landfill, she now writes about the environment, the arts and family. See more of her writing here.