Sustainability Issues We Don't Talk About Enough

– Hello, my dudes, my name is Tiffany Welcome back to my series, “Internet Analysis,” where I like to research and discuss things relevant to social issues and media Today we’re gonna discuss sustainability I’m super happy to see sustainability being discussed more and more, but I do feel like we kind of hear about a lot of the same few topics So in today’s video, I want to bring up some issues related to sustainability that I feel like haven’t gotten enough coverage yet, specifically, intersectionality in the sustainability and environmentalist movements But first, I want to give a quick explanation of what sustainability is and how I’ve seen the movement portrayed, especially on social media so far So sustainability is the avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance It generally refers to the capacity for the biosphere and human civilization to coexist Basically, we have been depleting resources at an extremely unsustainable rate, and especially thanks to capitalism, we have been harming the planet, animals, and people In recent years, the general public has become a lot more aware of climate change and the fact that our consumption is a big factor in that, but let’s not forget that 100 companies have been responsible for 71% of global emissions, great But still, individual consumption is significant There’s a great quiz that you can take that will basically tell you how many earths it would take if everyone consumed at the same level as you Definitely recommend it So yes, most of the media and discussion about sustainability does typically involve individual lifestyle choices, which actually I think is pretty good because thinking about and talking about climate change can be very upsetting, and I think knowing that our individual consumption matters can make us kind of feel empowered knowing that we can make a difference in our own footprint We talk a lot about cutting down on single-use plastic, replacing disposable items with reusable items, and then, there’s the whole low to zero-waste movement We’ve also seen a huge increase in demand for sustainable fashion, and I’m really glad to see us discussing, you know, the impacts of the clothing industry more in terms of resource usage environmentally, but also in terms of labor because most clothing is made by people who are low paid and often work in pretty terrible conditions And I have made a couple videos kind of loosely related to that topic in the past I made a video about fast fashion I made a video about minimalism and Marie Kondo-ing your closet But if you would like to learn more about the fashion industry, I would definitely recommend my friend Kristin Leo’s channel She makes really, really great informative videos But anyway, out of everything, I think that shopping secondhand is one of the most accessible ways to become more sustainable, to live more sustainably So that brings me to today’s sponsor I am so happy to be working with thredUP on today’s video thredUP is the world’s largest online thrift store where you can find clothes from your favorite brands at up to 90% off I have always been a fan of shopping secondhand, but in recent years, I have really been trying more and more to minimize the amount of clothing that I buy new and instead search secondhand first whenever I need anything Shopping secondhand is almost always going to be more sustainable and more affordable than buying new thredUP is offering my viewers 30% off your first order Just click the link in the description, and you can use my code TIFFANY thredUP is super convenient You can use their website or the app, and you can sort by size And then I also like to add filters for specific brands or specific colors This time, I was mainly looking for basics that’ll be good for fall layering, and I also like rather simple tops because it makes it easier to read text on screen for videos, so practical So thredUP order came in one of these adorable polka dot boxes, and I’m going to show you a couple of items that I am most excited about Wow, you guys never see me standing This is an LA Hearts pullover I believe it’s a brand from PacSun, so this was $18.99 Estimated original price was $48, and obviously, if you’ve watched my videos a lot, you know I don’t wear a lot of bright colors I had nothing this color, and I don’t have any cropped, cute, tieable pullovers like this This has definitely been a good addition to my cold weather wardrobe, and I have been so comfy wearing this literally every night since I got it And then I got this black Madewell top which was $22.99, estimated original price $89 I love Madewell, so I was searching for their items specifically I usually prefer a higher neckline, so this is nice, but it gives you that little cold shoulder And it’s a good length with my high-waisted pants And then we’ve got this Brandy Melville top which was $9.99, estimated original price, $27 I don’t care that I’m not a teenager and I don’t fit into most of their clothes anymore I will always like Brandy Melville, at least for their tops But I love this one I’m a big fan of, like, button-up type of tops even though this is not a button-up But this length is just perfect

And my last two items You may recognize this top from my last video, My Floors are So Squeaky This is actually a bodysuit from BCB Generation It was $9.99, estimated original price, $34 And then this is an Eddie Bauer skirt that was $14.99, estimated original price, $60 I’ve been wanting a skirt this length for a while, and I feel like this look together is just like like a dark holiday party look, even Like if I had a regular job, this would be my, like, corporate Christmas party outfit Can you tell I don’t have a corporate job? Once again, thank you, thredUP, let’s continue Shopping secondhand is awesome, and buying from ethical, sustainable brands, if you can afford to, is also awesome But probably the most important thing that you would need to do to shop sustainably is just to buy only what you need We all need clothing, of course, and we often have to buy new things when seasons change, or if our sizes change, or for specific occasions But always, it is super important to still be mindful about our consumption, especially with fast fashion becoming such a big part of the fashion industry I think we’ve gotten used to buying a lot of cheap things and getting as much as possible just ’cause it’s exciting to get a deal And we need to step away from that mindset of, like, hoarding as much clothing as possible so even when you do find really good deals shopping secondhand, just make sure that you are still buying things that you need Do not over consume So with all this stress on individual consumption, we often hear people say things like, “Everyone can do these easy things to improve,” but we need to acknowledge that buying sustainable products or trying to be zero waste definitely requires a level of privilege, which is something I’m gonna talk about in this video It’s great to educate others and encourage people to make steps toward being more sustainable, but we need to recognize that everyone has different abilities to be able to make these changes It is not as easy as just buy these things A lot of factors come into play, including a person’s budget, the affordability of an item or service, their location, their access So that is our segue into intersectionality Intersectionality argues that there are multiple aspects to humanity including race, gender, class, sexual orientation, age, body type, and many more And these aspects don’t exist separately from each other They’re inextricably linked, meaning that individuals whose identities overlap with a number of these minority classes will face many more threats of discrimination in their life And specifically in this video, I want to introduce ideas of why intersectionality is important in environmental activism You may have heard of intersectional feminism in comparison to white feminism, and white feminism doesn’t necessarily mean that all white people who are feminists are white feminists But rather, it refers to a type of feminism that kind of ignores the discrimination, oppression, and needs of people who basically are not CIS, white, middle class, non-disabled women In order to be inclusive and effective, movements have to be intersectional So in terms of sustainability and the environmental movement, those need to be intersectional, as well Let’s start with class and status You’ve probably already noticed this To be sustainable, you may have this idea that you need to buy specific items based on maybe some sustainable influencers that you’ve seen You know, fancy zero-waste kits, bamboo toothbrushes, hemp clothing, reusable swaps for everything, local, organic, handmade items, which are all great and nice, and a lot of them probably are more sustainable But also a lot of products that are marketed as sustainable can also be very, very expensive and, therefore, not accessible to the general public Environmentalism has kind of become a status symbol in itself You know things like the success of Tesla, which has become a very, very popular car Driving a Tesla signifies two things One, you can afford a Tesla, and two, you’re an environmentalist Bottom line, a lot of sustainable products are trendy, so we get this combination of capitalism, marketing, and greenwashing in a lot of cases Basically, sustainability is on the rise It’s getting more popular Companies want to capitalize on the trend of sustainability, which is ironic because ideally, sustainability would be more about kind of a lifestyle and a mindset rather than this checklist of items that you need to buy Like, please do not be fooled You do not need a fancy hydro flask or a swell water bottle Any reusable bottle will do Again, let’s be real A lot of these, you know, luxury sustainable items are expensive and inaccessible, and honestly, not necessary We have to remember that sometimes cheap disposable products are all that a person can afford, and we should not shame people for that That does nothing to advance this movement

And also, in reality, being frugal is probably one of the easiest ways to be more sustainable You do not have to buy things in order to be sustainable You need to make use of what you have, and probably buy less in general If you want to buy reusable swaps, if you can afford to, make sure you do that after you have already run out of the products that they would be replacing It would be wasteful if you just throw them out and then go buy a bunch of sustainable products, you know? Also, you can reuse and repurpose items that you already own because DIYing something, making use of things that you already have, is also one of the most sustainable options Anyway, this video’s purpose is not to teach you how to be more sustainable or have sustainable swaps There are plenty of better creators who can explain these concepts and ideas way better than I ever could For example, I want to give a shout-out to my friend here on YouTube, Meghan Hughes She’s been making a lot of videos related to sustainability and how she has been lower waste and making a lot of things herself, so check out her videos My friend Zoe also runs an Instagram called Zero Waste East Tennessee, and she’s always sharing tips about sustainable living, lower waste living, vegan food, great stuff Love hearing the rumbling clouds We have a natural ambiance in today’s video Time to get into the nitty gritty I want to discuss the ableism that sometimes exists within sustainability movements So in recent years, single-use plastic items have become a lot less popular First, we were tackling plastic bags That’s great, and then the target became plastic straws Really quickly, people hated plastic straws, and called for them to be banned You know, we don’t need straws Maybe you could use these little sippy lids, or maybe you just drink out of a cup And if you really need a straw, just use the little paper ones which never fall apart, we love them, or a metal straw Problem solved, right? No, not exactly Banning straws might be a win for environmentalists, but it ignores us disabled people Many disabled people need plastic straws to drink, eat, take medications, et cetera Here’s how current alternative reusable options are a harm to us The good thing is, I think this issue has actually been pretty widespread, and that is all due to the work of disabled people, and disability activists who have been spreading this information to kind of correct the record So when people are saying nobody needs straws, there is no use for them, just ban them, that’s not true, there are people who still need plastic straws, specifically But even other than plastic straws, there are a lot of other convenience items that some people might look at as wasteful and unnecessary, or even worse, as an item for lazy people As-seen-on-TV products aren’t for lazy people They make disabled people’s lives easier So for example, this sock slider was called lazy My disabled kid could use this It’s for when you can’t physically bend over Disabled people exist Many of these products, even if they’re not marketed specifically to disabled people, are incredibly helpful for people with disabilities, whether they have chronic pain, low mobility, tremors, or other conditions that non-disabled people are rarely asked to think about And I’ll be honest, I didn’t really know much about this aside from the straw issue, but that’s because that has been discussed and brought to the mainstream conversation I was actually watching a Shelbizleee video recently, and she mentioned this, like, egg boiler tool and how she thought it was, like, unnecessary, and some people in the comments were letting her know that that tool would actually be useful for disabled people And by the way, I do not blame Shelbi for not knowing because I didn’t know, either By the way, she makes really great videos about sustainability and low to zero waste living and swaps, so I definitely recommend her channel I feel bad for using her for this example But it’s helpful It goes to show how often non-disabled people aren’t aware of or don’t really consider, like, the needs of disabled people So in the sustainability movement, it’s very important for us to be aware of what we’re saying, and we don’t wanna make generalizations that exclude the needs of disabled people By the way, if at any point in this video I need to be corrected because I’m not explaining things well enough, please, please let me know I’m here to learn And if you have any other useful examples, please share I tried to finish filming this before I have to go to class, but I have ran out of time, so I’ll see you in a couple of hours And I’m back The next topic I wanna touch on is environmental racism Unfortunately, my last video was demonetized, probably because I said that word So I’m trying to avoid that this time, I apologize Apparently, we can’t say certain words on this website anymore, love that It seems that almost anywhere researchers look, there is more evidence of deep racial disparities in exposure to environment hazards Environmental risks are allocated disproportionately along the lines of race, often without the input of the affected communities of color

– More than half of all people who live close to hazardous waste are people of color Flood plains nationwide have high populations of blacks and Hispanics Black children are twice as likely to suffer lead poisoning as white children This inequality is no accident Pollution and the risk of disaster are assigned to black and brown communities through generations of discrimination and political neglect It’s no wonder that black and Hispanic children have the highest rates of asthma, or that hurricanes like Katrina, Sandy, and Matthew did their worst damage in communities of color – When it comes to environmental issues and especially climate change, a lot of us tend to think about it as a future issue, or we’ve only become really personally aware of it recently because of, say, record heat waves If climate change has not already had a drastic impact on your life, you’re probably in a very privileged position The reality is that the poorest people and countries are the most vulnerable, and many of them are already facing and feeling the consequences of climate change Globally poorer nations that don’t have the infrastructure in place to protect themselves against natural disasters are often the worst hit by climate change’s disastrous effects Take Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans or Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, for example The people with the means to were able to evacuate They had access to a vehicle, they had a place to go, or they could afford to stay at a hotel The poorest residents did not have those means, so they stayed behind By the way, more than 44% of the population of Puerto Rico lives in poverty, and the national U.S mainland average is about 12% And that’s why, especially for Puerto Ricans on the island, Hurricane Maria was absolutely devastating And honestly, it’s been over two years, and they are still trying to recover in a lot of ways Again, regarding infrastructure, lower income Americans are more likely to live in neighborhoods or buildings more susceptible to storm shocks Substandard infrastructure in affordable housing units and low-income communities placed residents at greater risk to the effects of a severe storm In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, low-income neighborhoods were more affected than wealthier ones As poor families were more concentrated in flood-prone parts of Houston, and as I touched on a few minutes ago, low-income and minority families are also more likely to live closer to noxious industrial facilities and thus more at risk to chemical spills and toxic leaks resulting from storm damage Want another example of environmental injustice? I’m giving you one anyway Do you guys remember the Dakota Access Pipeline? Basically, an oil pipeline was proposed, and it was originally supposed to run through or near Bismarck, North Dakota, which, by the way, is about 90% white, which is relevant And that was rejected because it ran too close to the city’s water supply So then they rerouted it to flow under the Missouri River near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, directly putting their water at risk, and this pipeline violated a treaty from 1851 I mean, the thing about oil pipelines is that they will break It’s, like, certain, they will break at some point It’s just a matter of when This little bit of information doesn’t even begin to touch on, you know, the entire NODAPL protest and the Water Protectors at Standing Rock Overall, I was just so inspired following along with that as it was happening And that was just such a striking example of the love and passion within native communities Unfortunately, there are way too many examples of a similar kind of situation like that where indigenous communities are targeted and taken advantage of, especially in terms of environmental justice or injustice So I found this piece from “The Guardian” from UC San Diego, “Green for Whom, Injustice in Environmentalism,” and it talks about lithium And lithium is used in rechargeable batteries such as the one in Tesla cars So with the rise in popularity of Tesla, whose mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy, they have been sourcing lithium from the Holy Trinity, which is Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile And they’re attempting to buy property rights to lithium-rich lands from those governments Colonialist implications aside, this poses a considerable environmental problem The lithium deposits are in lake beds, accessible only by evaporating whole lakes And the racism problem, indigenous communities have lived off the land for generations, relying on those lithium-rich lakes for water supply The true cost of environmentalism comes out In Tesla’s journey to transition rich environmentalists to sustainable energy, they have trampled the lives of innocent people So that brings me to the last subtopic that I wanted to discuss in this video, which is indigenous sovereignty in the environmentalist and sustainability movements So as we saw in a lot of these examples including the Dakota Access Pipeline,

decisions are not focused on what is best for the people at all It is what is best for business If an oil company wants to build a pipeline, they’re gonna be able to do it because of the power structures and capitalism Anyway, there is a huge need for indigenous communities to be able to not only protect their lands but to be able to make decisions about how to deal with climate change for themselves Instead of having the government try to control what they do as they have since they colonized, indigenous communities deserve these rights And they should be leaders in the climate movement This is what indigenous energy sovereignty looks like As the people of the land, air, and waters, indigenous nations have been the first to feel the impacts of climate change Just as we are at the front line of climate impacts, we must also be at the forefront of climate solutions Energy sovereignty means enabling indigenous communities to own and operate our own energy systems, to use renewable and locally available energy sources like wind and solar, and to stop burning fossil fuels and stop relying on corporations for energy These kinds of democratic energy systems are aligned with indigenous cultures, knowledge, and land rights, and they increase the resiliency of indigenous communities that have been negatively impacted by colonialism and capitalist resource extraction I feel like I’m kinda losing my voice here Anyway, this is now the end of the video I hope you guys enjoyed the topics that I decided to discuss today I, in these videos, like to learn something new, and that’s usually when I enjoy the process of making a video the most And I definitely learned a lot more about these specific topics in working on this video Obviously, there are, like, infinite other topics to discuss in regard to the need for intersectionality in the environmentalist movements And even with the topics I mentioned, I probably barely scratched the surface But I just like, I like to introduce you guys to ideas that maybe you haven’t heard of or don’t know much about, either, or maybe you know a lot, and you can teach us in the comments We’re all here to learn and share knowledge, and hopefully save this planet Let’s get this bread, let’s get this oxygen The last thing I want to say is this quote: Most of the responsibility of ethical living has to the the responsibility of the global 1% because there are a whole variety of people who are just living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to get by day by day, often due to a combination of factors like race, gender, and class These things are linked, and not everyone is able to participate as fully as others Basically, what that means to me is if you have the means to do so, if you in any ways can become more sustainable in your individual consumption, do what you can But also, activism is really important, getting involved politically is important because we need to elect people who believe in climate change, first of all, and who are going to be as aggressive as possible in finding solutions and getting them instated as soon as possible Also a quick reminder that being sustainable is not a competition, and we should never, you know, shame people if they are imperfect, because I think we are all imperfect It’s so not necessary to attack people for why they’re not sustainable It is much more productive to just, again, continue educating ourselves and others, spread these messages, and do what you can personally in your own life if you would like to be more sustainable, which, hopefully, you do Once again, thank you so much to thredUP for sponsoring today’s video If you guys are interested in checking them out, please click the link in the description You can get 30% off your first order with code TIFFANY Also, you guys can follow me on Instagram for some mediocre pics, and you can follow me on Twitter for some political tweets and memes, you know, it’s not all political It’s a lot, though And of course, subscribe if you enjoyed this video, and stay tuned for a future “Internet Analysis” episode, kthanksbai (jaunty music)