Updated: May 16
Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #3: Good Health and Well Being
If one positive gesture was demonstrated due to the COVID-19 quarantine, it has to be that of the power of humanity working together. More remarkable, and ironic, is that this state of self preservation was not chosen by us, it was imposed as the means of achieving a united goal. When I say ironic, I mean that amidst being pushed to both our physical and mental limits, we are doing what we need to do to fight COVID-19 and are making great strides.
The power of the people, a once cliché phrase is now a global reality. Can we imagine, or even begin to imagine, just exactly what we could accomplish if we were to work together, not simply as countries or individuals but instead if we could come together as a unit to achieve what was once considered unachievable? What could we accomplish?
Radical environmental changes can already be seen around the world from this isolation, now imagine if we made conscious choices to better the planet, together.
The SDG #3 focuses on health and wellbeing. The goals include:
By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases. Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol. By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes. Achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all. (World Health Organization).
Many efforts have been taken to provide equal access to health and wellbeing, however it is not happening at a rapid enough pace which would ensure the achievement of SDG #3 according to the UN by the 2030 deadline.
We must continue with these efforts, we cannot let it lose steam. We owe it to every unborn child and every mother that suffers inequality, from lack of sexual education to improper access to health. From domestic abuse to sexual violence. We owe it to all of us, man, woman, and child.
As it was discussed in the previous post, SDG #2, the fashion industry is now relating more and more to chemical waste and pollution. Among the many things that self isolation has taught us, one is that our priorities, especially those pertaining to material objects (i.e. clothing) are shifting, it makes us acknowledge that the pre-isolation amounts of consumption did not equal happiness. Therefore, it is obvious, to us at least, that we don't need the massive production mechanisms we currently have in place to live a fulfilling life. More so, we don't need the twenty different sports apparel brands, the thirty different brands of shoes sitting in our closets, and the 100s of textile and manufacturing companies which endanger our world by continuing to use non-sustainable practices to provide us with stuff we don't actually need.
Nonetheless, we live in a society ruled by consumers and a concept that happiness comes with the purchase of the latest shoes or the newest cell phone. It is extremely difficult to abandon those deeply embedded habits.
Once something is deeply ingrained in our culture, how can we promote sustainable change? How can we alter all of our personal goals, achievements and the burst of emotion that we feel when we purchase something new? Is it possible to break these habits which serve us in terms of instant gratification and move towards something that can provide us and our families for generations to come long term happiness, which could stem from saving our planet?
But let's face it, we are confronting a monster, ruled by those who put money on a pedestal, what can we do? We are just 7.5 billion humans, what can we do?
The thing is, if we could turn to sustainable clothing, we would be giving safer measures to those in charge of producing them. We would then contribute to the efforts of reducing air pollution,lead to the reduction of less chemical waste, and prioritize the health of our workers, who currently are exposed to chemicals and facing major risks to their health and wellbeing.
The fashion Industry is the second most contaminating industry in the world, it is responsible for using more than 100.000 synthetic chemicals and nearly 70% of that then trickles into the water. It is estimated that 20% of chemicals that are located in rivers and oceans come from the fashion industry.
The Devil wears Prada, no doubt.
With adding a level of sustainability to the clothing and textile industry, health becomes a factor in production. And if we are able, to reduce just a bit of waste in our water, that would decrease illness caused by dirty water, that could potentially save lives.
If I were to tell you, that by not buying the latest name brand shoes until they were to implement more sustainable practices, you would be providing a heightened level of health to the production workers and clean water to those who need it, would you still buy it?
To shed some light on the technical aspect of the process: to produce a single pair of blue jeans. Just one, a company needs between 2.130 and 3.078 liters of water. (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid)
Imagine, said John Lennon “We hope you will join us, and be one, together as one.”
Some questions to ponder at home:
Why do I need clothes that I know I will wear only once?
How can I change, even if only in small measures, and help someone else?
Author: Hernan Pacheco
Edited: Hailey Matarese & Alondra Magana HxN Collaborators
Espino, A., 2020. Rios De Tinta, Contaminación Textil | Revista Circle. [online]
Ecoembes, Revista Circle. Available at: <https://www.revistacircle.com/2018/03/05/rios-tinta-las-huellas-la-industria-textil/> [Accessed 13 May 2020].
Ecoembes, Revista Circle. 2020. ¿Cuántos Litros De Agua Se Necesitan Para Fabricar Unos Vaqueros?. [online] Available at: <https://www.revistacircle.com/2018/10/17/cuantos-litros-de-agua-se-consumen-para-fabricar-unos-vaqueros/> [Accessed 13 May 2020].