Green Film Series shows students the ‘True Cost’ of their purchases

By Christian McCarville

Second only to the fossil fuels industry, the clothing manufacturing industry is one of the main contributors to global pollution. This may come as a shock to some, which is exactly why awareness of this topic is vital in reducing global pollution.

The Green Film series spread awareness through the showing of the film “The True Cost,” directed by Andrew Morgan. Similar to the previous Green Film event, the movie was shown to a virtual audience.

The film’s screening license and production company, Bullfrog Films, assisted in providing audiences with an ideal viewing experience.

“Bullfrog provided us a link to a ‘screening room’ that included the film, a chat feature and tech support for anyone needing assistance viewing the film from their device,” said Director of Sustainability Melissa Greenberg.

The film was shown on two nights, Oct. 13 and 14, both beginning at 7 p.m.

Following the screening, Greenberg invited viewers to a Zoom meeting where they could discuss the film with one another.

“The discussions were interesting and inclusive. Everyone that participated was moved by the film’s subject matter,” said Greenberg.

The premise of the film involved the director, Andrew Morgan, traveling to many locations around the world and observing the process of manufacturing clothing. In each case, it is revealed just how damaging the industry is to the environment.

“97% of the clothes we buy in the United States come from other countries, with most of it coming from factories in poor areas with underpaid garment workers and an enormous amount of pollution in the surrounding towns or villages,” said Greenberg.

Junior TV, film and radio major Kelly Phillips commented on the shocking reality of the clothing industry’s negative effects on the environment.

“It is honestly shocking that the clothing industry is so hurtful to the environment,” said Phillips. “This will definitely make me think twice about the future purchases that I make.”

The first step in making a drastic change is to first acknowledge what needs to be changed. In this case, the film acknowledges that the clothing industry is incredibly damaging to the environment. The next step is creating a plan as to how this change can be achieved. Greenberg explained how the film provided the ways in which an average consumer could reduce the environmental impacts of the clothing industry.

“The film revealed a lot that we as consumers can do,” said Greenberg. “The biggest thing is to stop buying clothes we don’t need just because they are cheap. They are cheap for a reason and the more we buy into this type of purchasing, the more we perpetuate the problem.”

It is vital, as consumers, to understand the implications of a purchase. While cheap clothing proves to be cost-effective for the buyer, the purchase ultimately isn’t worth the damage it causes to the planet.

“Look at the labels in clothing before buying it, know where it’s coming from and how it is made,” continued Greenberg. “It’s worth it to do a little research and support clothing manufacturers that use organic, non-GMO materials to produce their clothing. We can also feel good as consumers if we support companies that pay their workers a decent living wage rather than those that don’t.”

Supporting these sustainable brands takes away the incentive for clothing and textile factories to mass-produce their products. The consumer holds much more power than one may realize. Lowering the demand for products that damage the environment will ultimately lead to more sustainable practices in the clothing industry.

“There was a powerful line in the film that has stayed with me — ‘We, as customers are in charge. If we don’t like it, if we don’t like how it’s produced, we don’t have to buy it!’ The Green Film Series can introduce subject matter that will bring awareness to our audiences, as well as anyone they discuss these issues with, to help them become better global citizens,” said Greenberg.

Learning about the environmental impacts of the clothing industry is essential for consumers to acknowledge how their purchases can hurt the world around them.

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