Greta Thunberg Nobel Prize

Experts Say People Who Buy Greta Thunberg T-Shirts Are Contributing to Climate Change

Greta Thunberg fans who express their support for her by buying a T-shirt might be contributing to climate change – the very problem the teen activist is trying to stop.

A feature published Thursday by Fashionista explored the issue.

“Would you run a car for hours to protest climate change?” Rachel Kibbe, a “circularity and textile-waste consultant,” told the fashion blog. “Wearing a new cotton T-shirt to celebrate Greta, or to protest climate change, is the equivalent.”

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The garment industry is responsible for 8.1 percent of all global greenhouse emissions, Fashionista noted, citing an analysis conducted by environmental sustainability group Quantis.

That figure means the garment industry is guilty of emitting more greenhouse gases than the sum total of all international flights and maritime shipping trips.

“Most people don’t make the connection between clothing and climate change,” Elizabeth Cline, an expert on consumer culture and sustainability, told Fashionista. “But we have to remember that a lot of the environmental problems we are suffering through are caused by overproduction.”

According to the World Wildlife Foundation, it takes up to 2,700 liters of water to grow the cotton needed to manufacture a single T-shirt.

Meanwhile, a third of a pound of pesticides is required to make the cotton for one shirt, if it’s not farmed organically.

“T-shirts, particularly those with ‘heathered’ yarns of mixed colors, may contain polyester and other synthetic fibers, which are derived from crude oil and emit greenhouse-gas emissions from extraction to disposal,” Fashionista reporter Jasmin Chua explained in her piece.

But those facts haven’t gotten in the way of Thunberg’s ostensibly eco-conscious fans snapping up slogan tees that celebrate the 16-year-old Swede.

E-commerce website Etsy has seen searches for climate change-related products spike 421 percent over the last three months compared to the same period last year, according to Fashionista.

The increase in interest coincides with Thunberg’s relatively recent skyrocketing popularity.

“I can tell you that the Greta shirts have jumped up to one of our top-selling listings there,” Jeanne Allen, a marketer for Fourth Wave Apparel, told Fashionista.

For those Thunberg aficionados who simply must have a catchy climate change protest slogan emblazoned across their chests, there is a way to limit harm to the environment.

Some companies specialize in sourcing organic cotton to manufacture shirts, which makes the process “less detrimental” to the environment, according to Fashionista.

Those truly committed to the cause, though, eschew retail altogether.

Extinction Rebellion, a global environmental activist group with some ties to Thunberg, has decided not to sell merchandise.

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Using “new resources to make merchandise is sort of criminal,” one of the group’s members told Fashionista.

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