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Consciousness Has Power

posted by Olivia Muniz

karenna gore hugKarenna Gore—in addition to being an author, a journalist, and an alumna of Harvard and Columbia—is the CEO of the Center for Earth Ethics (CEE). The CEE works to change people’s mindsets and raise awareness about issues involving world ethics. Their vision is: "A world where value is measured according to the sustained well-being of all people and our planet." Their mission:  "We work to cultivate the public consciousness needed to make changes in policy and culture that will establish a new value system that is based on this vision of the world."

Plenty of students and faculty from LIM College had the privilege of being in a video call with this powerful woman, and a lot was learned. Ms. Gore claims that what is needed most during the current pandemic is leadership, and I agree. People who should be leading communities and countries have stepped back, so the general population is responsible for keeping a hard situation as controlled as possible. She also believes we need to strive for ethical laws to protect the most vulnerable: poor and marginalized people, future generations, non-human life. Some ethics laws Ms. Gore feels must be created relate to control of vehicle emissions, implementation of renewable energy, carbon emission taxes, environmental justice awareness, and rights to free clean water.

Something also discussed in the virtual conversation was how today’s society does not think long-term enough, something that would really help us move forward. Therefore, we must do our best to make people stop thinking short-term. Some tips Ms. Gore gave us to help realize that goal are:

- Turn lights off when not in use.
- Don’t throw food away.
- Don’t use single-use plastic.
- Switch to renewable energy.
- Advocate for change.
- Have forgiveness for self, but maintain intention.

Ms. Gore talked about how industries must decarbonize as soon as possible, something we also learned in our Sustainability class at LIM. Toxic waste from factories impact and lower the quality of life of nearby communities, which is a process named "slow violence." This connects with the current pandemic because the bad quality of life leads those more vulnerable people to be more susceptible to illness.

My favorite quote from the meeting was "consciousness has power," which is very true. Even if someone still has not started implementing ethical actions into their daily routine, having the knowledge is an amazing way to start. Ms. Gore said she thinks technology can both help and harm her work, but that she is surprised at how activism is working so well.

Talking to this leader was super inspiring and made me even more motivated to spread awareness and help those in need, especially at this time. In my opinion, it's important to understand social justice and ethics and consider these issues when creating and making action plans for the future of fashion / product brands. Everything one does impacts the world, environment, and communities in some way. Therefore, if companies focus on doing the best they can to improve aspects of their supply chains, the world would be a better place.

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Topics: fashion industry, guest speakers, social responsibility, classes, sustainability, Sustainable Fashion