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If climate change sends us back to the 70s, would that be so very bad?

Stressed youngsters might well enjoy a less commercial society, writes Clare Hobba. And Alice Munnelly questions the Met Gala’s green credentials

Isle Of Wight festival, 1970.

Isle Of Wight festival, 1970.
Photograph: Rolls Press/Popperfoto

Your article describes Bill Nye, the children’s science presenter, getting justly angry about climate change (Bill Nye: ‘The planet’s on fire, you idiots’, G2, 15 May). But today’s children are not the first generation to have a sharp awakening to our violation of the environment – pollution was a major concern for youngsters of the 1970s.

As a child, my cultural heroes were environmentalists. The Wombles recycled rubbish, singing: “Pick up the pieces and make them into something new / Is what we do.” Bagpuss was an expert in thrift: “We will fix it like new, new, new,” sang the mice. As a teenager, instead of buying new, I embraced the 1970s revival of handicrafts and made my own leather bags, floaty skirts and bead jewellery. Cars were a rarity and I travelled by bus, bike or on foot and got to know my neighbours.

Reducing our carbon footprint could take us back to the 1970s. But would that be completely bad? Today’s stressed youngsters might well enjoy the benefits of a less commercial society. After the anger, there may be space for a better way of life.
Clare Hobba
St Albans

Commentary on the Met Gala (Fab-u-lous! The campest Met Gala ever, G2, 8 May), fashion’s most exclusive evening, touched upon all but one aspect of the event: environmental impact. The fashion industry is a major contributor to climate change; its carbon footprint exceeds that of international flights and maritime shipping combined. The UK government’s recent report on fast fashion makes a fitting and appalling comparison to the carbon footprint of all EU member states (3.5bn tonnes). The dyeing, finishing and washing of clothes also generates excessive water waste.

The crisis in materials as well as changing consumer sentiment makes me question the role of renowned events such as the Met Gala in curbing climate change. The pinnacle of slow fashion – wherein ideas typically take nine months to materialise into a single product – may seem an odd method for changing the throwaway culture of fast fashion. However, the Met Gala’s role in fostering creativity to heights generally considered extravagant should be seen as the ideal platform for innovation. Competing ideas for how to green glamour at the level of high fashion, which can more readily assume risk, would pave the way for the gradual adoption of more sustainable methods by the wider fashion industry. The 2019 Met Gala carpet was pink. The case is overwhelming for next year’s carpet to be green.
Alice Munnelly
Athlone, Co Westmeath, Ireland

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