Randi Glazer is quite aware of the good intentions of consumers as they make decisions with regard to clothing purchases and vacation destinations. In the majority of these instances, consumers will try to thoughtfully consider the environmental impact of their decision while also accounting for their own budgetary limitations. This is where things tend to go awry, Glazer points out, as many consumers simply fail to consider the long-term implications of their purchases relating to both travel and clothing.
From an economic standpoint, consumers tend to favor clothing that is relatively inexpensive and is within the budget they have set for themselves. If the inexpensive clothing carries a “Fair Trade” designation or is made from eco-friendly fibers or fabrics, then the consumer is likely to walk away feeling as though they have made a positive contribution to worldwide sustainability efforts without having to go beyond their pre-set spending limit. From an intuitive standpoint, this seems like a rational perspective, but there is a much better way to go about selecting clothing while generating long-term savings and reducing the carbon footprint of the textile industry.
The problem with purchasing low-cost clothing is that it tends to be of relatively poor quality and therefore does not last very long. This means that the textile industry has to produce a greater volume of clothing to meet consumer needs, while the consumer has to repeatedly purchase new clothes to replace those that have become worn out. The more ideal option is make a greater initial outlay for high-quality clothing made from materials likely to hold up even under the stress of frequent use. This is likely to seem counterintuitive at first, but it should be clear that the benefits are based on adopting a long-term perspective.
The same is true for air travelers, as paying a greater rate for a flight that uses a form of biofuel as opposed to traditional jet fuel is the better choice in terms of meeting the goal for reducing carbon emissions, not to mention the fact that there is a very real cost when it comes to flying with an airline that keeps its prices down by maximizing its volume of passengers per flight. Whatever is saved on the flight will be surely be lost as a result of the need to spend time recovering from a cramped and restless flight.