#48. How can a T shirt make a difference to the world?

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The fashion industry is named the 2nd dirtiest industry accountable for an environmental issue to our Earth: Pollution.

When we think of pollution, we envision coal power plants, strip-mined mountains and raw sewage piped into our water sources. Who would have ever thought the t-shirts on our backs contributes as a harmful impact to earth? The overall impact the fashion industry has on our planet is irreversible.

Maybe we can start by understanding the life cycle of a T shirt. The product life cycle shows the stages a product goes through over time in relation to how it makes its economical and social contribution to the society.

There are 5 major stages in the life cycle of any piece of garment: material, production, shipping, use and disposal. According to a UK study published in 2009 the material, production and transport phases of one t-shirt weighing approximately 6 ounces produced in India uses: 700 gallons of water, .22 pounds of fertilizers, .01 pounds of pesticides and 1.2 pounds of fossil fuels.

The material stage it alone involves farming, irrigating, fertilizing, harvesting and ginning. China, India and the US holds the title of the world’s largest producers of cotton and accounts for nearly 75% of its production. While cotton is a natural fiber and not as harmful as man-made polyester, the production phase intermediary adds on as wastage and pollution.  Farming also means that there is a huge amount of water and pesticides usage.

Following the harvest of the material, spinning, knitting, wet process, bleaching, dyeing, confection, cutting and sewing is all part of the production stage- the process consumes an extremely enormous amount of water and energy. Bleaches and commercial dyes used during the process also harmful pollutants with presence of sulphur, naphthol, vat dyes, nitrates, acetic acid, soaps, enzymes chromium compounds and heavy metals like copper, arsenic, lead, cadmium, mercury, nickel, and cobalt and certain auxiliary chemicals all collectively make the textile effluent highly toxic.

After the production of the T-shirt, it enters into the transportation stage into the distribution channels and can travel by air, land and sea, spilling pollutants into the ecosystem. Studies show that clothing distribution accounts for 10% of the global carbon emission footprint.

Once the garment enters into the retail stores and purchased, it enters into the used stage. Taking into consideration, the water and electricity combined together used during its life cycle, it too becomes a form of wastage and additional source of pollutant to our water source.

Entering its final stage of retirement, the garment goes into the disposal stage. According to the U.S. EPA in 2014, over 16 million tons of textile waste was generated,. Out of the 16 million, 2.62 million tons were recycled, 3.14 million tons were combusted for energy recovery, and 10.46 million tons were sent to the landfill.

The latest fashion trends fascinates many and we all need new clothes once in a while. But maybe reusing and recycling or even buying from sustainable sources can help to save the earth. Replacing the worn out rag with a piece of old clothing, instead of  throwing your old clothes which might probably end up in the landfill, donating your old but usable clothes to textile recycling organisations.

Or even shop responsibly and support companies that does sustainable clothing lines that has either environmental or social ethical principles behind to their brands:

EVERLANE

Besides a leader in sustainable apparel, Everlane is also radically transparent about their pricing. Check out their latest #LoveYourUnderwear campaign highlighting the use of real cotton in the underwear line for both men and women.

Shop them here: https://goo.gl/25C3fe

REFORMATION

Leonore Top

With stores located in California, New York and Texas, the label clothing line repurposed vintage clothing, use rescued deadstock fabrics and renewable plant material.

Shop them here: https://goo.gl/uB13au

PATAGONIA 

An American clothing company that sells outdoor clothing since 1973, Patagonia uses recycled polyester in many of their clothes and only organic, rather than pesticide-intensive cotton used.

Shop them here: https://goo.gl/yJRHwJ

ADAY

Based in New York, the label carries a  line of simplicity designed outfits where many of the label’s clothes are made from recycled materials.

Shop them here: https://goo.gl/gERLvi

Basics for Basics

Located in Hong Kong, the label clothing line is made from organic fabrics, produced in fair trade factories in India.

Shop them here: https://goo.gl/V39JHj

Transcend Wear

eco-friendly bikini swimwear

Need a new set of bikini for your upcoming summer break? Transcend’s swimwear bikini’s are made from regenerated fishing nets, carpet and other nylon waste. How cool is that!

Shop them here: https://goo.gl/xBySX6

The Root Collective

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If you’re a shoe-aholic like me, try Root Collective, with every purchase you make you create jobs for people who need them.

Shop them here: https://goo.gl/qPMqjr

So shop less or go green the next time when you shop. Green is the new black!

Reference:

http://edition.cnn.com/specials/living/tshirt-lifecycle/2012/index.html

https://ed.ted.com/lessons/the-life-cycle-of-a-t-shirt-angel-chang

https://www.ecowatch.com/fast-fashion-is-the-second-dirtiest-industry-in-the-world-next-to-big–1882083445.html

https://www.thebalance.com/textile-recycling-facts-and-figures-2878122

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ethical-clothing-brands-you-probably-didnt-know-about_us_59e61300e4b0a2324d1dfa71

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#47. Because when it rains, it pours.

raindrops-3216607_1280 (1).jpgIf you need time to focus with nature- https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/63qps2UseM4TTaciTdeK59

When it rains, it pours.

A saying to describe unsettling events that occurs one after another within a short burst of time.

A pessimist will only feel depress as time pass with each event but an optimist will choose to dance in the rain and experience a different adventure, a new learning, a self discovery. Life is pretty much like a seasonal change.

The moon orbits the earth and the earth orbits the sun. The world seems to be in a turmoil at times under the assault of the moon and its seasons. With each passing moon, the recurrent seasons changes and displays a storyboard of human life.

Spring is a breathe of fresh air, the season of new beginnings where the birds perched on the old gum tree chat merrily in their conference. Easter bunnies scramble among the garden, hunting for chocolate eggs hidden under the garden stones to prepare for Mad Hatter’s tea party.

The golden crisp of the sunshine sends Summer, the best boyfriend to make wonderful memories in flip flops along the long sandy beaches. Strolling along the sandy white beach hand in hand together while in toned silhouettes, sun kissed skin, bikinis, board shorts, sunblock, a book in one hand and a coconut in the other.

Mother Nature sends in its magical coloring platter on a rustic Pantone code display before she strips him bare of its wonderland crown of green. Autumn is like a symbolization of time to be still and reflect as the last brown leaf fall to its grave of dirt and prepares Winter for invasion. At times,you can’t help to stare at the bare fact and feel slightly depress and question “What’s next?”.

The spine chilling, Winter sent Olaf to freeze Sir. Time and forced the kingdom to write his story of misery and sufferings before he got thawed. Like every fairy tale in any magic kingdom, snow is unravelled and ready to welcome and repeat the Spring cycle again. The next happily ever after is always just round the corner in Spring.

Each season reminds us to include a little of everything.  A hopeful Spring brings opportunities. An energetic Summer motivates you to go further and faster. Awareness Autumn chase you down memory lane reminding you to slow down. Cruel Winter reminds you that amidst the harsh environment there is still kindness.

So when they say “When it rains, it pours.”, tell them the story about the orbiting moon that orbits the earth and how the earth love the sun so much that it orbits the sun in her own pace while the season changes in a repeat mode and happily ever after is just a door away.

Dance in the rain today! 🙂

#46. Try a new sport and gain a new life lesson

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Out of an astounding 8,000 and counting sports in the world, how many have you tried?

18 was my number and that’s only 0.2% out of the 8,000 sports in the world. With 365 days a year and 8,000 sports available, it might take one 21 years to complete the list.

Besides nurturing a healthy lifestyle, learning new sports also taught me different valuable life lessons.

  1. To conquer your fear and keep moving forward

My first encounter with sports was at the age of 5. I remember my father coming home one day with a training bicycle that was a little taller than me. He picked me up and placed me on the seat and asked me to start pedaling. The next moment, I remember pedaling and crying, screaming at the top of lungs asking my father how do I stop the 4 wheeler. He never answered me but laughed and maybe for a good 5 to 10 minutes, I was pedaling aimlessly in the openness till I toppled over after striking the bushes. His rationale was that I had to conquer my fear and to keep pedaling and pick myself up and try again if I fall. Over the years, I grew bolder, cycled faster and even ventured onto the busy roads until I got into a car accident when I was 10. That accident took me off the wheels for a year before I regained confidence to ride again.

2.  Stay calm and focus to seize the right opportunity

After entering primary school, I was exposed to other sports and got selected into the table tennis and badminton club. For every table tennis training, you’ll see a bunch of  9 – 12 year olds doing the same repetitive move, everyone had to complete 3 cycles of 100 continuous hits (up and down) before we were allowed to train at the actual table tennis table. The teacher’s logic? It trains you the art of “staying calm and focus”. The game of table tennis is played within the perimeter of a table that measures approximately 9ft by 5ft. Trying to serve the ball back to your opponent within such a surface area requires you to stay calm, focus and swift to response. If you panic or lose focus, a slight angle error of your bat can send the ping pong ball flying in the wrong direction and ending the game.

Badminton training was my favourite. It was the most popular sport in school and I remember having to queue in line in order to play the “survival” game. You stay within the 44ft rectangular court, serve the ball back and forth until one of you fail to catch it and then you move to the back of the queue and wait for  your turn to play again. Yes, some may think it’s a game of relay but if you are fast enough, you should be able to spot a gap or your opponent’s weakness and send the shuttlecock over in lighting speed giving him no time to react. The sound of smacking the shuttlecock across the court gave me a sense of empowerment; especially if my opponent didn’t manage to catch the lighting bolt. It also came with a discipline set of training of endurance, starting with running around the court, shadow playing and silent footwork training, moving left to right in strides or up and down with our rackets.

3. To acknowledge your fear and come back with vengeance

Swimming was also mandatory in primary school but I never overcame my phobia of swimming after drinking gallons of water from being pushed into the pool by my classmates. Although, I’m comfortable in the waters snorkeling with a life jacket on but secretly, I’m also hoping that one day I’ll be able swim and learn to surf in Hawaii or dive into the waters of Maldives without a life vest. That’s one bucket list item I would love to complete.

4. The beauty of working with others and the key to success is through teamwork.

Volleyball, netball, floorball, softball, soccer, basketball and ice skating rolled into my teenage years. My favourite was volleyball and it is played within a 59ft by 29.5ft court with 6 players on each side of the court. To me, it was like a big chess game where each player had a defending role to play. Bruises came along with the sport, from learning techniques to serve , spiking the ball and physically flying across the court to catch the ball before it lands on the floor.

Soccer was the scariest among them all because I vividly remember getting hit by one at full speed in the stomach . It was the most upsetting feeling ever, it was like someone pulled my guts out. Netball was a little like basketball; minus the jumping while you were trying to shoot the ball into the loop. Dribbling the basketball for me was the hardest thing to master, it took me many many many hours of practice to be able to dribble and bring it across the court. Softball was really exciting especially if you send the baseball flying across the field and hit the homerun.

5. To trust yourself and trust others to do their job

Stepping into young adulthood and having the facilities in school made it easier to learn tennis, squash, roller-blading and rock-climbing. Tennis was a test of my stamina and your battery can literally be flat within minutes if you have poor stamina. Playing squash was a good form of stress reliever; a rubber ball and racket and you’re ready to beat the whack out of the wall. Roller blading involves alot of screaming and falling over and picking yourself up in the initial stage of learning. So you just have to keep trying to find your balance. Rock climbing was a game of trust; you have to learn to believe your belayer, the chap who is holding on to your safety rope.

6. Living life to the fullest

Travelling opened the door of opportunities to try a variety of other sports. The most extreme was skydiving, an experience I will never forget but probably will never try again. Skiing was the most fun and memorable because it gave an adrenaline rush and was also my first time seeing a mountain full of white fluffy snow. Planning to find a chance to visit a ski resort again and maybe this time round to try a new sport- snowboarding!

So what’s on your list to try?

Reference:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sports

#45. Slow down while you catch up in this fast pace society.

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In today’s fast moving society, we are all striving to be ahead of times or even striving to be ahead of others. Many of us can be so caught up in this desire to have what we want when we want it and take shortcuts in order to continue this chaotic life.

However, is it clearly sustainable to maintain a fast pace lifestyle? Is the idea of speeding up fed by fear of FOMO, the fear of missing out? Is it also a self destructing addiction?

Sadly, it creates a whole set of different issues which can be socially destructive. The growing culture of the inability to be patient, mindful, polite and impulsiveness has slowly creep into society. All these might just set us to be constantly and perpetually impatient. Your internet fails to load within light speed and waiting for a few seconds got you impatient. Is that how you feel most of the time?

Sleeping lesser and working longer is the norm now. Multitasking should be highlighted in our CV as the main skill set to highlight how efficient we are in moving things fast. Social media, online shopping and even fast meals has taken over most of our lifestyle now. We stop calling or texting our friends and grew accustomed to check in on our family and friends about their lives through social media. It became a faster option to read up about your friend’s life because within minutes you can get to know him “better” and what he has been up to for the past 1 year.

Retailers are striving to survive by placing in omichannel shopping on both online and offline retail experience, if not they might be just be another case studies like the “Toys R Us” legacy. Even restaurants and cab hailing apps are constantly seeking ways to cut down the booking or waiting time, in order not to lose another customer or  receive another complain letter.

Being in this hyperconnected mode sounds like a danger sign especially if the day comes when internet and wifi is being wiped out. NO CONNECTIVITY AT ALL and you’ll have to slow down. Will that kill you?

Slow down folks.

Enjoy the slow time and think about the bigger picture.

Reference:

https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/style/2013/02/01/the-growing-culture-impatience-where-instant-gratification-makes-crave-more-instant-gratification/q8tWDNGeJB2mm45fQxtTQP/story.html

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2005/sep/28/comment.guardiansocietysupplement

 

 

 

 

 

#44. How would you react when you meet a nasty person?

Life has its mysterious ways of placing situations or people in our lives to nurture us to be a better person. For example, we meet all sorts of people everyday from all walks of life. The spectrum of characters range from awesome, wonderful, mean, nasty to the “unforgettable”.

There’s one question I ask myself before I have to meet someone new, whether if it’s at an interview, at a social gathering, or at a meeting.

How should we react when we meet a nasty person? A stranger, a colleague or even a friend?

Do you be as aggressive as the nasty? Slam your file on the table and start shouting? Or do you remain calm but assertive at the same time while trying to process the right words to put your point across. For me, I choose the latter. You can agree to disagree.

Nonetheless, preaching is always easier said than done.

Here’s my take:

1. Heart over mind? Or mind over heart?

Are you quick to react based on your feelings or process before you speak? Always remember the power of speech and envision the impact that very word or sentence will have on a person. Imagine telling your 3 year old kid on Christmas Eve, Santa is an imaginary figure, how would he feel? He’ll probably lose that Christmas spirit of giving, sharing and love for the rest of his life.

2. Being assertive and firm but not rude?

Imagine you’re at an interview and your potential future employer said something nasty. How would you react? I’ll be upset that’s for sure. But maybe let’s see it as a form of a test. A test to see how you’ll react if you face nasty people in such situations during work.

My take? To remain assertive and firm without sounding rude but provide sound examples to support your answers.

Do it with an open mind.

3. Being polite.

You might think that being polite ain’t necessary when you’re dealing with nasty people. But do not be overcome by their negative energy. A simple polite gesture can actually help you to stimulate your happy cells just by saying something positive. Or at least you remember your manners! Eg. Thanking your interview panel for their time even if it was the most unpleasant. Blessing the stranger with a good day if they shove you to get in the train. Thanking your business partner for taking time to meet even if nasty comments were exchanged. It’s pure business. Thanking your friend for the nasty feedback. A honest friend will give you the most brutal truth because they care about you ( I hope?).

4. Being compassionate.

The most effective response to meanest is to be compassionate. Where there is meanness, there is often pain, both in the unkind person and for the person on the receiving end. Picture this, maybe the nasty person just happen to have a rough day? It might not be the best excuse for the nastiness but it helps to lighten mood and not go into the vicious cycle of meanness.

So walk yourselves away from nasty episodes and find purposeful reasons to be nicer in life.

Cheerios to life!

#43. Global vision through the lens of Google Trends

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If Google was a toy, it’s probably be a matryoshka doll.

There are probably a handful of tools under Google that you haven’t heard of or used before. It’s like the nesting doll that you’ll have to take it apart and explore them one by one. Especially if you have a specific issue in mind to solve and one of them I chanced upon was Google Trends.

I was researching for articles on e-commerce trends and a couple of articles on Google Trends popped up. Google is widely used by the world, a platform where we ask every single possible question instead of turning to our family and friends for answers. It’s like my Google is more trustworthy than my sister or my dad? Think about it, it’s kinda sad isn’t it, “Daddy is less trustworthy than Google?” Food for thought.

Back to the topic,  Google Trends is an underused and under-rated tool that many of us can actually benefit from. So, if I were to think that Google is a massive encyclopedia of questions and answers, it should pretty much collect information based on the frequency it was being ask? Or even maybe it can be used to detect the level of anxiety or interest level from fake news?

Google Trends was adopted in 2008 and turning it into a more sophisticated system by merging Google Insights for Search into Google Trends in 2012.

And how I think individuals or businesses can adopt Google Trends:

1. Real time data analytics as a form of entertainment

Since data is collected every second and minute, businesses can actually use the data such as ie. the latest hot topic within the country or globally to curate their content for social media. An additional social media listening tool that we can tap into, for real time listening.

2.  Monitor your brand and spying on your competitor

Tracking how you fair in the marketplace as compared to your competitor by using Google Trends data report allows you to track your brand health and assess if you’ll need to innovate or to reinvent based on the analysis. And best to also understand more about your competitors and to learn what they are doing right.

3. Building a more robust SEO

A more targeted search on topics, geographical location, time zone, duration of period are fundamental categories that we can use to build in a better SEO strategy. What might be popular at the North Pole might not be entirely applicable to the Sahara desert! Use it as a tool to check your blind spot when you go down into the details. It’s beyond thinking about longtail keywords that you should be using in your SEO strategy.

It’s either I’m not well versed or in sync with all the old and current products/ apps/ functions that Google came up with to empower businesses/ individuals or simply the ecosystem of Google is still like an alien to many. Maybe a Udemy Google Series might help?

Try Google Trends.

Maybe you can start with trending what was the most popular topic during the year you were born. It’s always fascinating to know something you never thought of asking. Stay curious!

Reference:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/paularmstrongtech/2016/04/01/why-your-business-should-be-using-google-trends/#67272da48268

http://www.techadvisory.org/2014/04/the-benefits-of-google-trends/

https://ahrefs.com/blog/use-google-trends-local-keyword-research/

https://www.wordstream.com/google-trends

#42. Black mirror? For real?

Is this for real?

This episode of Black Mirror well portrait a First world issue.

And to think it might actually a social credit system in China by 2020 to promote trustworthiness? Just plain madness.

My sister called it quits with social media a few years ago due to a bad breakup. It kinda gave her a sense of peace. She delete hundreds or maybe

https://www.facebook.com/trtworld/videos/2070957729841039/