There comes a point when you realize that there is more to life than just oneself. There is higher cause, a bigger mission and a connected universe. In this realm, we become aware of our every action, our thoughts and the rippling effect it has on the immediate, the near future. It is at this stage in our awakening that we feel within our hearts that we are part of a whole and that our ability to respond to any situation can make a difference. With any opportunity, we have a choice to impact the future by Paying it Forward – with our voice, deeds, actions and money – and in doing so we invest in Humanity and the Circle of Life.
Discovering the making of “The True Cost” documentary is no doubt one of those opportunities where I know we all can be part of a force that will shift the thinking on the future of fashion. It is the start of a journey that will slowly unravel how we connect the dots between our choices as a consumer and that of the material world; the resources we use for our daily lives and its impact on the people involved in creating the goods we mostly take for granted. Ultimately, this project will take on a momentum as people pay it forward and stories are shared, solutions are discussed and hope is regained in creating a sustainable future.
Andrew and I continue our conversation on this remarkable project that’s bringing awareness to the global scene of apparel, commerce and its impact on our children’s future.
Dhana: How will this documentary affect children all over the world?
Andrew: Our actions today are forming the future world our children will inherit tomorrow. This film is about the opportunity we have in this critical moment to alter the way we produce and consume clothing to create a better future for our children moving forward.
Dhana: What is your view on fast fashion?
Andrew: Fast fashion is the term used to describe a type of supply chain that in most cases rewards irresponsible behavior on the part of the brand as well as the consumer. The idea of the true cost, is that there is a greater price being paid by people and places around the world then we have acknowledged. When you begin down the path of understanding the true cost of an item, it begins to unravel a fascinating story and it raises a lot of new and needed questions. Those questions are at the heart of this film.
Dhana: What message would you like to share with kids as it relates to this documentary?
Andrew: When children look at the world they see it with a sense of limitless possibility. I hope that this film serves to ignite that hope filled desire to make this world the very best home it can be for this and future generations.
Dhana: Where are you finding inspiration for your work?
Andrew: I’m inspired by the many brave men and women who are giving their lives to this work. Every day I get to talk with these people from all over the world. There is something special happening in this moment; an entirely unprecedented shift is beginning to take place. That’s inspiring!
Dhana: We believe you are “Paying It Forward” with your film – do you agree?
Andrew: I just feel so honored to tell this story. We are standing in a history defining moment here, the ground beneath us is shaking and change is truly underway.
It’s not very often we find an opportunity to align ourselves with a project that is making significant strides in the global community and poised to propel a global conversation. It’s true that we all have clothes as a common denominator and so perhaps just like technology and the web that’s allowing the convergence of shared thought; the threads of life will be celebrated by Paying it Forward.
Join the movement and Pay It Forward: The True Cost
A few weeks ago, I met Andrew Morgan, a filmmaker working on his new project in response to the Rana Plaza disaster which claimed over a thousand lives and created a ripple effect in questioning the future of fashion. What captivated me about Andrew Morgan is his deep quest to know the truth – how did we get here and why?
I asked Andrew, a father of four to reflect on his journey in this interview –
Dhana: As a parent, how do you like this movie to have an impact on the future of our children?
Andrew Morgan: I have always loved the old perspective that we only borrow the earth from our children for a short time. What we do now directly impacts the future. We are standing in a fundamentally new space in history where we can see the impact we are having on people and the planet in real time. So the true question before us now is, in light of this information what kind of world will we choose to create and leave to our children?
Dhana: How have incidents like that of Rana Plaza tragedy impacted you and how you shop for apparel?
Andrew Morgan: Rana Plaza was the event that completely shocked me awake. Up until that time I honestly had no idea of just the extent of the problem we are facing. That event and the tragic loss of life set me on a course of learning that lead me to begin work on this film.
Dhana: What do you hope to discover in your journey of making this documentary “The True Cost”?
Andrew Morgan: I hope to learn. This is not a topic I understand fully by any means so this film really is an honest exploration. I hope to learn more about the human effects of big economic ideas in the lives of everyday workers. I hope to encounter the causes and resulting effects of irresponsible care for the planet. After months of learning about these things I am eager to experience them first hand.
Dhana: Do you think consumers have the right to demand from brands transparency in the supply chain and to what extent do you feel information should be shared with the public?
Andrew Morgan: Transparency is the way of the future. Consumers are already demanding more and more from the companies they buy from, but the flip side is they also are strongly reward companies who openly share good supply chains. I believe that trend will continue, again we just have much more access to real time information today than at any other point in our history.
Dhana: Understanding that you are also looking for solutions and ethical brands making a difference – how optimistic are you about the future?
Andrew Morgan: I am very hopeful. We have a long history of opening our eyes to even the most complex problems and creating solutions. As I have been with pioneers and leaders around the world, I see people who are leading us forward in brave and beautiful ways. This is not the beginning; it is simply building to a true tipping point moment. This is a truly remarkable moment, and I believe there is a growing group of committed citizens who will seize it well.
Andrew and I share three things in common: parenthood, purpose and passion. We believe that our kids deserve a better future – one that is built on integrity, trust and justice for all people. We’re driven to make this planet a better place for future generations to come and one that is sustainable.
Andrew’s mission to create a documentary about the “True Cost of Fashion” has started conversations to fundamentally alter how we think, buy and shop for clothes. We believe that every consumer has the ability to vote with their wallets and use their voices to create change. Collectively we will impact the lives of millions and that of generations to come by making a difference in the choices we have today. The future is on sale – let’s invest mindfully!
Show your support for Andrew Morgan and Impact our Children’s Future – Back This Project — “The True Cost”
To watch the trailer: The True Cost Documentary
We are very excited to be a part of the sustainable fashion world’s hottest new event – Green Steps Media’s 1st Annual Fashion Night – next October 22nd in Los Angeles, CA.
Green Steps Media is the publisher of Natural Child World and Natural Pet World, and is hosting the event in partnership with UNICEF’s NEXT Generation.
Dhana EcoKids will join a number of other designers, including American Outfitters, Stella McCarthy Kids, Sara Blaine on the runway. We’ll be showcasing some of our most popular Spring/Summer fashions, as well as offering a sneak preview of our Fall/Winter collection scheduled for release in 2014.
We can’t say just who, but we’re told there are likely to be more than a few celebrities in the audience, as well as top stylists, designers, and fashion trend setters. It will be fun to see who shows up! (Be sure to visit Dhana EcoKids on Facebook if you’d like the inside scoop as the event unfolds.)
We are thrilled to announce that Dhana EcoKids has just received the Silver level of Green Business certification from Green America!
Formerly Co-op America, Green America is a nonprofit membership organization based in the U.S. that promotes ethical consumerism, including social justice and environmental sustainability. They are one of the most trusted green business certification organizations in the United States, and offer three levels of certification, Bronze, Silver, and Gold.
Even though Dhana EcoKids has embraced green and socially fair business practices since the beginning, Green America certification is stretching us to think about and, in many cases, improve every aspect of our operations, from our policies to our supply chain.
Next step? You guessed it – we’re going for gold! We’ll keep you posted!
All kids love to spend time in nature, climbing, exploring, watching ants and birds, and just plain kicking back and being one with their environment. But did you know that nature is so important to their health that it could even be thought of as a nutrient – a nutrient for which many children today are increasingly at risk of deficiency?
As documented by Richard Luov’s 2007 book, “Last Child in the Woods,” our current generation of children suffers from a condition that has come to be known as “nature deficit disorder.” Due in part to decreased time spent in outdoor free play, and increased time spent with electronic devices such as cell phones, handheld gaming devices and the internet, observable trends over the past several decades include:
• Increase in ADD and other attention disorders
• Increase in childhood obesity
• Changes in brain structure, including a similarity to the brains of heroin addicts in children who text frequently
• Increasing rates of childhood anxiety and depression – suicide is now the leading cause of death amongst U.S. college students, according to a 2011 study
• High rates of risky behavior amongst teens, including unprotected sex and alcohol and illegal drug use
Outdoor, hands-on educational and enrichment activities and exposure to nature are a proven antidote to these negative trends, according to research at the University of Illinois and other institutions. Similar findings about the benefits of arts activities are well documented.
Nature and arts related activities, including “exposure to ordinary natural settings in the course of common after-school and weekend activities” have been shown to:
• Reduce attention deficit symptoms in children
• Reduce stress-related behaviors
• Improve grades and school performance
• Reduce risk of depression
• Encourage creativity and a sense of stewardship of nature and community
10 Tips for helping your child connect with Nature
Shamini Dhana, founder and CEO of Dhana EcoKids, is pleased to offer these ten fun ideas for helping you and your children get your daily dose of Nature:
1. Make Nature a habit – schedule time each day to go outside and see what’s new in your backyard.
2. When possible, walk or bike when you’re going somewhere. The exercise and fresh, outdoor air will rejuvenate your bodies and spirits. Younger children usually love to ride on their parent’s back or in a bike trailer or trail-a-bike. It’s a great family bonding experience and saves energy, too!
3. If you have a zoo or botanical garden in your community, invest in a family membership. It’s a cost effective way to take frequent visits and the nature experience won’t be marred by a feeling of pressure to “see it all at once.”
4. Talk to your child about how he or she comes from Nature and is a part of it. The book “You Are Stardust” by Elin Kelsey is a beautiful introduction to this concept for young children. Myths and legends from indigenous peoples around the world are also winners.
5. Plan family trips around activities in nature. Camping, beach visits and spelunking are all popular choices.
6. Encourage your child to draw, paint, write, act, or sing about their experiences in and observations about nature.
7. Let your child help you pick a non-profit organization to donate to that is helping protect and preserve Nature. As a company, we’ve chosen 1% For The Planet, but there are lots of great ones out there. Follow their activities throughout the year to learn about real-life conservation successes you’ve helped make possible. For hands-on involvement, choose a group with a local chapter.
8. Create a piece of Nature Art that is recycled and can be sold at a charity event, fundraiser or even make it a gift for a loved one!
9. Start a Nature journal with your kid. Record the things you discover in Nature as well as any observations and highlights of the day. Include sayings and quotes about Nature that you come across which spark an idea or resonate with your child. These activities help reinforce the Beauty of Nature!
10. Keep your child’s at-home environment as natural as possible. Include living plants as part of your household décor. Use natural light when you can. And don’t forget that your child’s largest interface with her environment is her skin. Clothing her in natural, organic apparel that lets her skin breathe and doesn’t expose her to toxic chemicals is a fun and easy way to keep her feeling great!
How does your family enjoy connecting with nature?
So much of what we do, say and think is not only a reflection of who we are but also of how we perceive and connect with the world around us. I am often reminded of how reality intrudes into our beings and the life we lead by the simple gestures of Mother Nature.
We do not control much of what we experience. In fact, we are more at the mercy of how life unfolds, and the the invisible hand that works through our daily lives. However, what control we do have, we share a common ground with mankind. And so, it does matter when given a choice.
To experience Life is to ‘Live Life’ with all its complexities, connections and color. To realize that we are a community at large, living in a world that shares a common purpose which is to “enjoy the ride” on this adventure called Life! For in the end, it is the experiences and the memories that will far out way the impact of the material during our last breath. These experiences will take the form of people we meet along the way, the memories of moments cherished so dearly, and the lasting impressions of time spent in nature and with loved ones.
We are the reflection of our choices and the experiences we encounter in this world.
We are connected through these experiences and we are just like our neighbor looking to ‘Live Life’ - We’re Wearin’ the World!
Just ponder for a while…..a 5-day vacation along some of the most breathtaking views on Earth. Pedaling down the California Coast, through the Avenue of the Giants amongst Redwoods, visiting some of the most sustainable establishments, meditating on the immense Beauty and indulging in conversations so riveting it excites the senses beyond belief! Yes, that’s how I would characterize Climate Ride – a Soulful Journey that promises to nourish the Being!
It is not often that one gets an opportunity to marry physical activity, work, fun, philanthropy and combine it with nature and passionate folk. Climate Ride is one such event that does just that and more. One of the highlights of Climate Ride is the people. One such person is Blake Holiday, Ride Director and someone that has been in love with the bicycle since he was a kid riding on his blue beach cruiser. To know Blake Holiday is to treasure wit and wisdom packaged with a bolt load of entertainment and fun factoids. Blake takes center stage with his ever so gentle nudge to get you going, psyched for the next day, leaving you wanting more……… yes, Blake is our cheerleader! In this video, Blake shares his highlights and the future of Climate Ride.
Curious about Climate Ride? It’s not a race. It’s a commitment. A commitment to do your very best and only you will be the judge of that. Climate Ride is for anyone who is remotely interested in the issues of climate change, sustainability and supporting a good cause. There are many of us who are willing and able to share our experiences including what it takes from a training perspective to bikes, food, logistics, equipment and more – feel free to reach out! Additionally there are informational gatherings taking place all across the US – get connected!
I’m convinced if people got onto their bikes and gave events like Climate Ride a chance, we would have a more environmentally aware community. We’d get to know the incredible work being done to protect and preserve Nature, we’d think twice about our connection to the planet, our contribution towards a sustainable future and we’d revisit the brands we choose from food to apparel in our everyday life. After all, it’s the simple things that lead to small steps and significant solutions. Pedal on!
Climate Ride events are the one and only national charity sporting events dedicated to sustainability. As both founders Caeli Quinn and Geraldine Carter will attest to “Climate Ride is the hub of the green movement”.
I asked Geraldine point blank in this video “Why do Climate Ride?” at last year’s California Climate Ride in September 2012 and her message was loud and clear:
- Climate Change is an important issue that we all need to be working on
- Applying ones skills set to make an impact can be very fulfilling
- It’s a fun thing to do, get people together and have a good time whilst supporting an important cause
Pedal on People!