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Project Details

Project dates
01/06/2024  – 01/06/2024
Ottawa, Ontario

Brittany MacLean

Project Lead

In a world where overconsumption fuels environmental degradation and often ends up in our oceans, being conscious of our consumption patterns becomes increasingly crucial.

Project Description

In a world where overconsumption fuels environmental degradation and often ends up in our oceans, being conscious of our consumption patterns becomes increasingly crucial. With the global jewelry industry valued at nearly $290 billion annually (fuelled by the availability of cheap, low-quality, easy-to-replace pieces), the need for sustainable alternatives has never been more pressing. My project redefines style sustainably, offering handmade jewelry crafted from recyclable materials (glass beads!) that are made to be recycled at the end of its (long) life cycle in environmentally friendly production processes.
Rapid jewelry consumption has dire consequences for ocean health, including habitat destruction, water pollution, and marine debris. The extraction of precious metals and gemstones involves destructive mining practices that release toxic chemicals into waterways, contaminating marine ecosystems and endangering marine life. Additionally, certain jewelry production processes, such as coral harvesting, directly harm coral reefs, vital marine ecosystems. Overall, the environmental impacts of rapid jewelry consumption exacerbate existing pressures on oceans, jeopardizing their health and resilience. I wanted to make a change.

Each piece of jewelry addresses these concerns and embodies a commitment to the circular economy, promoting durability and recyclability while minimizing carbon footprints. By challenging the status quo of unsustainable extraction and exploitative labor practices prevalent in the industry, I strive to inspire conscious consumer choices and promote a shift towards responsible fashion. Empower your style with mindful choices – each purchase counts. Do your part in curbing overconsumption, one conscious decision at a time.

What was your biggest challenge?

My most significant challenge was navigating the complexities of promoting sustainable practices in an industry dominated by fast fashion and disposable trends. In a world where instant gratification often takes precedence over long-term environmental impact, convincing consumers to prioritize sustainability can be extremely difficult. Many individuals are accustomed to the convenience and affordability of mass-produced jewelry, and convincing people, (especially young, financially dependent teenagers) to change their ways is an uphill battle. Nonetheless, I found that awareness and advocating for the impacts that every individual can have on the environment and the ocean was instrumental. By highlighting the detrimental effects of rapid jewelry consumption on marine ecosystems and emphasizing the importance of sustainable alternatives, I aimed to inspire conscious consumer choices.

What was your most valuable takeaway?

My most valuable takeaway from this experience was the realization of the power of individual actions in effecting positive change for our oceans and the environment. Despite the challenges of promoting sustainability in an industry dominated by fast fashion and disposable trends, I discovered that every small effort counts towards making a difference. By advocating for sustainable practices and raising awareness about the impacts of rapid jewelry consumption on marine ecosystems, I witnessed firsthand the transformative potential of education and advocacy in inspiring conscious consumer choices. Many people are unaware of the consequences of their actions.

Furthermore, I learned the importance of persistence and resilience in pursuing a cause that aligns with my values and passions. Through perseverance and determination, I was able to overcome obstacles and make meaningful strides towards fostering a more environmentally conscious mindset among consumers, something I am personally extremely passionate about.

Ultimately, my experience with this project reinforced the belief that each individual has the power to contribute to positive change, and that collective action towards sustainability is essential for safeguarding the health and resilience of our oceans for future generations.

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