Fast fashion industry is a path to destruction, 12-year-old Children’s PM warns

The impact of the clothing industry on pollution, water, carbon emissions, human rights and gender inequality was increasing every day, added Harry Acheampong, 12.

“We need the fashion industry, but it must be sustainable,” he told the COP28 climate change conference in Dubai. “This industry is contributing hugely to the climate catastrophe.

“We cannot continue this path of destruction in the name of fashion. It is time we think of sustainability in everything we do.”

Some 93 billion cubic metres of water – enough to meet the needs ­ of five million people – is used by the fashion industry every year, contributing significantly to water scarcity in some regions.

Around 60 per cent of all materials used by the industry are made from plastic. At least 500,000 tons of micro-fibres are released into the ocean each year from washing clothes – the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles.

The fashion industry is responsible for a 10th of humanity’s carbon emissions – more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.

The interim children’s prime minister said: “It is time we appreciate that the planet does not belong to us; it has existed for more than 4.5 billion years and human beings are only its trustees. As such, we have great responsibility for looking after what is under our care.

“For millions of years, our forebears lived here and ensured it was passed unto us in a condition capable of sustaining next generations.

“The existence and quality of life of the next generation depends on the actions we take today.” The Sir David Amess children’s parliament, for youngsters aged seven to 11, is supported by the Daily Express in collaboration with Wakelet and Microsoft 365.

Sir David, an MP for nearly 40 years, was stabbed to death at ­ a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, in 2021.

Harry said: “I am just one of a billion children born since 2011 ­ on this planet, which now has a population of eight billion people.

“The climate change conference has become a yearly ritual where world leaders, climate experts and corporations meet to discuss the causes and the consequences of human activities on our planet and to draw up plans to tackle them.

READ MORE The search is on once again for the UK’s next children’s prime minister

“There is a problem and we do not have to look far to see or experience it. We are experiencing extreme weather patterns, floods worldwide, damage to marine ecosystems, ­

loss of biodiversity, damage to infrastructure and conflicts and climate migration among others.

“We now know that human activities have disturbed the balance or equilibrium that holds the planet together.” Harry also stressed the critical issue of water insecurity worldwide, emphasising the potential for conflicts and instability.

Ending his speech, he said: “Water insecurity is increasing worldwide. This raises the chance of competition, conflict and instability in our communities, leading to what I call water-induced migration.

“One will argue that there has not been a major conflict because of water, but that will come if we do not produce and use water sustainably.

“The importance of fresh water for our very existence cannot be over-emphasised and has the potential to form the basis of conflicts in any part of the world, especially here in the Middle East.”

Harry is stepping down as prime minister of the children’s parliament because he is no longer 11.

He has raised concerns over issues affecting the future, including artificial intelligence. This year he submitted a dossier on AI to No10, saying: “Young people will inherit the future that adults create today and therefore deserve a voice.”

FAST fashion is a major contributor to “climate catastrophe”, the prime minister of the UK’s children’s parliament said yesterday.

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