Never Underestimate the Value of a Conversation

I can be reluctant to talk about sustainable fashion outside of the blogging sphere. I think part of this reluctance stems from me not wanting evangelise to people who aren’t keen to hear what I have to say. For some reason I’ve always felt differently about writing online. When I write online, it is generally found by those who want to hear it, or those that don’t want to hear it can easily step away. I don’t need to feel like I am forcing my views on an unappreciative audience.

I think some of this reluctance to talk about this topic in person stems from my childhood as a vegetarian. I never tried to push vegetarianism on others,  but even the mention of my dietary status could be treated as an affront, and spur people to justify why they were not vegetarian, and why my family’s choice was wrong. This taught me that people often don’t want to hear about your ethical choices if they differ from their own. Another part of my reluctance to speak about sustainable fashion in conversation probably stems from my introversion. I tend to keep my views to myself, unless I’m in company that I know is interested in hearing my views.

But recently I’ve come to learn the value of a gentle conversation. That people are often open to hearing what I have to say about the topic of clothing and the environment. Last week I was invited to speak at the Canberra chapter of Green Drinks, on the topic of sustainable fashion. At that event I shared with the room that I was frustrated by how little attention the traditional environmental community paid to the impact of clothing. I then went on to share the range of alarming statistics associated with the textile industry and fashion, and then shared my hopeful message of change through consumer choices to both shop differently, and to reduce the way we consume. At the end of this event, a climate scientist (an older man) thanked me, and said how inspiring the message was. He told me “when you work in climate science, it is so easy to get overwhelmed when there is so little we can do as individuals. But I found this conversation so inspiring because there are clearly things that we can do to make an impact on this issue.” That one comment affirmed to me how important it is to have conversations, in person, in our community. That we really can make a difference in this issue. That we can find places to have these conversations- place in which these conversations will be welcomed.

Also last week, and young woman in the co-working space that I work from happened to tell me “Ever since we spoke about sustainable fashion a couple of months back, I’ve been totally obsessed and reading up on the topic. I’m completely converted.” The spark for that conversation had been a documentary series called War on Waste. One documentary, and one enthusiastic passing conversation with me about the topic, and we have another keen advocate for the issue of sustainability in fashion. It really shows you the value of a conversation.

We don’t always get these obvious pieces of feedback about the impact of our conversations. So when we do, it is important to take note of them. Never underestimate the value of a conversation. Even if you aren’t getting this sort of feedback at the moment. You never can tell just how much impact that one conversation may have.

What about you? Have you noticed the impact of any of your conversations lately? Share your thoughts in the comments at the end of this post. 

 

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