Through the Rustic Pathways Climate Leaders Fellowship, Amita Akshinthala from Plainsboro created a project focused on problems related to cheap, fast fashion. She also is addressing wider issues, including labor practices.
The fellowship, offered free of charge by the Rustic Pathways Foundation and the Stanford University Deliberative Democracy Lab, challenged students like Akshinthala to design a project customized to their community’s needs and then join in online sessions with other participants to share ideas.
“I wanted to do something that would affect the youth in my community – so people my age and people in my grade,” Akshinthala said.
“When I chose to make a website for fast fashion, I thought about how many people in my generation and other generations buy from fast fashion brands and how harmful that could be not only to the environment but also economically and from a human rights aspect.”
She did a school presentation and created a website that looped in the environmental club to spread the word about the problems with fast fashion.
Akshinthala admits it is a tough sell with teens since fast fashion is cheap and often allows young people to follow certain fashion trends.
However, she plans to continue her efforts in the fall, including writing about it for the school newspaper.
She also hopes to spread the word beyond her local community.
The next round of the fellowship program will soon be underway for another group of high schoolers, running from October 10 to December 9.
The application deadline is September 25: https://rusticpathways.com/young-climate-leaders-fellowship
Photo from Rustic Pathways