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Our Future In Sustainibility

Earth Day Reflection

Earth Day Reflection

“What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another,” (Gandhi).

The destructive practices of the last 2 centuries reflect this thought by Gandhi entirely. Technology has improved hundred-fold, but so has destruction to our planet, to what gives us the possibility of existence. Where did this ideology shift? Were humans doomed starting with the agricultural revolution, the moment humans gained control over the nature around them 15,000 years ago? What has shaped humans into the ideology that they are better than the creatures surrounding them?

My answer of choice to this question is addressed by one of my favorite authors, Kathleen Moore,

“Not approaching, not avoiding, the seals rose and fell gently on the swell, as I rose and fell, the soft sounds of our breathing a language we shared. What would make us human beings think we’re something radically different from the other inhabitants of the natural world? Or if different, what grand leap of logic or arrogance would make us think we’re superior?” (Pine Island Paradox).

I challenge any morally sound human to enter our national parks, to snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef, or to develop a relationship with any living creature and not ask themselves the same question. It's an overplayed narrative. But what makes us think we are of greater quality? How did we blow this ideology so out of proportion?

Sustainable practices are a journey.

We have entered a new era. Instead of nature dictating human actuality, we determine the actuality of nature for the rest of time. What humans do now matters more than it ever has before. And so far, what we have done has left our planet irreversibly changed.

But enough of sulking in what has occurred. Enough dwelling on what could have been. Enough accepting planet earth as a doomed apparatus.

Instead, appreciate the now we are in.

We are finally on our way to success. For the first time in human existence, our population growth has slowed down. We have developed reliable sources of renewable energy. Social impact is accepted as necessary, now more than ever before. The doors have opened.

So do what you can. Find yourself captivated, inebriated in what you can do to improve the world around you. Find ways to reduce your fossil fuel usage. Find ways to increase your consumption of local cuisine. Phase single-use plastics out your everyday routine. If we put ourselves into this issue through the contribution of individuals, we can converse it in the same fashion. A reverse tragedy of the commons. There has never been a better opportunity.

Surrounding myself with an amazing network of individuals at the University of Michigan has made me appreciate this generation more than ever before. I have met the most incredible people, all who understand the necessity of doing their part in making this world a better place. The cliché terminology of "changing the world" can be done. Everyone must do their part.

I am applying this philosophy to Oshki. To be an agent for change in my local environment and the impact I am seeing to the Great Lakes on a daily basis. But my favorite part about the intersection between sustainability and business is the ability to scale one person’s desire for change. Because without my customers, what impact could I make? I could do my part, but business allows an exponential impact to be made on the planet, both good and bad. I am eager to share my passion for the Great Lakes in a more meaningful way this summer as Oshki is set to become the first fashion company of its kind to use 100% domestic plastic waste in the production of all products, including a portion of the 22,000,000 pounds of plastic that enter the Great Lakes ecosystem each year. Our supply chain is shifting to being based solely in the United States, with all members receiving fair wages. Not many companies can say the same thing.

In addition, this earth day, 100% of Oshki sales will go to nonprofits working to preserve the Great Lakes. My customers determine the impact I can make and I am thrilled to broaden this impact through the power of business as a change agent.


Have a happy Easter and an impactful earth day.


Jackson 

Founder - Oshki



2019: Our Shift to Sustainability

2019: Our Shift to Sustainability

Founding Oshki was completed with the mindset that sustainability and preservation would be put at the top of the priority list no matter the circumstance. 

Since July 2017, we have continued to put out new products - donating 5% of proceeds to non-profits working to preserve the Great Lakes. Although our customers have enabled us to donate over $1,200 to these amazing organizations, the feeling that Oshki could do more as a company to produce items of the utmost quality and sustainable materials has pushed me towards working on a shift to sustainability as a brand. 

One of the most shocking realizations I have come to over the last few months is the detrimental effects the fashion industry has on the environment. A change is needed in the garment industry - where "fast fashion" has become the number 2 source of pollution on planet earth. A study done by the World Resources Institute revealed that the average consumer bought 60% more clothing in 2014 than in 2000, but kept each garment half as long. Taking into account that each cotton shirt takes approximately 2,700 liters of water to produce, the need for sustainability in this industry has never been greater. While most industries have become cleaner since the turn of the millennia, the fashion industry has regressed. 

With the help of the University of Michigan group OptiMize and personal research over the last 3 months - all Oshki products released in 2019 and beyond will be made of recycled plastic waste collected from the Great Lakes and other waterways. With the help of American companies Repreve and Recover Brands - this plastic waste is sourced entirely from United States water and land cleanups. The PET plastic waste is ground into minuscule pieces, which is transformed into recycled polyester fibers. The dynamic existence of these fibers allows limitless capabilities into what types of products are made from recycled plastic - giving a new use to otherwise useless material and keeping plastic out of the Great Lakes and beyond.

We will be doing a small sample run in January and February in partnership with Recover Brands before our eventual large product release. A project such as this takes time, but the customer support we have received over the last year and half makes it worth our time as well as the need for more sustainability in the fashion industry. I am excited for what is in store for 2019 and beyond. 

With love,

Jackson Riegler

Founder - Oshki LLC

Our Future in Sustainability

Our Future in Sustainability

After a few weeks of college education at the University of Michigan, some of my lectures have inspired me to seek a greater understanding of sustainability, the human experience, and what I have done with Oshki in its first year as a company. Research I have been doing on human GDP over time on Earth and our carbon footprint as a species has revealed to me a daunting truth about the future of this planet. Within my inquires, one sample of evidence seemed to catch my eye above all. Astronomer Carl Sargan’s “Cosmic Calendar” helps conceptualize human activity on Earth. In this calendar, 1 billion years is equivalent to 24 days, and 475 years is equivalent to 1 second. Using his model, the first humans appeared December 31st at 10:30 PM, and the Industrial Revolution occurred ½ second ago. The amount of time humans have walked this world in an economic landscape is so incredibly miniscule. This scale speaks volumes to me about our societies’ need for sustainability and laying a foundation for a better future.

Let me make one thing clear: I would have never launched Oshki without a greater motive/purpose of my work. I didn’t just want to launch an apparel company in a profit-only landscape. I believe that there must be greater purpose in “work” to live a satisfied and sustainable lifestyle. A way of life that makes you feel like you are making a difference every night when you go to bed - which is why I have pledged 5% of Oshki’s proceeds to organizations working to preserve the Great Lakes. There has to be some reason to wake up in the morning, and I have been able to identify from a young age that I want to spend the rest of my life making a positive change in the world around me.

Though I have been able to make my monthly donations to the Alliance for the Great Lakes, the West Michigan Environmental Action Council, and the Michigami Crossing - I often feel this profound desire inside of me for a greater initiative with Oshki. I want to develop Oshki to a degree where I can produce fair-trade certified, sustainable, recycled clothing with a reduced carbon footprint. I have developed these ideas over the last few months in detail and I am excited at the opportunity for Oshki to become a remarkably sustainable brand with immense social impact. I am working with a few University of Michigan initiatives to ensure the cultivation of these idea and I cannot wait for what is to come. Thank you to my supportive customer base at Oshki for making this development possible in the first place and stay tuned to what we have planned.


With love,


Jackson Riegler

Founder - Oshki