Climate change is real and it will take a concerted effort by everyone to reverse its effect. So on the one hand, I applaud Italian Vogue’s attempt to reduce its carbon footprint for the January 2020 issue. But the solution – to eliminate photographs in the issue – seems a bit misguided. Editor-in-chief Emanuele Farneti wrote in his note to readers:
“One hundred and fifty people involved. About twenty flights and a dozen or so train journeys. Forty cars on standby. Sixty international deliveries. Lights switched on for at least ten hours nonstop, partly powered by gasoline-fuelled generators. Food waste from the catering services. Plastic to wrap the garments. Electricity to recharge phones, cameras …”
The New York Times reports that frequent fliers taking more than 6 trips a year account for two thirds of aviation emissions, and flying is one of the most carbon intensive activities by individuals. The reduction in air travel, then, is commendable.
But Farneti’s solution reeks of a gimmick because it’s a one-off solution, not a sustained effort (and it’s not like The Wall Street Journal isn’t helping the environment by using hedcuts). The elimination of photos might help to raise awareness, but it will most certainly not materially alter the effects on the environment. Better solutions might include:
- Hiring local talent to reduce the need for travel
- Using non-exotic locations
- Eliminating one issue per year thereby reducing consumables (paper, ink) and transportation (trucks for delivery)
The fashion industry (particularly fast fashion) encourages consumerism at a comical pace. The elimination of photos is a non-serious solution, even if the lovely illustrations provide a welcome departure.
Cover art: Cassi Namoda (left); Vanessa Beecroft (right)