Stephanie Dillion, climate change artist, plus Citizen-T. Indigenous female engineers bring solar power to rural Belize, and listeners’ call to action!
Stephanie Dillion–Climate Change Artist, Citizen-T, Indigenous Female Engineers Bring Solar Power to Rural Belize, Listeners’ Call to Action!
STEPHANIE DILLION, CLIMATE CHANGE ARTIST
Stephanie Dillon is a Twin Cities, MN–based many-medium artist. According to her website, Dillon drives reinvention as regeneration. By reviving discarded items, recycling art to bring new beauty to each piece and painting on mediums such as upcycled clothing and furniture using a variety of creative techniques, she interrogates and rejects the idea of disposability.
Dillon wasn’t always an artist. Her first career was in supporting other artists. But she had an epiphany during a 2016 diagnosis of breast cancer. Of it, she says, “It’s like a whole sustainability parachute fell open over my head during that time. Our lives are finite, and we need to think about what we create, how we craft our lives.”
Her art challenges consumptive ideas that permeate our society. Based on the concept that it’s going to take all of us to save the planet, Dillon focused on the waste found in fast fashion. That’s why she founded Citizen-T in 2020, during the pandemic.
Citizen-T is an apparel company which involves practically zero manufacturing by sourcing clothing and other items from landfills and features the work of a number of artists in various collaborations. Dillon speaks of second life, more life, opportunities to serve other people and the planet. She is also a member of the Rolling Stones Culture Council.
According to the company Citizen-T, it takes over 700 gallons of water to produce a single t-shirt, and 64% of clothes produced each year are discarded. That equates to about 21 billion tons. So multiply 21 billion tons by however many tee shirts go into a pound and you come up with as much water as it takes to fill 37 Million Olympic swimming pools of water. What a waste of water. That’s why Citizen-T was founded by Stephanie Dillion, a climate change activist and artist.
At Citizen-T, they take deadstock, shelf pulls, retail returns and gently used apparel and convert them into pieces or wearable art… from T-shirts to jackets and everything in between, according to the website.The mission of this Minneapolis-based group is to dramatically reduce water consumption by the fashion industry by over 1 billion gallons annually.
Its other mission is to transition the fashion industry from fast fashion to slow fashion. Slow fashion encompasses an awareness and approach to fashion that considers the processes and resources required to make clothing.
Citizen-T recently partnered with Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and his Janie’s Fund. She created a t-shirt for Janie’s Fund with the objective that all proceeds would go directly to the charity. The project raised $60,000 in five days.
That high visibility led to a recent investment in the company by Evie Evagelou of Fashion 4 Development (F4D). F4D promotes social change through the fashion industry. The goal is for Citizen-T to partner with other not-for-profits to create t-shirts with messaging that builds awareness
INDIGENOUS FEMALE SOLAR ENGINEERS BRING POWER TO RURAL BELIZE
Three Mayan women solar engineers are installing solar energy systems in rural homes to contribute to sustainable development in the small indigenous communities in the Southern District of Toledo in Belize. Ms. Florentina Choco, Ms. Miriam Choc and Ms. Cristina Choc, who received training from the Barefoot College in India build and repair small household solar systems;
In just one village, the women were able to power 25 homes benefitting over 150 people, as well as a school. The Government of Belize has committed to a future of 100% renewable energy for these communities by 2030.
Their work is being funded in part by the GEF’s Small Grants Program (SGP). The GEF Small Grants Program was established in Rio De Janiero in 1992. It was created to provide financial and technical support to projects that conserve and restore the environment while enhancing people’s well-being and livelihoods, thus demonstrating that community action can maintain the fine balance between human needs and environmental imperatives.
Why does this work matter to us? It’s an example of indigenous female leadership in sustainable practices. “The UN Development Program estimates they’ve helped avoid 8 tons of carbon emissions.”
DEEPER DIVE: SGP
THE CLIMATE DAILY LISTENERS CALL OUT CHALLENGE
Recently, one of our listeners shared her story of how listening to the climate daily helped her deal so well with her climate change overwhelm, that she got out and started working with the local community based group. Then she challenged us to ask you all to share any stories you might have of how listening to the climate daily might have inspired you into action, so we can share them with the world.
Remember, we’re all about sharing stories of people taking positive action to combat climate change. And that’s you listeners. You can hit us up on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter at #wetheclimate or Jeffrey at The Climate dot org or Maude at The Climate dot org, also.