Stephen Will Weir
Stephen Will Weir, one of the speakers at this year’s TEDx Santa Cruz, spoke about the detrimental effects of “fast fashion” on our planet. (Contributed)

The TEDx Santa Cruz event on April 13 showcased remarkable stories under the theme, “Rising Together.” Among the speakers, Stephen Will Weir stood out with his profound insights into the detrimental effects of fast fashion on our planet. His speech enlightened and inspired action, prompting me to share the essence of his message and how it influenced my perspective.

Embracing Growth and Sustainability

Stephen, a global sustainability expert with Radar 2030 (radar2030.com), awakened me to the detrimental impact of our clothing consumption habits.

His mission and resources are to “help consumers understand and change the impact that we each have with our daily choices on the future for ourselves, our families and future generations. We all have the power to create a bright and healthy future by making smart everyday choices and stopping the waste and crazy consumption of plastics, fuel for cars, energy, and A/C in our homes, and buying cheap clothing and other consumer junk that is so rapidly destroying the natural world. Smart choices = brighter future.”

What is Fast Fashion? 

Google “fast fashion” and you will find it means “inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends.” I heard the urging for consumers to reconsider their daily choices to ensure a brighter future for future generations. His call for mindful consumption resonated deeply, highlighting the urgency of addressing rampant consumerism and its consequences.

Stephen’s talk shed light on alarming statistics, revealing the extent of our collective contribution to fast fashion.

“With 56% of people making weekly online purchases and 150 billion new clothing items bought last year alone, this translates to 21 items for every man, woman and child on this planet.” These numbers underscore the urgent need for a paradigm shift towards sustainable practices.

Championing Slow Fashion

Central to Stephen’s mission is his advocacy for “Slow Fashion,” a concept emphasizing mindful consumption and its positive impact on individuals and the environment. He believes that by promoting thoughtful purchasing decisions, we can create a brighter future while preserving our planet’s resources. His vision offers a tangible pathway toward sustainability, empowering individuals to make informed choices that align with their values.

Stephen’s journey as a TEDx speaker was both “exciting, fun and very challenging,” as he condensed a lifetime of work into a concise presentation. His commitment to clarity and action, supported by dedicated coaches and friends, exemplifies his dedication to driving meaningful change.

Navigating the N E W Approach

I gleaned, along with the audience, invaluable insights into addressing the fast fashion dilemma through his N E W approach: evaluating the Need, Eco-friendliness and Waste associated with each purchase. By encouraging conscious decision-making and fostering dialogue, we can challenge the status quo and embrace sustainable alternatives. Stephen’s simple yet powerful framework offers a practical guide for individuals seeking to make a positive difference.

Invitation to Action

I invite you to explore Stephen’s enlightening speech on TEDxSantaCruz.org, where his message resonates. His speech is at approximately 3:03:07 in the video located on the home page.

He ended his presentation by paraphrasing Margaret Mead, “I am certain 100% that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can find N E W ways to change the world…. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Stephen is straightforward and determined. He is “deeply connected to family, friends and community.” He not only believes he can make a difference, but he is helping us see how we can do the same. Thank you, Stephen.


Janet Janssen is a distinguished public speaker with Toastmasters International, a Life in Business coach, Leadership Santa Cruz County board member, SLV and SV Chamber member. Contact her at [email protected] or 831-335-0553.

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Janet Janssen is a Life in Business coach, public speaker, Leadership Santa Cruz County board member and SLV and SV Chamber member. Visit janetjanssen.com for upcoming events and presentations. Contact her at [email protected] or 831-335-0553.

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