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New documentary exposes the true costs of the 'fast fashion' business.

"Fast fashion" brands that offer high fashion styles at a fraction of the price have become all the rage in recent years. But when you see what it really cost to put these clothing items on the rack, it becomes obvious that something needs to change.

New documentary exposes the true costs of the 'fast fashion' business.

They turn out fashions as quickly and cheaply as possible. But the workers behind your favorite brands are the ones who pay the price.

All images via "The True Cost."

Stores like H&M, Zara, and Old Navy have grown in popularity partly due to their low prices and ever-changing merchandise. In direct contrast to high fashion brands that only release new lines for the changing seasons, "fast fashion" brands stock new clothing almost every week. In order to pump out clothes at low prices, brands have resorted to low-wage garment factories in Bangladesh, where workers make just a few dollars a day. But the low wages aren't the only sketchy part of these factories.



The buildings themselves are extremely dangerous to work in. A 2012 fire at the Tazreen Fashions factory, which produced clothes for brands including Walmart and Sears, left over 100 people dead. And in May 2015, another 72 workers were killed when a fire broke out at a footwear factory in the Philippines. The culprit? Cramped buildings without fire escapes or fire alarms, barred windows, and dangerous flammable chemicals. In some cases, workers had been locked inside the factories to ensure no one left before their sometimes 12-to-14-hour shifts were completed.

But these aren't just scary working conditions. Some employees actually give up part of their measly paycheck in order to live in the factory. Pregnant women are often stuck working long hours without maternity leave. Others end up bringing their young children to work with them.

"The True Cost" gives us a firsthand look at the factory-working people behind our favorite brands while also proving that no outfit is worth a human life.

"The True Cost" premieres worldwide and is available for download May 29, 2015. Visit the movie's website for more details.

Image by 5540867 from Pixabay

Figuring out what to do for a mom on Mother's Day can be a tricky thing. There's the standard flowers or candy, of course, and taking her out to a nice brunch is a fairly universal winner. But what do moms really want?

Speaking from experience—my kids range from age 12 to 20—a lot depends on the stage of motherhood. What I wanted when my kids were little is different than what I want now, and I'm sure when my kids are grown and gone I'll want something different again.

We asked our readers to share what they want for Mother's Day, and while the answers were varied, there were some common themes that emerged.

Moms of young kids want a break.

When your kids are little, motherhood is relentless. Precious and adorable, yes. Wonderful and rewarding, absolutely. But it's a LOT. And it's a lot all the fricking time.

Most moms I know would love the gift of alone time, either away at a hotel or Airbnb or in their own home with no one else around. Time alone is a priceless commodity at this stage, especially if it comes with someone else taking care of cleaning, making sure the kids are fed and safe and occupied, doing the laundry, etc.

This is especially true after more than a year of pandemic living, where we moms have spent more time than usual at home with our offspring. While in some ways that's been great, again, it's a lot.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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