Jazlin McDowell, Solidaridad intern
As a Solidaridad intern with SAF this year, the big issue that was revealed to me was heat stress. Concerns about the health and safety of working populations have grown as global temperatures and heat waves continue to rise as a result of climate change. Among farmworkers, heat stroke is the leading cause of work-related death. These health and safety issues could be mitigated by having a heat standard. Only California, Oregon, Washington, and Minnesota have heat-standard laws that are meant to monitor heat and protect workers from the risk of heat illnesses.
Until heat standards are put into place, one effective strategy to lower body temperature and prevent heat stress is by wearing more breathable clothing. With SAF, I was able to participate in collecting toiletries and long sleeved t-shirts to support the cause. We donated these items through the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Program's t-shirt drive to the Episcopal Farmworker Ministry located in Dunn, NC to give out to farmworkers. Donating is a selfless act. Being able to give back to those in need helps you achieve a greater sense of personal satisfaction and growth; it feels good to help others. Not only did it make me feel good, but it also helps the environment. When clothing decomposes in landfills, it releases harmful greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere. Making new garments also consumes hundreds of gallons of water, and the manufacturing of new textiles accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions. If you give your garments for reuse, you can avoid all of these problems.