De-Influencing: What is it, and could it work?


Makenzie Matthews-Beard

The answer to reversing climate change just might come from the influencers of TikTok.

If you haven’t been under a rock lately, you’ll have noticed all of the new TikTok trends making their way to teenagers- especially fashion-related ones. Since the beginning of the pandemic (roughly around March 2020), there has been a notable surge of demand for online clothing sites like Romwe and Shein, which both use very cheap, unhealthy materials to produce their clothes such as nylon and polyester. These synthetics are both non-biodegradable and create large amounts of greenhouse gases such as nitrous oxide. 

There may have been countless times when you’ve spent your money on a product and decided later that you could’ve gone without it. You’re not alone- recently, environmentalists have been using their social media platforms to discourage certain products that they’ve found to be a waste of money. This is called “de-influencing.” Whether it is picking up the habit of thrifting rather than buying from fast fashion companies, using bamboo toothbrushes rather than plastic or buying washable trash bags, innovative new environmentally-friendly products are popping up everywhere- and typical, morally questionable ones are fading away. 

These product swaps are done to lower one’s ecological footprint, a measurement of the amount of resources used for personal living. Using biodegradable or recyclable products is much better for the planet than most alternatives, which often use excessive amounts of fossil fuel burning.

TikTok user @julianadeliberais is one of several green influencers, with videos teaching viewers how to reduce food waste, clean glass jars for keeping, and repair items rather than replace them. She currently has 11k followers.  

A lot of people tend to believe, however, that even if you lived a 100% waste-free lifestyle, your efforts would still not be effective enough to make a change, and that the responsibility lies on huge scale companies such as Shell.

Some environmentalists don’t think this is the case: Many claim that while billion-dollar companies are the main driving force behind global warming, they would still not be able to make a profit without the people’s demand. 

The belief that humanity needs to act urgently on the matter of climate change, however, seems to be undebatable amongst most scientists. 

You can visit the following websites to learn more about living an eco-friendly lifestyle.