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Stephanie Dickson, founder of Green Is The New Black Asia

When Stephanie Dickson landed her dream job straight out of college, she thought she had it made.

She had fantasized her whole life about working in fashion and, suddenly, she had a job that allowed her to do that, organizing some of the industry's biggest events across Asia.

But then one day the veil fell, and Dickson realized the job she had dreamed of was not what it seemed.

"I got my dream job," Dickson told CNBC Make It. "But about three and a half years in, I just became really disconnected with the work I was doing."

It was then 2015, and climate change was gaining increasing attention on the international stage. To Dickson's surprise, she found there was one industry lurking at the center of the issue: Her own. 

In fact, alongside commonly cited culprits like the energy, transport and agriculture sectors, the fashion industry is today considered one of the world's largest polluters.

"I felt completely blindsided," said Dickson, whose disillusionment led her to start watching documentaries and reading up on the issue. "I'd been working in this industry and I had no idea what actually was going on."

Read more: Meet the 30-year-old who quit her 'dream job' to help boost sustainability across Asia

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The mesmerizing animals appear to be thriving even as coral reefs suffer.

Feather stars, those 200-million-year-old creatures that look like something straight from the pages of a Dr. Seuss book, maybe the next kings of the reef. The plant-like animals seem to be thriving, even as other reef dwellers, like corals, are dying from warmer waters linked to climate change.

Angela Stevenson of the University of British Columbia has studied crinoids, a group of marine creatures including feather stars and sea lilies, for over a decade. She’s currently stationed in Negros Oriental, Philippines, where her team is observing and experimenting with the abundant feather star communities that live on the reefs offshore. (See mesmerizing video of a feather star swimming.)

This feather star is one of the eight species being studied by Angela Stevenson and her team in Negros Oriental, Philippines. PHOTOGRAPH BY ANGELA STEVENSON

Read more: In a World of Warming Seas, Feather Stars Might be Winners

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Grocery bags, water bottles, cling wraps, food containers, coffee stirrers and plastic straws — all these have polluted our lives one way or the other. REUTERS

Climate change. Greenhouse gases. Fish farms. Palm oil production. Pesticides. Overpopulation. Overconsumption. Plastic waste.

What do all these global environmental challenges have in common?

Read more: The last straw

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