Why organic cotton is the only choice for a sustainable future.
Traditional cotton is one of the most toxic crops on the planet.
Let’s face it, regular cotton is a fraction of the price of organic, but when we looked into it, there was no way we were willing to go that route. Mainstream cotton and/or GMO cotton is one of the great evils of the environment. Non organic cotton, uses mountains of pesticides and oceans of water.
Mainstream cotton crops endure the third highest pesticide use in the US after soy and corn. Monstanto-produced GMO cotton (known as BT cotton )was developed to address this issue by producing an insecticide that kills off its major pests, but the pests have shown early resistance, and most of those GMO crops are now also routinely doused with pesticides with disastrous effects on both land and farmers (often poor third world families). According to the World Health Organization up to 20,000 deaths each year are caused by pesticide poisoning in developing countries. And that doesn’t include the cost to fish and wildlife…
Why use organic cotton?
Organic cotton has all the benefits of mainstream cotton, and GMO cotton, without the serious downfalls.
- Organic cotton is pesticide free! With the amount of pesticides used in mainstream cotton production, it would seem impossible to grow cotton without it. Not so! Organic cotton farms use healthy resilient soil to bolster crop health. If they need to bring in the big guns, they use vinegar, garlic, neem oil, and hydrogen peroxide…really.
- Less potable water use. Organic gardening practices use less “blue water” in their crop growth, relying more on grey water, and water recycling. In 2013-2014 organic production of cotton found a 91% reduction in blue water use, saving the equivalent of nearly 95,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools of fresh water compared to non-organic production according to the Soil Association.
- Genetic diversity. With organic gardening practices, seeds are developed slightly differently in every region. Seeds are collected and stored, and the strongest strains continue to develop and grow. With GMO production, more of the world uses only ONE type of seed. That means that if that crop ever fails, for any reason including some kind of pest or disease that has yet to develop, it could be a disaster. The more genetic diversity the better…for everyone.
- Fair trade. With organic cotton there are far more options for fair trade directly paid to smaller local farms.