No, I’m not talking about Oprah! Although, we love her too!
You probably already know that cotton is most widely used crop in the worldwide textiles industry. Among the largest producers of cotton are China, the United States, India, and Turkey. However, along with the increasing demand for this crop come many heavy environmental consequences. A huge portion of these eco problems arise from the farming and harvesting of cotton as well as the manufacturing of cotton fabrics. In line with these growing global concerns, a healthier and greener alternative to clothing is making waves today – organic cotton!
What is organic cotton, anyway? If you have heard about organic veggies and meats at your local grocery store, then the same environmental principle applies with organic cotton. It has been a reported trend that farms today are going “green” with their agricultural practices, and in a way, giving the environment a break from all the toxins it’s been taking in over the years. Organic cotton is farmed in the most ecological way, without the use of harmful pesticides, genetically modified varieties, or synthetic chemical fertilizers.
Why should people opt to go “green” and choose organic cotton? Because cotton is a very in-demand crop worldwide, there is a huge dependency for farmers to use newer irrigation methods, diesel fueled machinery, as well as unnatural chemicals, herbicides, and pesticides to keep their cotton crops growing. Even in the tilling method for cotton farming, a significant percentage of land is eroded into the water systems, as reported by the Journal of Environmental Quality. The loss of soils poses a huge problem for many ecosystems. In Australia, environmental reports also mention that the massive amounts of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers used in cotton farms contribute highly to greenhouse gases. With the farming of organic cotton, however, these issues are avoided.
Organic cotton farms do not use artificial irrigation systems, and their crops are rain-fed. This greatly aids the efforts to conserve water, as well as reduces the risk of chemical leaching from irrigation systems to rivers and lakes. Also, organic cotton is harvested by hand, thereby removing the need for heavy machinery that use petroleum and that emit tons of carbon dioxide.
Another plus side of organic cotton is the issue of health safety. Since these fibers are all-natural, they are the best choice for baby’s clothing. As a matter of fact, even the farmers who work with organic cotton are kept away from health risks, as they are not exposed to toxic chemicals and noxious gases in their work place. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating here: The cotton needed to make just one regular (non-organic) cotton t-shirt requires almost 5 ounces of carcinogenic pesticides! That’s what you’re putting on your kids’ backs each morning!
There are alternatives now. There are many shops that sell organic cotton shirts, pants, linens, and other products. Some people would admit that the emerging fashion trends of today are leaning towards the “green” side. This can be seen from major global brand names promoting organic cotton such as Nike, Nordstrom, Wal-Mart, Patagonia, Marks and Spencer and many more. Reports claim that the demand for organic cotton is expected to drastically increase over the next few years. One can only begin to imagine how good this will be for the “green” movement.
So you see, cotton can do more than just be a soft material that feels good when worn. All around the world, massive environmental efforts in terms of farming for cotton and other crops are underway. Organic cotton, and green clothing will not only make you look good, but will also make the earth feel good, too. When you make a move to support organic cotton, you also give the environment more room to breathe, today, and for many generations to come. That, probably, is the best thing about wearing “green”!