Why Organic Cotton Products

Creating a Demand for Organic Cotton
By Annette K. Scott

Organic Cotton

Choose Organic Cotton Products

Buying is voting. The implications (and potential for discussion) about this piece of truth are endless. It is a fact that we are, by nature, consumptive beings – our very survival requires many external resources to “fuel” our lives. But because it is inevitable, that doesn’t mean that it should be done willy-nilly. Rather, the challenge is to do so with awareness so that it might be done in alignment with one’s overarching priorities and values.

Now sometimes making a well-thought out and weighted decision can be incredibly complex, potentially confusing and perhaps even time intensive. But deciding to buy organic cotton is easy. And here’s a short list of reasons why:

1. Organic cotton is grown without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. It is important to know that conventionally grown cotton is globally the #2 most heavily sprayed crop (behind coffee) and it’s #1 in the US. In fact, about 25% of all pesticides used in the US are applied to cotton. Globally, about 10% of all pesticides are used on cotton. In California, five of the top nine pesticides used on cotton are known carcinogenics. This endangers farm workers’ health and contributes to environmental degradation.

2. More than 75% of all the cotton grown in the US is GM (genetically modified) cotton. While there may be some that think the jury is out on whether GM crops are an issue, current research is indicating that we are in grave danger of unintended harm to other organisms, a long-term reduction in the effectiveness of pesticides, gene transfer to non-target species, increased allergic reactions in humans and that doesn’t even touch the topic of the yet unknown consequences to our environment, other plants, animals and humans.

3. Oh, and those pesticides (see #1 and #2) don’t just land on crops. They make their way into our groundwater, which is drinking water for 60 percent of Americans. And here’s the kicker about that – an April 21, 2011 UC Berkeley study just substantiated a link between OP (organophosphates {read pesticides}) levels in a mother’s blood and her child’s IQ — the result? For every 10-fold increase in OP’s found in the mother’s blood there was a 5.5 decrease in her child’s IQ by age 7! (See my quick video on this study on YouTube)

4. And you can help prevent suicide. Yep, suicide. India, the second largest global producer of cotton (China and the US being 1 and 3 respectively), has been experiencing large numbers of conventional cotton growers resorting to suicide when they find themselves too far in over their heads in debt to the GM cotton seed companies.

It is worth knowing that GM seed, unlike organic, can’t be harvested and saved for planting in the following year. And, GM seed, while being more expensive, is not effective against many cotton pests, and so still requires some spraying. The result is a crop that is more expensive to bring to harvest and a big yearly seed bill.

At least 17,368 Indian farmers killed themselves in 2009, and while it would be inaccurate to say that all those deaths were cotton farmers or that it was singularly due to the debt that farmers had to the companies that sold GM seed, it would be equally ridiculous not to look at the correlation.

Creating a demand for organic cotton can change the world – yours and others (and don’t stop at just thinking about humans – think water, plants, animals, birds, bees and bugs and so on). And, yes, organic cotton is more expensive — raw cotton’s cost per pound is only 25 cents more for organic than conventional, but the organic market is still small, so it lacks economies of scale – that is until enough of us vote for it through our purchase of it.

For more information visit, www.annettekscott.com

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