planning for the next generations.

good morning!

i am lucky enough to have a sweet guest post today by shelley mirriam, science student and writer for masters in environmental science.

i asked is she could research cotton for me.  i know a bit about cotton and its effect on the environment, but i'd like to know more.  especially because i'm really excited to start making yoga clothes from hemp and organic cotton.

we as consumers need to start demanding sustainable products, especially in a big business as wasteful as the fashion industry.

i know the awesome brand 7th generation uses this quote already, but i kinda like to use it as my own personal motto for purusha:

"in our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations." -- the great law of the iroquois confederacy

awesome huh?!

so without further adieu, here is the super informative lowdown on cotton and the future of textiles:

5 Reasons We Should Search for Alternatives to Cotton:

Those cotton clothes may be comfy, but they can actually be harmful to the environment. While it is used to make everything from jeans to unmentionables, it can also be hard on the land, air, water, etc. And there are alternatives to it. To help give you a better understanding, we have gathered five reasons why cotton is not sustainable for a healthy environment.

1. Pesticides – Did you know that five of the pesticides used on cotton in the United States are classified by the EPA as Category I and II, which are the most dangerous? They are cyanide, dicofol, naled, propargite, and trifluralin. In addition, about 25% of all insecticides used each year are used in cotton growth. Check out this report from EcoChoices to learn more.

2. Water – Unlike other alternatives, it takes a lot of water to grow a crop of cotton. According to Treehugger, it takes 400 gallons of water to grow enough cotton for one t-shirt and 1,800 gallons for one pair of jeans.

3. Chemicals – Tons of chemicals go into the growth of cotton. In fact, in the U.S. alone about $2 billion’s worth of chemicals are sprayed onto cotton crops every year. Half of these chemicals have been deemed hazardous by the World Health Organization. You can read more here.

4. Biggest Offender – Did you know that the Organic Trade Association has called cotton the “world’s dirtiest crop?” It uses 2.5% of the globe’s cultivated land but uses 16% of the world’s insecticides. There is more here from Business Ethics.

5. Alternatives – However, the news for cotton isn’t all bad. As with most crops, there is a way to grow it organically and safely. Another talked about alternative to cotton is hemp, which can be used as food or as a clothing fiber. However, it also needs pesticides but can be grown organically too. Check out Slate to get a better idea of the pro’s and con’s of each crop.

Shelly Mirriam is a science student and also writes for Masters in Environmental Science which helps students find the right environmental science degree.



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