Cotton is breathable, tear resistant and absorbent - in short: a true all-rounder! It is not for nothing that it has been the most popular natural fiber in the textile and clothing manufacture for centuries.
However, cotton has not only advantages: its cultivation consumes large amounts of water, the pesticides and fertilizers pollute the soil and the waters and can even harm the cotton farmers. In addition, genetically manipulated cotton plants are flooding the market, threatening the existence of many cotton growers. At least as long as cotton cultivation takes place conventionally!
While roughly 99 percent of global cotton cultivation happens traditionally, around one percent of the cotton market has specialized in the cultivation of organic cotton.
But what is actually behind it, is organic cotton better than conventional cotton and where is the difference?
The shady side of cotton production
The conventional cultivation of cotton is usually associated with the use of large amounts of pesticides and fertilizers. Pests are combated and the plants are prepared for harvesting, since only a chemical defoliation makes it possible to harvest the ripe cotton by machine. The cotton is in contact with poisons around 20 times per season - that is a relatively large number. No other agricultural product uses so many toxine.
This has fatal consequences for humans and the environment: the toxic chemicals contaminate rivers and lakes and even reach groundwater. They destroy not only the pests, but also the so-called beneficial animals, which contribute to the fertility of land. This damages the nature further.
Irrigation also plays an important role: the cotton plant needs huge amounts of fresh water to thrive. In many cases artificial irrigation is necessary. The result: the groundwater level drops, drinking water is harder to reach, the soil gets salty and looses fertility. Especially fatal: the drying off the waters through the artificial irrigation - as in the case of the Aral Lake.
Cotton: Danger for the environment and people?
Cotton growing has fatal consequences, not only for the environment. Many cotton growing areas are located in developing countries. Cotton farmers often lack the equipment and the necessary knowledge to protect themselves adequately from the poisons used. The result is acute pesticide poisoning, that can causes, for example, dyspnea, nausea or headache. There are also known long-term effects: the immune system, nervous system, hormonal balance and reproductive system can be affected. The WHO estimates that about 20,000 people die each year due to pesticide poisoning in agriculture.
The cultivation of conventional cotton is generally regarded as a major problem for humans and the environment. Should not it be better to do without it?
No, it does not have to happen. The solution is organic cotton! In contrast to conventional cotton, she does a lot right! Find out why you should switch to organic cotton!
Do you already have organic cotton in your wardrobe? Our yoga styles from organic cotton are definitely a good start!