I know what you’re thinking. You’re already questioning, “What are you talking about? Pesticides are used on plants, not clothing!” But if you think about it, clothing is often made from cotton, and cotton is a plant. See?
Similar to the food movement of “non-GMO” labeling and the gravitation toward eating organic, local food, there is the same shift in the clothing department. Wearing organic cotton. The shift occurred as a result of people acknowledging the health, environmental, and social issues of people not wearing organic, eco-friendly fashion.
Just like we’ve lost the connection between a butcher killing a pig and us eating that pork with our friends, it’s the same application with clothing. Everyday we wear a shirt not knowing somewhere a cotton farmer is going through debt in order to buy the pesticides used for his farm. However, I wasn’t moved to tears and anger until I read a story exemplifying this.
This was written by PanUK, and it opened my eyes. One of the cotton farmers in Benin was carrying the usual routine of returning home from work. He always throws his overalls, laden with chemicals and pesticides, over the roof to prevent his children from intoxication. Unfortunately, it rained that night and the chemicals from the overalls streamed into the buckets of water that the family used for drinking because they don’t have easy access to clean water. Once the morning rolled in, the kids drink the contaminated water and head to school. Several hours later, the kids fall ill and die shortly after.
I always ask myself, “Why does this happen so easily? And frequently too?” All of this would have been preventable if the farmer didn’t have to use pesticides to grow his cotton, which wouldn’t lend him any chance to poison his own kids. But the thing is, he can’t do that–and that is what angers me. Until farmers like him are educated on how to farm organic cotton profitably and effectively, the future remains grim. Fortunately, there are growing areas that are farming organic cotton, but the progress is slow. What we can do to speed up that progress is by changing where we put our wallet.
Instead of purchasing a cheap dress from Gap, we can choose to buy clothing made out of organic cotton (or any other organic plant source) online by doing some research. It may be more expensive, but it means we’re supporting a brighter future where farmers are debt-free, people are paid fair wages for their efforts to make our clothing, and land that is lush of naturally growing plants.
I’d like to wake up knowing the food I ate and clothing I wore are coming from a positive place, person, and feeling. Don’t you?