Easy to be Green: Organic Cotton & Healthy Skepticism

[image from Twirls and Twigs]

Do you remember when green tea started showing up in everything? And pomegranates? And acai? Sometimes I wonder if our interest in them is more based on popularity rather than quantifiable merit. Back in the day, people feared saturated fat so much that food producers sought to avoid it, which led to thecreation of trans-fats. Did we think these new foods were healthier? Yep. Were they actually? Not so much.
Occasionally, I also question the merit of various organic products. It's not that I'm against everything going organic, but industrial farming is still industrial farming, whether it is organic or not, and sometimes organic produce is shipped so far to come to our plates, we're doing more harm than good to the environment by encouraging long-distance, carbon and pollution-gushing supply chains. For this reason, I prioritize local over organic.
But what about organic cotton? I have never been that well-informed about it. Is it worth it to buy organic cotton? Or, as with organic food, are there hidden caveats that make some types less environmentally friendly than one might imagine? I decided to do a bit of research.
What I found was that organic cotton is pretty much as good as it seems. Actually, the more I read about it, the more I felt that I never wanted to buy conventional cotton again! According to AboutOrganicCotton.org, "conventionally grown cotton consumes approximately 25% of the Insecticides and more than 10% of the pesticides used in the world" and about a third of a pound of pesticides and fertilizers is required to make enough cotton for just one shirt!! Yikes!
I'm glad to know that more cotton farmers are going organic every year (there was a 158% increase from 2007-2008 alone, according to the Organic Trade Association!) and that it has real merit beyond the buzz. Still, I think it's a good idea to be skeptical about products that boast their eco-friendliness. It's all fine and good to be up on the latest trends, but when it comes to sustainability, it's downright square to blindly accept faulty fixes.

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