By Susan Lutz
When shopping, the world sits on my shoulder. I feel it. Products scream at me: buy me! I’m a deal! Good for your pocketbook! Just what you want – what your kids need – stylish! I slide shirts down the rack, wondering who made it, what chemicals were used in the fields, and if the product is GMO. Food tops the list when we think of buying organic and fair trade. However, cotton must be added to our list and be a part of our consciousness as it’s an important crop to choose organic and fair trade.
The Organic Consumer’s Association highlighted aspects of a report by The Institute of Science in Society. It called cotton a “triple-threat…because it produces fiber, food, and feed….Monsanto Corporation has been a major source of genetically modified (GM) cotton lines.”
Cotton ranks as one of the highest producer of GMOs, falling in line with soy, canola, and corn. The Environmental Justice Foundation put out a report siting the commodity of cotton and the dangers it poses to workers, which include children, in the fields.
Pants, shoes, shirts, yoga clothes, and even panties, can be produced with organic cotton and fair trade certification. So much bedding, pillows, shoes, and of course clothes contain cotton. The cotton crop is estimated at $32 billion yearly.
With children, and especially with teenagers, grabbing the latest styles is tempting so many brands sell at cheaper prices due to the above-named factors. By dusting the crops with chemicals and using non-fair trade labor tactics, the price point goes down. I look to several practical solutions to introduce the use of organic cotton into our lives. I won’t be able to buy everything fair trade or organic. So, I work on choosing one area I can commit to and get as much out of my dollar while also supporting environmentally friendly products.
- Going to the thrift store can stretch an item’s use – no one had to work in the fields a second time to put it up for sale. The second use recycles and produces less of an environmental impact all-around.
- Decide on choosing a few items that will last – a great t-shirt made from organic cotton or a pair of organic cotton fair trade jeans – probably love them more, appreciate them more, and enjoy them more, too!
- Pick one item and buy only fair trade and/or organic within that department. Green panties are a good start. Just like food, I can’t swing buying all organic; however, I commit to a few items and stick with it.
Never underestimate the power of our voice through out purchases