Original article posted on LYST. Written by Chloe Jagger.
Let’s Talk About Sustainability
Sustainability is a buzzword that many people are sick of hearing, but with increasing pressure on all of us to protect the planet’s scarce natural resources, there is never a better time to go green.
From the materials we should avoid to tips on how to reduce, re-use and recycle, read ahead to find out the small ways we can all make a difference.
Why What’s On The Outside Matters
Have you even been searching for the perfect basic T-shirt and wondered why one costs $6 and another $40? Well, there’s a reason for that.
You wouldn’t think a nice, bland textile like cotton would be so controversial, but this everyday fabric has become a flashpoint in the battle for more sustainable and ethical clothing.
Advocates of eco-friendly fashion accuse the cotton industry of heavy pesticide and herbicide use, dangerous working conditions and even putting the consumer’s health at risk when we wear its products, which is why we decided to investigate more.
So really, why choose organic and why does it pay to spend more?
The Problem With Pesticides
Many of us question: why is the organic cotton T-shirt so expensive? To get answers we talked to PAN UK, who do leading work in promoting safe and sustainable alternatives to hazardous pesticides, to share with us why as consumers we should be prepared to pay that bit extra.
At a conventional cotton farm, crops are sprayed with pesticides to suppress weeds and pests. This is a problem.
Cotton crops, PAN UK explains covers 2.4% of the world cultivated land but uses 6% of the worlds pesticides – more than any other single major crop.What’s the deal with pesticides you ask?
Well, they contribute to much of farmings disastrous economic, health and environmental consequences.
According to the Environmental Justice Foundation, pesticides are a factor in an estimated 1 to 5 million poisoning cases each year across all agricultural sectors, which results in 20,000 reported deaths.
“Thousounds of cotton farmers and their families suffer from pesticide poisoning every year…” PAN UK tells us “…many commit suicide as a result of debt related, at least in part, to high chemical costs”. So why the mark up?
Two main reasons is that to grow healthy crops without the use of pesticides, this results in more labor by farmers who instead suppress weeds through mechanical means.
More labor, means more workers to pay, which is where the help of non-profits and NGO’s like PAN UK come in.
Pan UK currently work with organic cotton farmers to help to promote fair labor practices, wages and teach farmers how to grow healthy crops by training them in non-chemical pest control.
Fair labor practices, no pesticides, no GMO cotton that all result in a better a living for farmers and which are better for the land seems like a justifiable $30 for us.