Monday, August 20, 2012

What Should Sustainable Fashion Mean To You?

Conventional cotton accounts for close to 50% of all textile fiber production and is probably an even worse environmental polluter when compared to synthetic fibers such as polyester. Conventional cotton follows a dirty, exploitative path to the end consumer and we can change that, if we choose.

One of the biggest environmental hazards of conventional cotton is the use of agricultural chemicals which not only pose serious human health concerns, but also environmental degradation tragedies. Let's look at some facts:

- Cotton chews through 10% of all worldwide pesticides and 25% of the world's insecticides each year despite only accounting for 2.5% of all arable land,

- 10,400 people in the US die annually from pesticide related cancers resulting largely form drinking water contaminated by agricultural chemicals,

- It takes about 1/3 of a pound of agricultural chemicals to produce a single cotton T-shirt,

- Mono-cultured conventional cotton losses valuable topsoil much more rapidly than organically grown cotton,

- The agricultural chemicals used to treat cotton crops are highly toxic. Of the nine most readily used, five are probable carcinogens,

- Significant fish and bird kills have resulted from the legal application of pesticides, with millions of fish and birds estimated to die from pesticide exposure each year,

- In recent studies of major rivers and streams, one or more pesticides were detected more than 90% of the time in water, in more than 80% of fish sampled, and in 33% of major aquifers,

- 50% of all Egyptian farmers suffer from chronic pesticide poisoning which results in vision and neurological disorders,

- 54% of all pesticides used annually in India are applied to cotton crops which cover only 5% of the land,

- One drop of aldicard (a cotton crop pesticide) can kill an adult, yet children and adults alike work with this chemical, 1 million kilos of which was applied to cotton crops in the US in 2003.

By choosing to buy sustainable fashion, we can make a difference, one shirt at a time. In fact, through awareness that charitable groups and socially responsible groups have brought forward about the impact of fast fashion, people have been demanding ethical fashion in ever growing numbers. Because over 70% of the North American economy is driven by the consumer, many corporations have taken notice by cleaning up their manufacturing, supply and distribution chains. So, yes, we can make a difference but there is still a long way to go. By choosing to support sustainable clothing, you are helping to bring positive change and that is something to be proud of.

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