Thankfully people are waking up to the horrendous conditions and appalling pay that affects millions of garment workers, but nobody is talking about what is going on in conventional cotton- which is 10% of world agriculture:
365,000 cotton farmers die every year from accidental pesticide poisoning. That is 1000 deaths a day.
This daily death toll even eclipses what is happening in the Middle East.
This is a completely unbelievable and appalling situation. Nobody seems to know or care.
Yet conventional cotton agriculture is 10% of the world’s agriculture and uses 25% of the world’s pesticides.
As well as human death it kills all organisms in the soil on which the health and life of the soil depends. It leads to desertification, long term contamination of the aquifer with pesticides, (which are very difficult to get out as they are a nerve gas) and huge greenhouse gas emissions of nitrous oxide,(molecule is 200x more potent/heavier than CO2). This is a climate change issue. Conventional cotton agriculture contaminates rivers and seas with toxic pesticides and herbicides, between them designed to kill all life.
Fertilisers used also kill aquatic microorganisms and contribute to algal blooms which cause ocean death.
However, farming cotton organically changes all of this. It means that farmers do not poison themselves, their families and the environment with pesticides nor do they incur pesticide related debt. Growing organic cotton rotated with food and other cash crops can increase farmers’ profit by 50-500% enabling them to feed, clothe and house their families and educate their children, afford healthcare and also help to provide local food security.
Farming organically improves human and animal health and biodiversity including pollinators. It increases the health and fertility of the soil. It cuts down greenhouse gas emissions and cuts down migration to the cities and further north as it makes farming viable.
Growing cotton organically uses less water than conventional cotton practices, as most organic cotton is rain fed.
100million farmers farming organically, rotating cotton with food would go a long way towards feeding the world.