A friend recently sent this to me and while I have literally been doing this over the past 8 months or so I am now publicly taking this pledge to share with all of you. Follow this link to sign up and share your pledge on your facebook page so we can all join together in this mission to support brands that are really trying to make a difference in the world. Let’s vote with our dollars. Pledge no evil!
Please share any great finds of places to shop that uphold these standards in the comments section below 🙂
Ah Cotton…the beautiful, soft substance that we use in our everyday lives. From our sheets, to our towels, to the clothes we wear day in and day out, its something we just cannot live without. As attractive as it is, what lurks behind in the shadows of cotton production is a not so beautiful picture.
Cotton is highly attractive to insects (eg cutworm, army worm, loopers, aphids, whitefly, spider mite and more). Because this effects crops, cotton has become heavily reliant on pesticides…so heavily reliant that it uses 1/4 of the worlds pesticides and are the most pesticide dependent crops in the world. These chemicals get into the soil and water and in turn destroy the environment and also effect the wildlife that come into contact with it. In addition, farmers health are at risk of pesticide poisoning and serious other health issues.
Here are some facts displayed on the effect of pesticides on human health from the site organicconsumers:
In California, five of the top nine pesticides used on cotton are cancer-causing chemicals (cyanazine, dicofol, naled, propargite and trifluralin).
In Egypt, more than 50% of cotton workers in the 1990s suffered symptoms of chronic pesticide poisoning, including neurological and vision disorders.
In India, 91% of male cotton workers exposed to pesticides eight hours or more per day experienced some type of health disorder, including chromosomal aberrations, cell death and cell cycle delay.
In the US, a 1987 National Cancer Institute Study found a nearly seven-fold higher risk of leukemia for children whose parents used pesticides in their homes or gardens. The World Health Organization estimates that at least three million people are poisoned by pesticides every year and 20-40,000 more are killed.
Over 1 million Americans will learn they have some form of cancer and 10,400 people in the U.S. die each year from cancer related to pesticides.
So as you can see conventional cotton has a number of unsustainable factors that need to be addressed.
In the U.S., one-third of a pound of chemicals is needed just to grow enough conventional cotton for a regular T-shirt. “Organic cotton is a solution to the problem of chemical use in conventional cotton,” says Lynda Grose of the Sustainable Cotton Project. Grose adds, “The ecological goal is to convert fields from chemical controls to biological controls.”
There is a lot of skepticism around organic cotton because textiles don’t have to be certified in order to be called organic. However there are a few certifications to look out for when purchasing organic cotton to ensure its organic from field to finished product such as GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard), Soil Association, and Organic Exchange. Check out the website cottonedon for more detailed information on these certfications.
And we all know about the sweatshops and unfair working conditions of the labourers. These organic certifications have social responsibility and living wages built into their core philosophy and monitoring so it’s not just about the cotton but the people behind the farming and the manufacturing. At least now we have information available to us to make our own informed decisions.
Granted organic cotton is more expensive but we have been brainwashed into thinking that fast and cheap fashion is normal and $5 -$10 for a cotton t-shirt is the going rate, but someone or something else is always paying the price. Organic cotton is about respect for people and planet and is more expensive to produce as it’s much more labour intensive. Cottonedon says “The price of organic includes investments made by farmers who are protecting the environment, maintaining soil fertility, preserving biodiversity and conserving water.”
Below is a chart that lists the major differences between organic cotton and conventional cotton from seed throughout the whole process.
Most people that know me may find it odd that I’m getting excited over a pair of sneakers considering I don’t own that many…BUT these are not just any sneakers. These are organic, fair trade sneakers made from 100% natural rubber by a European company called Ethletic. A good take on converse with a social and environmental conscience. Find out more about them at http://www.ethletic.com.
My apologies as this post is very long overdue!! After visiting the Toronto Fair Trade Show a few weeks back, I’ve been very excited to report back on some of the new brands I had discovered there. There were two lines of jewellery in particular that I found had some really nice unique pieces.
The first was from UNIKATI, a beautiful summer piece that caught my eye because of the braided cord and neon yellow coloured glass beads in it which I thought was vibrant for summer! It is accented by hanging brass charms. It goes with so many things! Luckily they have an online store…I’m all about online shopping and these brands are worth bookmarking! You can see it here and read about the artisans behind this piece of jewellery and explore their other pieces. This particular piece was made by low-income women artisans in India, who are improving their lives through their work in a women’s cooperative that pays them a living wage, access to safe working conditions, health care and child care.
The second is from a brand called UNA fashion. This line of jewellery focuses on organic and recycled materials and this particular piece I purchased is made out of reclaimed metal from landmines and unexploded ordinance that had been collected by local NGOs in Cambodia. I love their jewellery pieces and especially what they stand for and how they have managed to turn a very negative situation into building lives for artisans. You can view it here:
For those of you looking for awesome fedora hats (men or women) or big summer glam hats for the ladies this is the place for you! Don Juan Hats has great quality hand woven hats from Ecuador made from organic toquilla straw. I particularly liked this big brim hat for the ladies…great for the beach!
A moving documentary released on May 29th brings to the forefront the true cost of the fashion industry. It explores the depth of exploitation of its workers and the harsh impact on our environment. The trailer alone is so impactful it will move you to tears. Is this the only way?
John Oliver is hilarious and in a fun but serious manner tries to open our eyes to the horrible impact of the fast fashion industry on garment workers. He implores consumers to question the reason the prices of their garments are so cheap and urges brands such as H&M, GAP, Walmart and Children’s Place to have more accountability in their supply chains, as being unaware is not an excuse anymore. Brands will only change if we find the social issue important enough and hold them accountable for it.