The new and improved Peter Cottontail

“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us.  When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” Aldo Leopold

Cotton. It has to be one of the most comfortable materials to wear. It’s lightweight, breathable and feels good. But in order to grow the cotton to make your favorite clothes, farmers often pump dozens of harmful chemicals into the ground.

Just as eating organically grown food is growing in popularity, so is purchasing organically grown cotton clothing. When something is “organically grown,” it basically means the food or fibers were  produced without using most pesticides, fertilizers or other harmful chemicals that seep and mix into the soil. These chemicals can affect future vegetation and animal life for years. And if that doesn’t hit home hard enough, maybe this will: These same chemicals can make their way into the water table, or the level of water stored under the soil — water that we may very well drink.

The Pesticide Action Network of North America states that each year cotton producers around the world use nearly $2.6 billion worth of pesticides — more than 10 percent of the world’s pesticides and nearly 25 percent of the world’s insecticides.

Organic farmers are using natural practices to combat these unnatural chemicals. By replacing pesticides with helpful insects, fertilizers with composting and chemicals with good old-fashioned weeding, organic farmers produce good quality cotton without battering the land. According the USDA, “Organic farming has become one of the fastest growing segments of U.S. agriculture. U.S. producers are turning to certified organic farming systems as a potential way to lower input costs, decrease reliance on nonrenewable resources, capture high-value markets and premium prices, and boost farm income.”

Photo courtesy samababy.files.wordpress.com

Photo courtesy samababy.files.wordpress.com

It is true that organic cotton clothing costs a bit more than the non-organic, chemical-laden kind. But the benefits of a natural, environmentally friendly product should outweigh the costs. Plus, entire lines of organic clothing are being created frequently, and the clothing incorporates stylish shirts, pants and undergarments for men and women, as well as for babies. For an added environmental bonus, recycleatee.com not only sells organic t-shirts but also offers a program in which you can send back your already-worn shirts in any condition for store credit.

The next time you’re in the market for some new clothes, consider buying organic. Slipping into your new purchases will never feel so rewarding.

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