So, cotton..this wonderful natural fiber. Durable, washable, comfortable, soft, natural...I think we all can agree upon that we almost only have things in mind while talking about cotton. And we should, or at least when it comes to the characteristics of the fiber. Unfortunately, due to human behavior including overuse and short-term-thinking (as usual), the view upon this fiber/material has drastically changed.
But ok, lets start with some basics! Cotton is a natural fiber, just as wool, silk, flax, hemp etc. To be a bit more specific, cotton is a cellulose natural fiber. That means that it is built up by cellulosic molecules. We all remember the photosynthesis right?
One of the dilemmas concerning cotton farming is that it requires A LOT of water to grow, and at the same time a tropical environment. This leads to a unrestrainedly use of fresh water through irrigation, which affect eco-systems and humans living in the nearest surrounding. To make it a little more clear: to grow 1kg of cotton, you will need 29.000 liters of water. And to make it even more clearer, that is about 190 bath tubs. That is A LOT of water. It also requires huge areas of farmland, and now and then you can read in the newspaper of humans forced to leave their homes due to multinational companies decisions to establish cotton farms at that specific place. Not taking in concern that people actually live there. So, except overuse of fresh water and exploiting peoples homes (........), conventional cotton farming requires high amounts of pesticides and fertilizers, and unfortunately, cotton is today one of the most chemical intense farmings in the world.
Ok, there is a lot to it. And I could go on forever talking about the fibers characteristics, the process from fiber to yarn, from yarn to textile, from textile to garments, dyeing, printing etc. Yeah you know what I mean. You would stop reading, because you are not as much as a nerd in materials that I am. So we will skip that part.
If we go to the other aspect of sustainability, choosing materials that you can actually wear and use for a long time, cotton is a really good choice. But what to do then? tadaaaa.. long live the ORGANIC COTTON!
Though...organic cotton isn´t always as innocent and kind as it may sound............ To be continued!
Love / Fredrika
Ps. If you are interested in getting more knowledge about cotton and the impact on the environment. Have a look at this report, I know its a little old, but I still think there is a lot to it! --> http://www.wwf.se/source.php/1120565/Bomullsrapport.pdf
OH, I forgot... That is if you are a swedish speaker (reader??)....