Organic Clothing -Why "Wearing Green" Makes Sense
When it comes to organic clothing, eco friendly options are now widely available to the average consumer. People are choosing to wear more organic clothing for many reasons, including chemical sensitivity, durability, and a growing awareness of the impact that agribusiness has on the environment. Choosing to "go green" when it comes to your clothes makes quite a bit of sense, once you've taken a closer look at the fabric industry and agriculture. Do you know which agricultural crop accounts for 25% of the pesticide use, and 10% of the fertilizer use in the world-- but makes up only 3% of our agricultural production? If you guessed "cotton", then you're right. As people become more aware of the contamination caused by pesticides and fertilizers, and the loss of biodiversity in agriculture, they are beginning to turn to fabrics like hemp, organic cotton, bamboo, and soy.
Organic Clothing is Safer for You
If you're chemically sensitive, then organic clothing can really make a difference in your life. Commercial cotton is processed with a pretty scary chemical cocktail, before you even look at the dyeing process, as are most other commercial fabrics. Synthetic fabrics are even worse, as they are made with petrochemicals--oil, and oil by-products, in other words. Even the "green" synthetics, made from recycled plastic bottles, started out as oil products. Organic clothing, on the other hand, is as free from chemicals as possible, from growth through processing and dyeing. This means you're exposing your body to fewer chemicals, and when your clothes finally do end up in the trash, fewer chemicals end up in the earth.
Organic Clothing Lasts Longer
Organic crops in general are more eco friendly than standard commercial crops, and this is especially true in the fiber industry. Hemp and bamboo, for instance, have anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties, and they don't need pesticides. Both are very durable and absorbent, as well. A tee shirt made from commercial cotton lasts for about 20 washings, if that, before beginning to fade or stretch. Organic cotton and bamboo tee shirts will go through the wash 100 times or more before breaking down, and hemp fabric can last for a decade. Unbelievably, the first Levi's jeans were made of hemp, as were canvas sails for ships.
Organic Clothing Promotes a Healthier Ecosystem
While there is a lot of media coverage of genetically modified foods, most people aren't aware that major agricultural firms, especially companies that produce pesticides and fertilizers, have been modifying our cotton and other fiber crops for a long time. As more types of fiber crops become standardized, we lose biodiversity. This is a serious concern for smaller farmers, because homogenized crops are more vulnerable to attack from evolving bacterial and fungal threats. In the last ten years, studies have found that many heirloom or organic crops of all kinds, including fiber crops, have been "contaminated" by the new genetically modified plants being grown by large agricultural firms. As heirloom species of plants continue to disappear, we put our ecosystem at risk. Organic farmers around the world are fighting to preserve heirloom varieties that generally need fewer resources to grow than their modified relatives do.
Organic Clothing is Better for the Enviroment
Even if you don't worry about the pesticides, greenhouse gas causing chemical fertilizers and toxic processing that come with standard commercial clothing on a person level, choosing organic clothing is still a good idea. Organic farmers practice sustainable agriculture, meaning they work with their local environment rather than trying to change it for financial reasons. Organically grown fiber products use less water and no chemical fertilizers, pesticides or insecticides. This means a safer environment for both the farm workers and the surrounding communities.
Organic Clothing is Better for Communities
Most organic farmers also belong to fair trade organizations, which have higher labor and ethics standards than large agricultural companies do. Fair trade organizations help small and large organic clothing producers market their eco friendly products worldwide, and get a fair price for their products. The money you spend on organic clothing that has been certified by a fair trade organization goes a long way in a third world community, or a rural part of the first world. The ten dollars you spend on a mass-produced tee shirt doesn't give those who made it nearly as much buying power as the money you spend on a fair trade, organic shirt gives the individual or community that made it. Making the eco friendly choice and buying organic clothing can really make a difference, for everyone.