If you haven't seen already, another eye opening documentary has hit our laptop screens and it's all about the cost of cotton.
'Stacey Dooley Investigates' - a collection of documentaries that unveil hidden truths about current affairs - have been running for a number of months now. Each episode is dedicated to taking a deeper look at the issues affecting young people around the world today.
In her latest episode, Stacey explores the impact our excessive use of cotton (as a fiber for fabric) is having on our planet and on our brothers and sisters across the world.
You can watch the documentary via this link:
What's powerful about this documentary is seeing the sheer scale of impact our cotton consumption is having on the environment's it's grown in.
It's strange to think of cotton as a 'bad fiber' after all it's natural, grown from a seed. Surely in a world that's more environmentally conscious than it's ever been before, this is a good thing?
Yet the problem we face today is the sheer scale of production that cotton is up against.
Cotton is by far the most popular choice of fabric. It dominates the worlds natural fiber market and it seems it has always been this way. After all, the fabric is soft, breathable and relatively 'quick and easy' to produce.
However the demand for cotton, for many years now, has outweighed the resources needed to produce it.
It takes takes a lot of water and a lot of sunlight to grow.
Of course, this wouldn't be a problem if the area it's grown in is blessed with regular rain fall, however for most of the countries it's grown in, the water used to grow it is also used to supplement other areas of life and agriculture. Furthermore, the development of pesticides (used on cotton to speed up it's growth) have slowly been feeding back into the ground and water supply of the surrounding areas, creating health risks for all who live off that land.
It's hard to contemplate just how much of a danger the mass production of cotton places on our world. But it's fair to say that if nothing is done to change our 'cotton habits' we can be sure to see many more vast areas of land become inhabitable and consequently the loss of many more lives as a result.
There is a lot more I can say about the corruption of the cotton industry. But for now I'd like to focus on the things WE can do to make a difference to this area of the industry.
FIRSTLY we can choose more carefully what we buy.
There are many more other natural fiber options we can choose when buying clothes and fabric. Bamboo, Hemp, Lyocell (Tencel), Linen and Wool are a few.
The quicker we can divert our purchases from cotton, the quicker the message will get across that the mass production of cotton is just not necessary.
SECONDLY if we are buying cotton we can choose organic cotton.
Organic cotton is safer option for the people growing it and the people living in the areas it's grown in. It does however take up a lot more water to produce. So yes, although this is not a foolproof way of making an impact it is something rather than nothing.
Better to do something that helps someone, than nothing that helps no one.
THIRDLY we can make a noise.
Cotton will continue to be made irresponsibly if no one steps up to demand change.
You as a consumer have a voice and you can tell the companies you shop from exactly what you want from the clothes you buy. In my blog post titled; 'A Letter About Cotton' I have written out a letter template that you can copy and send to your favorite stores, asking them what they are doing to tackle the issues facing our cotton industry.
This isn't a cry to ask companies to stop growing and buying cotton all together, but rather a wake up call and a prod for those who can do something to not delay.