Today finds the production of conventional cotton (nonorganic) second only to corn in the United States. In addition 10% of the world's pesticide usage is required to grow this crop …. And if Brook Benton's 1962 rendition of “The Boll Weevil Song” is any indication, the weevil is not only responsible for the destruction of the cotton crop during the early 1900's (1910-1920), but clearly responsible for pesticide formulation required to reestablish the industry.
…. the boll weevil called the farmer, 'n' he said
“Ya better sell your old machines
'Cause when I'm through with your cotton
Heh, you can not even buy gasoline
“Stake me a home, found me a home”
The boll weevil continued its devastation to the cotton industry between 1915 and the late 1950's, when the first highly effective controls (pesticides) were developed. The weevil was eradicated completely in 1995.
Here is where the real story of the boll weevil begins!
Barely recovered from the Civil War, the southeast and mid-southern states were hard hit with weevil infestation. 1917 brought the loss of a million acres of cotton farming when the weevil was discovered in Alabama. Unprepared to give up cotton farming, a crop that had served them well for generations, farmers continued to plant cotton. Unfortunately the boll weevil continued its devastating trek from Florida, north and westward. When home remedies, hand picking the adult bugs and burning the eggs in kerosene failed, pesticide formulators were brought in.
Insecticides, herbicides and pesticides confound our way of life!
The hidden costs of conventional, non-organic cotton production for which we all pay indirectly are born out in:
- poisoned water water – we drink this stuff
- contaminated soil – we grow our food in this stuff
- polluted air – we breath this stuff
Let's turn this around!
Supporting the growing organic organic cotton makes us healthy. Just looking at the precedent list of crimes committed growing conventional cotton makes me advocate for:
- big, fat, thirsty bath towels, free of chemical dyes
- breathable, supple, absorbent underwear
- cool, soft, long wearing bed sheets
Yes, opting for organic is expensive, and as I've indicated in prior articles, take “going organic” a step at a time.
Your initial purchases: towels, underwear, sheets, tee shirts, or any of the myriad of products manufactured from organic cotton will be an investment in your own health as there are no chemicals, dyes, or pesticide residue to interfere with your body's immune system . Equally as important, when purchasing organic cotton, you're paying for clean drinking water, healthy farmers, sweatshop free production, as well as promoting global economic progress.
News Flash: In 2007, with a single purchase, the largest retail conglomerate in the world, Wal-Mart, became the largest buyer of raw organic cotton. A step at a time.