Cotton. This is a global material. You’ll find it on every front line of the Fashion World. You’re probably wearing it right now. Check the label.
The cotton industry is built on Fashion’s darkest truths. International demand for this material has ensured two very serious problems in its production:
The use of Child Labour
The use of chemical Pesticides
If you are wearing cotton, check the label again. Who made it? How was it made?
A Brief Introduction to these Issues:
Child Labour abuses a child’s right to play, to learn and to be safe and respected. Their childhood is taken from them to fuel a multi billion dollar industry like cotton. Often their governments are directly involved. Often they are physically abused and maltreated.
Pesticides are chemicals designed to increase crop yield by destroying any pest (such as insects.) They help produce more crop and bigger sales for farmers. However they can also be toxic for humans and all other creatures causing illness, physical defects or death. They can also ruin the earth’s soil and destroy plants and crops in the surrounding environment. Many have been branded illegal, although some are still used illegally.
(this young girl has been poisoned by the dangerous pesticide Endosulfan.)
The Environmental Justice Foundation:
The title photo is taken from a London based NGO called the Environmental Justice Foundation. The picture of the young girl above is also from their collection. As well as working for Nektarina, I help them with their campaigns. They run a successful cotton campaign that addresses both child labour and pesticides.
Here is a video about Cotton the ‘White Gold’ and Pesticides:
The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) campaigned to ban the use of Endosulfan, the same chemical that hurt the girl’s hands in the photograph above. They were successful.
But that is one battle in a war against environmental injustice. Many children are still subjected to hard and dangerous working conditions.
You can read more about these battles in EJF’s reports. Download them free, here: http://www.ejfoundation.org/page93.html
Tomorrow I will write about what you can do to stop child labour and the use of pesticides.
Contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org