Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Where Are The Green Jeans?

Remember Mr. GreenJeans?  If he were alive today he'd probably be sporting real green jeans, although after reading a number of recent articles I'm not sure there is such a thing.

Non-Organic Cotton - bad, very bad.  More insecticides than any other single crop!  The spraying contributes to greenhouse gases, poor air quality, and since you and your children may be breathing that air in, sickness and even death.  The runoff poisons our groundwater.  Frogs, fish and flora all suffer for the "comfort of cotton".

Organic Cotton - not so great.  Yup, you read it, organic cotton jeans aren't compatible with sustainable living.  Precisely because they don't use pesticides, the yields are up to (or down to) 50% lower and that creates the need for even more land to be used to grow the cotton.  Another unsustainable feature:  all cotton requires about 1,500 gallons of water to the grow 1 1/2 pounds - the amount used for a single pair of jeans.  That's enough drinking water for a family of 4 for nearly 2 years.  Don't even get me started about the dyeing - the conventional dying alone makes jeans a poor eco-choice.

I don't have any personal experience with hemp or bamboo fabric jeans - I'm going to have to go to our local Hemp Shak and take a look.  As with organic cotton, the processing and dyeing can still be uneco-friendly, so the label must say "certified organic" in order to ensure the fabric as earth safe and human safe.  This involves a substantial cost to the manufacturer, so we probably won't be seeing these at a big box anytime soon.

Bamboo Fabric Store
Bamboo fabric is superior in that, like Hemp, it won't deplete the soil even after decades of planting with proper management.  Bamboo also doesn't require replanting - the stalks are left in the ground and the shoots ..... they shoot right back up.  No tractors and whatnot to put exhaust into the air and therefore a more sustainable choice.

It's a complicated issue with lots to learn about - my suggestions are to begin with OnEarth's article and also visit Natural Life Magazine's article.  There's plenty of information out there - maybe start with something as simple as organic bedding.  The great benefit to you and your family is that the 1/3 of your day spent sleeping will have fewer toxins near your skin. 

Remember, doing a little is more fulfilling than 
thinking that a little won't matter.  

Share your story with us - what choice, big or small, were you able to make this week that brought all of us one step closer to a sustainable lifestyle. 

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