About 35% of the world's applied cotton pesticides are applied in cotton fields in the United States.
According to the international network of organization of action against the use of pesticides (Pesticide Action Network), cotton used worldwide represents almost 3 billion of pesticides and sales and uses of this product are increasing. Globally, cotton plays a key role in the economies of dozens of countries.
Cause and effect
For decades, farmers have been trapped on a "pesticide treadmill". When persistent organochlorine pesticides such as DDT were removed because of their harmful effects on health and the environment, a new generation of fast-acting organophosphates was introduced gradually and trends in their use continued. With the introduction of genetically modified (GM) crops, the pesticide treadmill has moved up a gear. The patented genetically modified seeds are designed to be used with specific pesticides, resulting in increased use of these chemicals and the widespread application of these pesticides leads to, among other things, the appearance of herbicide resistant "super weeds".
The latest industry response to this problem? No more genetically engineered seeds, designed to be used with even more dangerous and drifting chemicals ...
Many pesticides used on cotton have been implicated in many cases of human cancers, water contamination, soil degradation and the killing of various animals.
In 1991, a train loaded with metan-sodium, used as a soil sterilant before planting cotton, derailed and dumped its contents into the Sacramento River, killing all living organisms in the river a distance of 65 kilometers.
A few years later, heavy rains washed out endosulfan, a chemical, in cotton fields and Big Nance Creek, Alabama, and killed nearly a quarter of a million fish.
On the other hand, there is a product much more effective and much more valuable than cotton. This product is industrial hemp: a variety of Cannabis sativa, a large annual plant of the mulberry family, native to Asia. Industrial hemp is not indica grass, it is two different plant species. Hemp does not have psychoactive qualities because it does not have enough THC to make enough effects.
The settlers brought the hemp seed to America, which was widely grown at home. During the Second World War, hemp was subsidized by the government for use as fiber and rope. Industrial hemp continued to be harvested in the United States until the 1950 years, when lack of common sense took over the government.
The use of hemp instead of cotton would result in the use of less than 25% of pesticides compared to current use in our environment. A large number of trees may not be destroyed. Cotton cultivation is probably the biggest polluter on the planet in terms of pesticide release in our environment since cotton occupies only 13% of the world's agricultural land, but requires 25% of the pesticides used. Chemicals enter groundwater and poison not only target insects, but also non-target organisms, including humans.
Hemp, on the other hand, has long been considered a weed, but its cultivation does not require pesticides. Unfortunately, it is illegal to grow hemp in most states because of misinformed politicians who lack common sense and not just in the United States ...
Hemp seed is more nutritious than soy, contains more essential fatty acids than any other source, and ranks just behind soy in complete protein. In addition, hemp seed is rich in B vitamins, contains 35% of dietary fiber and does not contain THC, unlike its parent, the marijuana plant. Hemp fiber is longer, more absorbent and more insulating than cotton fiber.
According to the United States Department of Energy, hemp is a biomass fuel producer that requires the least specialized crop and processing of all plant products. The hydrocarbons contained in hemp can be transformed into a wide range of biomass energy sources, from fuel pellets to liquid fuels and gases. Of course, the development of biofuels could significantly reduce our consumption of fossil fuels and nuclear energy.
Hemp also produces more pastry per acre than wood on a durable basis and can be used to make all grades of paper. In addition, the production of hemp paper would reduce sewage contamination.
By using hemp instead of cotton, we could reduce our use of 25% pesticides without having to destroy countless trees. We seem to have forgotten that all herbs, including hemp, have uses and that we have all the means we need on this Earth to lead a healthy and healthy life.
Another option is cotton grown organically. No pesticides, fertilizers or defoliants are used in organic cotton cultivation. Organic solutions such as the use of compost, manure, natural minerals and crop rotation eliminate the need for hazardous chemicals. Organic cotton can also be reproduced in different colors to eliminate the need for dyeing. It comes in a range of earth tones, such as rust, cream, browns and greens.
Chemically dependent cotton is no longer needed and we should seriously consider increasing our organic cotton yield and using industrial hemp. Cultivating cotton with pesticides and fertilizers certainly has more negatives than positives, and if we want to live in a healthy environment, we need to re-evaluate our priorities based on what we grow.