About 35% of the world's applied cotton pesticides are applied in cotton fields in the United States.
According to the international network of organizations for action against the use of pesticides (Pesticide Action Network), cotton used worldwide accounts for nearly $ 3 billion in pesticides, and the sales and uses of this product are increasing. Globally, cotton plays an essential role in the economies of several dozen countries.
Cause and effect
For decades, farmers have been trapped on a “pesticide conveyor belt”. When persistent organochlorine pesticides like DDT were phased out due to their harmful effects on health and the environment, a new generation of fast-acting organophosphates was gradually introduced and the trend in their use continued. With the introduction of genetically modified (GM) crops, the pesticide conveyor belt has shifted into high gear. Patented genetically modified seeds are designed to be used with specific pesticides, resulting in increased use of these chemicals, and widespread application of these pesticides results in, among other things, the emergence of herbicide-resistant “super weeds”.
The latest industry response to this problem? No more genetically modified seeds, designed to be used with even more dangerous and drifting chemicals ...
Many pesticides used on cotton have been implicated in numerous cases of human cancer, 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 the chemical endosulfan into cotton fields and Big Nance Creek, Alabama, and killed nearly a quarter of a million fish.
On the other hand, there is a product that is much more effective and much more valuable than cotton. This product is industrial hemp: a variety of Cannabis sativa, a large annual plant in the mulberry family, native to Asia. Industrial hemp is not indica weed, it is two different plant species. Hemp does not have any psychoactive qualities because it does not have enough THC needed to produce enough effects.
The settlers brought the hemp seed to America, which was widely cultivated at home. During World War II, hemp was subsidized by the government for use as fiber and rope. Industrial hemp continued to be harvested in the United States until the 1950s, when lack of common sense took over the government.
Using hemp instead of cotton would result in the use of less than 25% pesticides compared to current use in our environment. A large number of trees might not be destroyed. Cotton cultivation is probably the biggest polluter on the planet in terms of pesticide release into our environment since cotton occupies only 13% of the world's agricultural land, but requires 25% of the pesticides used. The chemicals enter groundwater and poison not only target insects but also non-target organisms, including humans.
Hemp, for its part, has long been considered a weed, but its culture does not require pesticides. Unfortunately, it is illegal to grow hemp in most states because of uninformed politicians who lack common sense and not just in the United States ...
Hemp seed is more nutritious than soybeans, contains more essential fatty acids than any other source, and ranks just behind soybeans in complete protein. Additionally, the hemp seed is rich in B vitamins, contains 35% 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 requiring the least specialized cultivation and processing of all plant products. The hydrocarbons in hemp can be transformed into a wide variety of biomass energy sources, from fuel pellets to liquid fuels and gases. Obviously, the development of biofuels could significantly reduce our consumption of fossil fuels and nuclear energy.
Hemp also produces more pulp per acre than wood on a sustainable basis and can be used to make all grades of paper. In addition, making paper from hemp would reduce contamination from sewage.
By using hemp instead of cotton, we could reduce our pesticide use by 25% without having to destroy countless trees. It seems that we have forgotten that all herbs, including hemp, have uses and that we have been given all the means that we need on this Earth to lead a healthy and healthy life.
Another option is organically grown cotton. No pesticides, fertilizers or defoliants are used in the cultivation of organic cotton. Organic solutions such as the use of compost, manure, natural minerals, and crop rotation eliminate the need for dangerous 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. Growing 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're growing.