Is organic cotton manufacturing bad for the environment?

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    The idea of “organic” is that it’s good for the environment. But you’re asking a good question.

    “Organic” is narrowly defined, often following a government standard. So if a crop fits the government definition, then it’s organic. The problem is when the definition is not complete enough.

    For example, a third world crop could be “organic”, while at the same time depleting the soil so that in 10 years it will be unfarmable. Yes, it’s organic in the sense that it isn’t poisoning your body with chemicals. No, it’s not ecological, because it’s destroying the land.

    I noticed something else, buying “organic” potatoes: They taste terrible. It’s easy to grow potatoes, so I wondered what was going on. I tried different brands, different stores. Most of them tasted terrible. So obviously, for a start, “organic” doesn’t mean: Tastes good! But my concern was deeper than that. When I considered, the bad taste was certainly from some other chemicals, some other fertilizer the farmers were using that — while technically organic — were not good. The FDA can only do so much identifying problem chemicals, and they are years behind examining what they would like to be able to do! So there are chemicals out there that are really not “organic” … it’s just that no organization has gotten around to examining them.

    So the answer to your question: Is organic cotton bad for the environment? is … probably … in some situations.

    But overall? You have to hope that being organic is a step in the right direction.

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