115 cotton paper

115 cotton paper - Anthropology 115 Jennifer Anderson...

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Anthropology 115 Jennifer Anderson Negative Effects and New Solutions for the Worlds’ Most Important Fiber: Cotton The bed sheets we rest under, to the couches we lounge on, the shirts on our backs to the laces on our shoes, one thing remains the same, and it’s the cotton. Cotton is a necessity in today’s world. Not only do we rely on it for our clothes and comfort but also the global economy relies on it as one of its main sources of business stimulation. And no place else is this as apparent as it is here in the United States where cotton is our main cash crop. In the U.S alone each year’s cotton crop production involves about $5.3 billion dollars of supplies and services, and that’s only on the farming level (cotton.org, 2008). However, the conventional methods used for farming, harvesting, and manufacturing cotton create many negative externalities for the world we live in today, and take a shocking toll on the earth’s soil, and water systems damaging our overall global health. The main pollutant involved is the fertilizers and pesticides used on the cotton in its growing stages after it has been planted. According to Lotusorganics.com, “Farmers in the United States apply nearly one-third of a pound of chemical fertilizers and pesticides for every pound of cotton harvested. When all nineteen cotton-growing states are tallied, cotton crops account for twenty-five percent of all the pesticides used in the U.S.” (Lotusorganics.com, 2005) And of these pesticides used, the Environmental Protection Agency has classified and considers seven of the top fifteen of them to “likely be”, “probably are”, or “known to be” cancer causing carcinogens (U.S EPA, 2001). In this situation the numbers speak for themselves. We should not be exposed to these carcinogens at all, and the world would be better off if these amounts of
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pesticides and synthetic fertilizers were not used on cotton. Conversely though, the rate at which cotton farmers are using pesticides on cotton is only increasing due to a process known as the “pesticide treadmill”. Every time farmers use pesticides on their cotton fields they kill many of the cotton pests they are trying to get rid of, but additionally to the pests, they also kill many other insects that would have otherwise protected their fields by feeding on the troublesome
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This note was uploaded on 09/08/2010 for the course ANTH 115 at San Jose State.

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115 cotton paper - Anthropology 115 Jennifer Anderson...

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