In today’s harsh economic climate many people think it’s mad to spend money on expensive organic cotton and eco friendly clothing. We all have to try and make ends meet somehow and when cheaper sweatshop non organic cotton clothes are on sale you can’t help but be tempted in by their generously cheap prices.
Much of this temptation changes when you start having to think of the next generation. While I was pregnant with my now one-year-old son it started to dawn on me the importance of the planet and the long-term future that I was now starting to contribute towards. Pregnancy made me realise what effect I was having on the planet and the future it held. I started thinking about what kind of planet I wanted my future family to be part of and be able to enjoy. This is when I became conscious of my actions towards the planet and realised how precious the next generation are. Suddenly the weight of responsibility felt very heavy indeed. It was important to get everything right.
As well as battling with the tough decision between the convenience of disposable nappies and the hassle of re-usable ones I started to think about organic clothing. I came to realise the pressure we are putting on the planet and decided when Kea arrived that we would go down the organic cotton route as much as we could.
When comparing conventional cotton and organic cotton there was no competition.
Conventional cotton is one of the most chemically dependent crops. The result is that 10 percent of all agricultural chemicals and 25 percent of insecticides are used on cotton crops that grow on only 3 percent of our arable land; that’s more than any other crop per unit. This isn’t just bad for the planet, thousands of deaths occur each year from pesticide poisoning in developing countries.
Organic cotton on the other hand uses methods designed to help sustain the land, the people involved in growing and harvesting it which overall helps the planet. Compost is used and there is frequent crop rotations which replace synthetic fertilizers. Weeds are controlled by different methods such as special machinery, land labour or flame devices that stop the need for herbicides. Insects are treated by farmers introducing natural enemies that prey on the insect pests.
The other great benefit to organic cotton, especially for babies, is that it’s incredibly soft. Organic cotton is softer than conventional cotton and this can only be good for that new soft sensitive skin. Although it is softer there has been no scientific evidence that it is better for you and nor is there any evidence that the pesticides or chemicals put on conventional cotton is bad for you either. This means that there is no proof that it is better for rashes or any other skin complaints that babies can have. Surely though the added softness that organic cotton has can only help make a babies life feel that little bit more comfortable as well as making them irresistible to hug and cuddle which is what every baby needs at the start of life.
As a mother for the first time I want the best for my children and for them to grow up learning and realising the pressure that they as well as everyone else are putting on the planet. What better way to teach a child other than through example? This was when I decided to try and encourage others to follow in the same footsteps to become aware of what they are buying by setting up ‘Bhang’ and ‘Bhingles’ promoting fairtrade, organic cotton and eco-friendly clothing for adults and children.
As well as being planet aware ‘Bhang’ and ‘Bhingles’ like to bring a sense of humour to life. The designs are hand drawn by myself, some with fun eco slogans and others with a silly sense of fun and play on words. Along with using certified organic cotton I use eco-friendly inks – it would be hypercritical not to!