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The Dirty Side of Cotton

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cotton field

Social Impacts: Monsanto’s Cotton and Indian Farmers

Almost all of the conventional cotton grown here in the U.S. and abroad is genetically modified, and much of that GM cotton is Bt cotton from Monsanto. Like Bt corn, the plant is modified to produce its own pesticides. Even setting aside the intrinsic problems with GMOs like crop cross-contamination and the rise of resistant superweeds, this GM cotton is bad news.

Thousands of Indian farmers are committing suicide because they are so deeply in debt from Monsanto’s Bt cotton, which didn’t deliver the benefits it promised. These farmers borrowed money to invest in GM cotton seeds, because Monsanto promised higher yields with less water and fewer pesticides. Andrew Malone reported for The Daily Mail on this problem back in 2008 that “The price difference is staggering: £10 for 100 grams of GM seed, compared with less than £10 for 1,000 times more traditional seeds,” but salesmen promised that the benefits were worth the higher price tag.

What they got instead was despair.

In the video below, activist Vandana Shiva talks about the hundreds of daily suicides among Indian farmers because Bt cotton didn’t live up to salesmen’s claims:

Is that 100 percent cotton tote bag or t-shirt feeling like less of a green choice? Don’t worry! There are some great alternatives to conventional cotton. Check out a few of my favorites on the next page.

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Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. Her life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Like this article? You can follow Becky on Twitter or find her on Facebook!


+ add your own
4:21AM PST on Dec 23, 2012

that sucks, I can only wear cotton

3:16PM PST on Dec 19, 2012


11:26AM PST on Dec 9, 2012

some good info. i went to the etsy site for hemp but they're closed this weekend.

10:56AM PST on Nov 19, 2012

Thank you for the information!!!

6:59AM PDT on Oct 13, 2012

If we just got rid of Monsanto.....

9:45PM PDT on Oct 12, 2012

Organic cotton! even cotton with some color in it (plants bred to be greenish or tan)! Thanks for the article.

9:42PM PDT on Oct 12, 2012

i was not impressed actually. there are no more good and natural things left or maybe very little. anyway, thanks for sharing ;)

5:13PM PDT on Oct 10, 2012

There always seems to be a dirty side to everything. Thanks for the article Becky.

12:57PM PDT on Oct 10, 2012


8:53AM PDT on Oct 9, 2012


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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Thank you for the article.

TY for this - noted in preparation for next spring! TYFS :-)

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I volunteer at my local CSA. We pay $10 a week for about 10 pounds (5 kilos) of organic produce grow…


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