Top 10 Reasons You Decide Your New Cheap T-Shirt Isn’t So Great After All: Number 8

You decide you are totally jealous of your new t-shirt when it dawns on you that the process from field to fashion has taken your shirt around the world, and you only have 2 stamps in your passport!

What’s wrong with this picture?  Growing and ginning in one part of the world, then spinning, dyeing, weaving, cutting, sewing, and selling around the globe.

Last week I had the treat of participating in TS Designs Harvest 2010 tour.  We followed cotton from the field in North Carolina to the Gin, and learned that those bales along with 75% of the cotton grown in the U.S. is now heading over to China and other countries.  But it won’t be gone for long.  Before you know it, the cotton will return and we in the U.S. can buy it back again as clothes and other products.

It wasn’t that long ago that cotton could go from “dirt to shirt” within a few hundred-mile radius. Eric and Tom at TS Designs are helping us to remember that our “Buy Local” attitudes toward food can carry over to clothes to help us:

-       build community

-       employ our friends and neighbors

-       decrease carbon footprint

-       improve our connection to the planet

So what to do? You’ve already done the first thing. You gained a new awareness and know more now than a few minutes ago.  Next, start reading labels.  I have a friend who is dead set against buying anything made in China.  Good luck, right?  OK, it’s not easy.  But you can find beautiful, high-quality clothing made in the good ol’ USA that you can wear and enjoy for a long time.  And you can choose to support other economies as well, such as Peru.  The key is that you are now making a choice rather than buying blindly.  Happy shopping!

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Top 10 Reasons You Decide Your New Cheap T-Shirt Isn’t So Great After All: Number 9

You enjoyed thinking about the little children playing in the cotton field runoff pond until you found out your new t-shirt added 1/3 lb. of poisonous chemicals to the water.

For those countries growing cotton with pesticides, that poison has to go somewhere.  And that somewhere is often the water surrounding the field.  Kids play in it.  People and animals drink it and bathe with it.  Enough said.

What to do?  Support organic cotton, which is grown without the poisons, thereby keeping people, animals, and our planet a safer place to live.  And making you feel better about what you and your family are wearing.

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Top 10 Reasons You Decide Your New Cheap T-Shirt Isn’t So Great After All: Number 10

You glance at the TatorTots bag and realize that the GM cotton used to make your shirt contains poison, AND you just fed it to your 2 year old as cottonseed oil.

Yep, you read that right.  A couple of things are going on here that you should know.  First, was the mention of “GM”, or genetically-modified cotton. Monsanto has patented a cottonseed with altered DNA, which contains a bacterium toxin that fights off insects. A truly a landmark decision that allowed life to be patented. So basically, this cotton makes it’s own pesticide.

In all fairness, this means fewer chemicals in the field.  But there’s bad news, too. It’s concentrated. You can’t wash it off.  And the health impacts are highly controversial.  We are also concerned that the toxin has a negative impact on our soils as well as our hormones.

Second, I know you were thinking that you don’t eat cotton, but actually you do in several ways.  You eat it directly as cottonseed oil used in everything from TatorTots to PopTarts. You eat it indirectly as cottonseeds and cottonseed hulls are commonly used as feed for dairy cattle, and sometimes beef cattle as well.

What to do?  Look for organic cotton clothes and food made with organic ingredients, or a non-GM oil.  You’ll be safe from “franken-foods” until we know more.  And you’ll be supporting our rights to grow crops based on our personal values and not Monsanto’s.

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Getting Started With Eco-Fashion

As we launched Organicality, I was confronted with the same issues we all face as concerned consumers, where to begin? And as I thought about where to put my efforts to make a difference in my life and yours, I decided clothes were a great place to start.

Following directly behind the adoption and growth rates of local and organic food, the growing transparency and interest in eco-fashion give us many of the same reasons to care. Human health, environmental health, and the well-being of plants and animals around the globe are all directly connected to the shirts on our backs, literally. And as odd as it may seem, there are direct connections between our food and our fashion.

Parallel to what’s happening with our food, our understanding of what we put on our skin directly impacts pretty much everything from our bodies to the rest of the world.  OK, that may seem a bit heavy, but think about it. For example, let’s say you and I are out shopping and we see a stack of T-shirts on sale for $5.  Wow, we love the price and we’re sold.  Not only are we sold, but also talk each other into buying several because “at that price, why not buy more?”

So, hey, I’m not saying we shouldn’t buy t-shirts.  In fact, I love t-shirts as much as anyone. All I’m asking is that you and I stop long enough to ask ourselves a few questions before we buy.  Do I need this shirt? What is it made of? Where was it made? Is it going to last?  Then make a conscious decision about the purchase.

To help you get a broad view of the concepts behind eco-fashion, you can follow the Top 10 coming next!

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Welcome to Organicality

“Cool name.”  ”How do you say it?”  ”I really like it.”  We hear a variety of responses to our name, Organicality.  If you break it down, you can see where we are heading.  ”Organic”, an organization similar in complexity to that of living things or elements fitting together into a unified whole.  And “-ality”, pertaining to the pursuit of being in an organic state.

I’m Carrie Reuben, and I founded Organicality as a way to help consumers like you and me make sense of all the information and products we are bombarded with daily regarding health and sustainability.  You may already be asking what is “sustainability” and why do I care?  Well, if you care about your health, your children, your grandchildren, your spouse, your friends, animals, or any other living thing, then you care.  Just think of sustainability as making decisions based on ensuring our planet can continue to support life.  A tall order, I agree.

So where to start?  That’s a question I have struggled to answer for quite some time now.  I started with water.  For a planet covered with so much water, there are still over 1 billion people, yes billion with a “b”, who do not have access to safe drinking water.  Wow, what a huge, complex issue.  Concern over clean water led me to agriculture.  And agriculture led me to organics.  And organics led me to apparel and personal care products.  If I lost you at water, no worries.  Everyone has their list of things that keep them up at night.

For now, all you need to know is that the Organicality mission is to help you become a conscious consumer.  So when you buy a new shirt or pair of pants, you make the connection to how those clothes got there.  Who made them, how were they made, and do you want to support the way that company does business.

So let’s get started because there are so many exciting things happening in the world of organics and sustainability.  And the more you know, the better you will feel about making your next purchase!

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Organicality launches

Organicality launches at the inaugural Practically Natural event.  Why?  Because we have learned so much from research, conferences, experts, authors, and other changemakers that we felt the information about organics, the environment, public health, and the connection between them was too important not to share.

Our mission is to help you understand what’s going on in our world that has a direct impact on you, your family, and future generations.  And then we want to help you take action based on your personal values.

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