SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES MAKE SUSTAINABLE COTTON
What does a sustainable community look like?
HOLDING UP HALF THE SKY
Women and girls represent half of humanity. By empowering the world's female population through equal access to education and opportunity, sustainable communities help deploy the other half of our human potential.
COOPERATIVE CARING FOR NEEDED HEALTH
Basic healthcare is a fundamental need for sustainable communities. When access points to immediate healthcare are supplied by communities, earlier intervention is guaranteed.
Farmer-owned cooperatives empower workers to seek fair prices for their fiber and reinvest profits into communally chosen projects and initiatives.
A community with basic education makes better long-term choices, generates more adaptive capacity to solve complex problems, and networks with a global world. A sustainable community is an educated one.
INVESTING IN THE FUTURE
We can use the analogy of water when discussing the effects of financial security on communities. When cash flow is unreliable, communities must spend valuable resources to deal with periods of financial drought or flood. This instability keeps communities from making efficient long-term planning decisions. Sustainable communities invest in themselves and help ensure trade structures that secure a more stable future.
CULTURAL PRESERVATION AND TRADITION
Cultural preservation may seem trivial to some, but it is a critical element to community sustainability. A culture's 'shared norms', a term introduced by Nobel prize winning political economist Eleanor Ostrom, help create shared management paradigms for a community's shared resources such as land, water, and financial assets.
SECURE FOOD IS HAPPY SOIL
'Food security' is sometimes referred to as soil security because without the soil you have no plant. Without the minerals and micronutrients in soils, plants cannot perform basic tasks like growth, maturation, and protection. A plant's ability to defend itself is mainly attributed to the soil's living inhabitants; the fungi, invertebrate insects, and microbiotic beings that transform soils into an array of subterranean chemical defenses. Plants take advantage of this chemical warfare by up-taking and transforming soil chemicals for their own insect defenses above ground.
The synthetic chemical pesticides sprayed across the world's conventional farms efficiently eradicate crop-killing bugs. But they also kill soils by killing soil invertebrates and biotic life. So, the constant bombardment of insecticides and pesticides render soil's biotic community fragmented and silent enough to halt the efficient production of plant's natural chemical pesticides. This leaves plants defenseless against common predators and dependent on the regular application of insecticides for survival. But it is the farmer's survival that is ultimately at stake. The food she eats off her plate in Andhra Pradesh, India may now become dependent on a chemical insecticide made and transported from thousands of miles away. And as soil nutrients are used up by successively harvested crops, this same farmer becomes dependent on the energy intensive production and delivery of chemical fertilizers.
By resting soils, reducing tilling, growing nitrogen-fixing legumes, applying composts, and spreading rich manures, sustainable organic farming communities can develop fertile soils without relying on synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. All this added effort is paid back through a higher functioning ecosystem and its ability to create abundant nutrients and attract insect pest-predators.
A SUSTAINABLE WAY: FROM COMMODITY TO COMMUNITY
Long-Term Purchasing Agreements
Entering a business deal for one season—as most clothing companies do—does not give communities enough financial stability to invest in long-term community improvements. This is especially true for organic cotton farming that requires a three-year transition period as well as large investments in certifications.
Clothing companies make planning decisions from season to season, farmers make them from year to year, but the communities must make planning decisions for the long term.
To support our cotton we need to support the sustainability of the community providing it. We engage in sustainability initiatives within the community.