What is organic?
What is organic?
The term organic is now widely used to describe the products of agriculture that use no pesticides or synthetic fertilisers. Organic methods consider the whole eco system and use natural techniques to assist plant growth, repel pests and protect and encourage wildlife habitats. Organic agriculture aims to maintain and increase soil fertility and give livestock humane living conditions.
Why Go Organic? Pesticide Farming:
Organic living is becoming an increasingly obvious choice. People today are more aware of the damage caused by the pesticides used in agriculture. Whilst pesticides are initially very effective, soon the pests become resistant and stronger and stronger pesticides are required to achieve the same results. The unnaturally high yields also strip the soil of its nutrients, until eventually the soil becomes barren and uneconomical to farm.
The developing world faces an agricultural crisis in the face of this vicious circle; the use of pesticides in these countries is unregulated, and with no governmental price support, the increasing yields achieved using pesticides have forced prices down, forcing other farmers to use these chemicals too.
Now the soil is frequently turning barren or the victim to new, pesticide resistant insects and farmers are heavily indebted to pesticide suppliers and landlords, often with little hope for a way out.
Pesticides and the Planet Many pesticides are known irritants and suspected or known carcinogens. Two of the most prevalent chemicals used on cotton include tribufos (a defoliant that can cause respiratory problems and considered a human carcinogen by the Environment Protection Agency and methyl parathion one of the pesticides which flowed into the Big Nance Creek, Alabama, in 1995, contaminating the water supply and killing over 245,000 fish).1 Pesticides have thus been shown to enter the food chain and disrupt the natural balance of the eco-system. They can be carried through the atmosphere too, and traces of the pesticide DDT (banned in the 1970s) have been found in the fat of arctic penguins.
Pesticides and You
But pesticides don't only harm the earth. By eating or absorbing pesticides you are exposing your body to its effects. The chemicals used do not always fully wash out, so any non-organic foods you eat place traces of these chemicals directly into your system. Some sources report that 60% of field workers in the cotton industry show symptoms of permanent poisoning. Equally worrying is that these pesticides have not only been linked to declining sperm counts, they have also been found in the milk of animals and nursing mothers. In contrast, organically produced clothing are grown by working in harmony with nature and without the use of any pesticides or genetically modified organisms. Living an organic life is most certainly about being healthy, but it is also very much about re-creating a healthy planet for the future.