World water day and the textile industry
World water day 2021
World water day 2021 focuses on the meaning of water , it’s value and what we can do to protect and preserve this vital resource. Although water is abundant on this planet, covering 70% of the earths surface, freshwater is less prevalent. When we take away salt water, and water frozen in icecaps that leaves less than 1% accessible for animals and humans!
Now, factor in population increase, climate change and societal change and we begin to see how scarce this resource is and it’s potential to cause conflict on varying scales. It has been predicted that the wars of the 21st century are to be over water, not oil. When you think about it, dwindling water resources are far more concerning that the potential of oil drying up. Oil has alternatives; wind, solar, nuclear, thermal and natural gas in comparison there is no substitute for water.
The textile industry
Water scarcity is increasing, with the existing climate change scenario, by 2030 water scarcity is predicted to displace between 24 million and 700 million people. Without access to clean and accessible water a population has little chance of developing.
The textile industry consumes and pollutes a lot of freshwater. Whether it being from dyes, bleaching or unsustainable farming practices. Cotton cultivation also consumes a lot of pesticides, in fact 16.5% of pesticides used globally are used on cotton, despite only being grown on 2.4% of the worlds arable land. These pesticides often pollute local areas drinking water supplies.
57% of global cotton production takes place in areas experiencing high or extreme water stress
But what can I do?
This is why I choose to buy GOTS certified clothing made from organic cotton. By choosing these standards I know the cotton has been grown and manufactured using no toxic chemicals, is kind to the soil and also used 88% less water through practices such as the integrated watershed approach and catchment management.
I also buy preloved clothing, this reduces the environmental burden of textiles as an item is kept in circulation for longer. When so much water is consumed to make garments isn’t it shocking that 85% of the clothing Americans consume is sent to landfills each year.
Check out the buy back scheme at Barefoot Baby to create a circular economy and help to reduce water consumption from textiles.