# 3 Cotton & Our Oceans

Cotton and Oceanic Dead Zones:

“Dead Zones” are Oxygen deprived zones that will not support life, are found in every ocean around the world and vary in size up to 200 – 300 miles wide.  These low-oxygen "dead zones" have suddenly been appearing along various coastal regions throughout the world recently and result from a variety of causes. For example, a low-oxygen zone appears each spring off the coast of Louisiana due to fertilizers in farm runoff and sewage present in the Mississippi River. When the Mississippi flows into the sea, it creates a nutrient-rich area that triggers huge but short-lived algal blooms that soon die, sink to the seafloor and are decomposed by bacteria that produce toxic sulfide gases. As the bacteria break down the dead algae and other microscopic plants and animals, dissolved oxygen is removed from the seawater, thereby creating a low-oxygen "dead zone" where most creatures cannot survive.

How do we fix the Problem?

How do we fix the problem?  Well that is not as easy or quick as you might think.  On a global basis we nearly lost our stocks of heirloom cotton seeds, the only ones that have the natural genetic ability to be grown organically.  You could not grow any conventional cotton seed or GMO seeds organically.  The organism no longer has the ability to fend for itself, properly photosynthesize its food, nor does it have an immune system to even begin to fight off pest attacks.  This is why it requires an inordinate amount of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.  Fortunately, the British and the Indian Governments did some responsible seed banking and have the largest source of heirloom cotton seeds.  Many other countries also shared in responsible seed banking and the overall result is that more and more seeds are being made available that can be grown organically.  Obviously the process and the supply of seed stock makes organic cotton fabrics more expensive, but also superior and more comfortable.  As long as we, the buying public, support this effort by demanding more responsible products and paying a little more, we can increase the supply of organic cotton and bring the price down. 


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