Forrest Laws 1, Director of Content

April 15, 2016

2 Min Read

Nostalgia. I’ve been trying for years to figure out why activists make such nonsensical statements about technology they know so little about, and that’s one of the reasons I keep coming back to.

There’s a mindset in this country that seems to believe if we just turn back the clock on some of the breakthroughs of recent years, we can go back to a simpler time that, quite frankly, never existed or, where it did, wasn’t nearly as rosy as some imagine.

Three activist groups – the Pesticides Action Network UK, Solidaridad and WWF – recently published a report “Mind the Gap: Towards a More Sustainable Cotton Market” which was picked up by textile media outlets. (Read sustainable as “organically-produced” cotton).

The report contains a photo of a boy holding a hoe in a bare field. I can’t guess what the authors were thinking, but the photo is nothing short of criminal. Anyone who ever spent any time in a pre-1960s cotton field knows hoeing cotton is one of the most mind-numbing, thankless tasks ever invented.

The photo seems to be glorifying hand-weeding in “sustainable” or organic cotton vs. using herbicides. What it shows is a labor system that basically condemns its subjects to a life of stultifying manual labor; a system that will never allow this young man or a young woman to reach their full potential as human beings.

The article glosses over this fact of labor-intensive organic production, instead chastising retailers for not buying more of the "sustainable" product and thus discouraging purchases of conventionally-produced cotton, which use crop inputs that have been proven safe in years of testing.

The report says the authors’ “sustainable” cotton production has now reached 8 percent of the total global supply. (Do activists ever wonder why the percentage of organically-grown crops remains so small?) But, it notes, only 17 percent of sustainable clothing is being bought by retailers.

It continues to amaze that while most of us have spent decades trying to move away from real, live human beings having to spend 10 to 11 hours a day in back-breaking labor to barely earn a living, we have supposedly well-educated people who keep trying to draw us backwards with their anti-technology propaganda.

To see the report, visit

About the Author(s)

Forrest Laws 1

Director of Content, Farm Press

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