Location: California, USA.
Globally, 35 million hectares of cotton are under cultivation. To control the numerous pests feeding on the cotton plant farmers have long relied on heavy application of insecticides, which leads to the pollution of surface and groundwater. In many regions, rainfall is insufficient to grow these vast amounts of cotton, but the deficit is made up by irrigating the fields with water from nearby rivers or from wells. Wherever it comes from, the water withdrawals can be so massive that they diminish river flows significantly and deplete groundwater, resulting in drought and environmental distress.
Organic farming has a much lower environmental impact; it uses significantly less water from local water resources and does not allow the use of toxic chemicals, which improves soil health and reduces water pollution impacts.
Organic farming requires crop rotation and composting, which promotes soil health and helps lock CO2 into the soil, helping to mitigate climate change.²