Friday, April 20, 2007


[Image right of author with Bobby Pugh of The Hemp Shop, hanging out at The Body Shop in Knightsbridge, just before picketing the Anya Hindmarch shop. Photo by Chris Sanders, whose posts on the subject can be found at on March 23]

In Little Shop of Horrors, the main character is a plant who grows and grows and insists on being fed. "Feed me Seymour", it bleats to the young shop assistant. Nerdy young Seymour obeys.

Many in the world today are obeying the orders from an overgrown pest, the cotton industry. It uses 50% of the world's pesticides, and by growing Glossypium ubiquitously, creates a dangerous monocrop situation where pests thrive. But what may be worse, and what cannot be cured by ill-informed do-gooders trying to revamp cotton's image by offering us organic cotton (along with Kosher pork chops...), is the fact that cotton is thirsty and consumes vast amounts of water; the Aral Sea is now half the size it was in the 1960s, the Indus is in danger, and cotton crops in Australia simply fail, after selfishly using up all the water around.

On 25 April cotton bags, and not even organic cotton bags, will go on sale at Sainsburys all over the UK. The production of these bags has helped to kill many people, according to Katherine Hamnett, some 142,000 Indians die or fall prey to diseases brought on by cotton culture every year. But who cares when you have the press on your side? These people are as idealistic as the National Socialist Party, and they do not want facts. Make them look cool and they'll not care that they are fools, or that their cotton goods are brough in blood. At the Natural Products Show at London's Olympia this Monday, there were the preachers of cotton all over the place, all beaming with joy at the fact that they are feeding and watering this monster plant. They were as naked as the Emperor, and even the rather large cotton leaf could not hide their ignorance, or their greed.

Why are they not campaigning for hemp, jute, bamboo or ramie? Bags, for instance, do not need to be soft and tactile, they need to have the strong fibres of hemp or jute. But to answer the question, let's look at the money involved. The cotton industry can pump millions into the press whores who then go out and swoon for the crop that is turning the Aral Sea and the Indus into dry beds. They will write their articles about cotton and never go live anywhere near these waterways. High and dry they will be, but somewhere in New York or London.

Join us on April 25 at Camden Sainsburys to protest against the use of cotton for the Anya Hindmarch bags they are selling, for more info contact me at

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