(SPONSORED) — Cotton is a staple in our lives, but climate change is threatening our production. Director of the UCCS Economic Forum Tatiana Bailey, explains the impact of the changing industry.
Bailey said that she had been speaking about the high probability of inflation and its relation to what she believes are three transitions happening at once, and those are food, energy, and demographics.
Bailey said that all three are interrelated and that makes them harder to navigate. An agricultural resource that we all use that isn’t food, is cotton, which has been impacted by the energy transition and climate change.
According to Bailey, cotton is being harvested on the smallest amount of farmland since 1870 and that is being caused by the 42% of the U.S. that was in drought conditions this summer. Bailey said that even with the existence of many synthetic materials, 40% of all textiles in the U.S. use cotton.
“From the clothes, we wear to the couches we sit on, exacerbating the reduced capacity to produce cotton is the fact that even one cotton t-shirt uses 2700 liters of water in the production process,” said Bailey. “To give that context, the average human uses 50 liters of water for basic daily living, and this is all according to NYU professor Scott Galloway.”
Synthetic materials also use a lot of water and energy to produce. Bailey explains that there is a lot of energy and water usage required in the manufacturing of clothes, which she believes is driving the increase in thrift shopping.
Bailey doesn’t think that what’s happening in the cotton industry is going to make clothing more expensive this holiday season. However, this is a sign of what is happening overall and how that is impacting the abundance of goods and the relatively low prices of goods in the past.