How will Climate Change Affect Future Cotton Supplies?

Green and gold paisley cotton print with hints of turquoise and burgundy, "Green and Gold Paisley Pattern", by GDJ, openclipart.org
Green and gold paisley cotton print with hints of turquoise and burgundy, "Green and Gold Paisley Pattern", by GDJ, openclipart.org

How will climate change affect cotton's future growth and development, and what kinds of solutions exist to mitigate the challenges ahead? Learn more about cotton and climate change in this article at Ensia(link to article). I'm sharing the first part, below, followed by a link to continue reading on the Ensia website. That's the best way to take in all the cool images. Besides, Ensia features so many informative and engaging articles on environmental topics that you might want to read more while you're there!

Grateful to Ensia for climate change/cotton project

It was an honor to be part of the Ensia Mentor Program , and I recommend this program to anyone interested in environmental journalism. But I'm also grateful to Elizabeth Braun, my mentor, who advised on appropriate sources and connected me with Professor Michael Gore at Cornell University. Professor Gore's paper provided invaluable information and stretched the owl's scientific understanding of plant breeding.

This article was written by Laura Routh and originally published at Ensia.


Look who’s helping your clothes make the transition to a warmer world

The cotton industry is turning to innovation to help it weather challenging growing conditions ahead

February 20, 2017 — From well-loved jeans to linens, sneakers and T-shirts, cotton is woven into the products we love. Indeed, it is the most widely used natural fiber on the planet. Its use dates back to approximately 3500 BC in India and 3000 BC in Peru. Cotton plants — relatives of okra and hibiscus — are cultivated on every continent but Antarctica. All together, they produce some 20 million metric tons (22 million tons) of raw material for soft, breathable and absorptive textiles and other products each year.

But our affinity for cotton is facing bumpy roads ahead. Increasing temperatures, drought, limited freshwater and unpredictable rain patterns are expected to alter cotton plants’ ability to grow and produce. By 2100, given the slowest climate warming models, yields could decline in the U.S. by 30 to 46 percent. As a result, cotton producers around the world are working to get a handle on what climate change means for their crops and what they can be doing now to minimize problems ahead.

Please continue reading at Ensia.