April 2007
Cotton - The peril and the promise


This magic crop was once thought to be the 'white gold' that would lead the Global South out of poverty. But all is not well, neither in the cotton fields nor in the sweatshop factories that turn out your T-shirts and blue jeans. We follow the cotton chain and find links that are tangled in exploitation and tragedy. Our editor travels to India to discover an unfolding disaster - and the determination to reshape the fabric of the cotton economy. But there's more to the story of cotton than that - a fascinating history, a contested present and a perilous future filled with promise.








2 Cotton: peril and promise
Richard Swift wonders if there are better ways to get along with this difficult shrub.

4 Whatever happened to cotton?
Jim Thomas looks back from 2035.

7 Death by cotton
India's farmers have been killing themselves by the thousands. Richard Swift finds out why.

10 Organic and beyond
Can a shift to organic create a sustainable yield? Richard Swift weighs the evidence.


14 Powerloom prison
India's textile industry is changing - and the workers are not the beneficiaries. Dionne Bunsha reports.

16 Natural alternatives

17 Big cotton, little cotton
The US vs Africa

18 Cotton - a history

20 Sweat, fire and ethics
Bob Jeffcott makes the case against ethical shopping.

22 Currents
The international round-up continues on Page 24 with more highlights from the World Social Forum in Nairobi.
PLUS: Seriously...

25 Worldbeaters
Two for the price of one, in the shape of Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Poland's President and Prime Minister Lech and Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

26 Mixed Media

28 Southern Exposure
Women on an anti-poverty project, by South African photographer Cedric Nunn.

29 View from Lagos
Street sellers have been banned and 'ugly' buildings torn down in Nigeria's new capital, Abuja. To Ike Oguine, it smacks of social cleansing.

30 Essay: Mountains & freedom
Jay Griffiths pursues the poetic resonance of liberation in the world's high places.

32 Big Bad World
A fashion victim extraordinaire, in Polyp's latest cartoon.
PLUS: NI Prize Crossword

33 Making Waves
Why the Hawai'ian language is so precious to poet and activist Haunani-Kay Trask.

34 Letters

36 Country Profile - Nicaragua





NI Japan




<This month's translation>

- Cotton: peril and promise (NI p2-3)

- Death by cotton (NI p7-9)

- Organic and beyond (NI p10-11, 16)

- Natural alternatives (NI p16)

- COTTON - THE FACTS (NI p12-13)

- Country Profile - Nicaragua (NI p36)

- Currents
--- World Social Forum in Nairobi. (NI p22)
--- Big Bad World (NI p32)

PLUS: Reporting from Japan
Japanese native cotton, Gandhi and You
by Caitlin Stronell (NI Japan)


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