Dear Umbra, I've never appreciated human-made fabrics -- polyester and its cousins invariably feel less comfortable to me than cotton or wool. Until recently, I thought this personal preference also had the happy side effect of making me a greener clothes shopper, since producing natural fibers doesn't involve long chains of polymers. A friend recently claimed otherwise, telling me that the growth, harvesting, and shipping of cotton from around the globe (indeed, my very favorite all-cotton shirt was manufactured in Burma -- yikes!) means it does more damage to the environment than the factories that produce the artificial fabrics. Is …
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