The Earth’s resources must be used at a rate at which they can be replenished. However, there is now clear scientific evidence that humanity is living in an unsustainable fashion, and that an unprecedented collective effort is needed to return human use of natural resources to within sustainable limits. Therefor the Environmental Importance for HEMP and Climate Change is crucial!
In 1989, the World Commission on Environment and Development articulated what has now become a widely accepted definition of sustainability: “to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” –Wikipedia
Crucial facts for CLIMATE CHANGE
Hemp converts the sun’s energy via photosynthesis into multi-beneficial cellulose faster than any other plant. Hemp is at least four times richer in cellulose potential than the already legal sources, such as cornstalk and sugarcane, traditionally used for biomass production. Further, hemp is so low-moisture and woody that little to no energy is required to dry the crop prior to biomass conversion, which is not the case for other sources like sugarcane and maize.
According to the IPCC, while fossil-fuel combustion is the primary cause of greenhouse-gas emissions generated by humans (57 percent), deforestation comes in second, contributing almost one-fifth of climate-altering emissions in the form of increased CO2.
According to the Environmental Defense Fund, 32 million acres of tropical rainforest have been cut down every year since 2000. The EDF notes that any realistic plan to reduce global warming has to preserve these rainforests, which absorb CO2 in the air and replace it with oxygen — just as cannabis does. If these rainforests are the lungs of the planet, then hemp can be seen as Earth’s oxygen tank.
Hemp is a suitable replacement for the wood derived from these forests because its fiber is more durable and can be recycled more frequently than wood fiber. Also, the plant’s roots penetrate a foot into the soil during the first six weeks of growth — and can ultimately extend down to eight feet — allowing the plant to withstand flooding. Hemp can also survive intermittent frosts reaching as low as 12°F. Hemp doesn’t require fertilizer or herbicides, and it enriches rather than depletes the soil via aeration through its deep roots.
The hardy and versatile hemp plant would naturally assimilate in forests and tree plantations, although this process would result in initial start-up costs for making the transition. But like every other front in the fight against global warming, it comes down to prioritizing the long-term sustainability of the planet over a shortsighted bottom line.
The various processes for converting hemp biomass into fuel are too numerous to be discussed in this article, but the most promising appears to be hydrolysis, because it can potentially yield 100 gallons per ton by converting cellulose into fermentable glucose. This means a single acre of hemp can theoretically produce ten tons — or 1,000 gallons of fuel — per growing season.
The US Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency are all on record declaring the production of biodiesel and bioethanol as essential for addressing the environmental crisis caused by fossil fuels.
This is especially true since, one way or another, the days of fossil fuels are numbered. There will come a point in time when all fossil fuels have been depleted, despite being technically “renewable” because plant and animal materials create such fuels. Since the process takes millions of years, we are depleting known fossil-fuel reserves at a much faster rate than new ones are able to form, which means that workable alternative sources of energy must eventually be harnessed if we are to maintain our present car culture.
- It replaces trees as the source of raw material for wood and paper, thereby conserving forests. Trees take years to grow, while a crop of hemp can be grown in a few months. One acre of hemp produces as much paper annually as 4 acres of trees.
- When burning hemp as a fuel, carbon dioxide is released into the air, but this is absorbed by the next crop, which can be harvested 120 days after planting. This quick growth avoids the build-up of carbon dioxide. Also, hemp is a very leafy plant and thus contributes a high level of oxygen to the atmosphere during its growth; between 20 and 40%. This makes up for the loss of oxygen when it is burnt as a fuel, which in turn, reduces unwanted effects of global warming, acid rain and the depletion in the ozone layer on the environment.
- Air pollution is reduced since hemp is naturally resistant to pests and does not need pesticides and herbicides to be sprayed. Very little fertilizers are required, since it’s abundant leaves fall into the soil and release the required nutrients and minerals, thereby creating better soil tilth. Cotton and flax are known to consume 50% of all pesticides; hemp replaces cotton as a raw material in the manufacturing of paper and cloth, and flax fiber or seed for animal feed, animal bedding and paper.
- Soil enrichment: The hemp crop grows dense and vigorously. Sunlight cannot penetrate the plants to reach the ground, and this means the crop is normally free of weeds. Its deep roots use groundwater and reduce its salinity. Also, erosion of topsoil is limited, thereby reducing water pollution. The roots give nitrogen and other nutrients to the soil. After the harvest, this soil makes excellent compost amendments for other plants, and hemp cultivation can follow the rotation of agriculture with wheat or soybean. In fact, the same soil can be used to grow hemp for many years, without losing its high quality. The hemp plant absorbs toxic metals emitted by nuclear plants into the soil, such as copper, cadmium, lead and mercury.
- Fabrics made of hemp do not have any chemical residue, and is therefore safe for consumers. Even if the fabric contains only 50% hemp, it can keep the UV rays of the sun from harming the skin underneath.
Hemp products can be recycled, reused and are 100% biodegradable. The growth speed of the plant is fast enough to meet the increasing industrial and commercial demand for these products. Switching to hemp products will help save the environment, leaving a cleaner and greener planet for the next generation.
The current state of Hemp does not seem to be focused on fiber. why?
Colorado is more closely associated with cannabis production, but it is also the leading producer of hemp. On the state level, hemp was legalized in Colorado back in 2012, so producers have had a huge headstart on the competition.
Kentucky has retaken its place as a major producer of hemp since the crop was legalized by state legislators in 2013. Before the change in federal law, there were over 200 licensed hemp growers in the state as well as 43 processors.
Oregon, North Dakota, Minnesota and New York are other major producers of hemp. These states benefited from their legislators legalizing hemp years before the federal law changed.
Other agricultural states are almost certain to embrace hemp as a crop now that the crop is legal on the federal level.
For the first time in our life, we as a country and a society can have hope for a sustainable thriving future. We now have the ability to utilize our natural resources of HEMP, especially hemp for fiber. Side note here, Hemp fiber is used for industry so the level of THC is non-existent, it’s a non-issue. No one’s going to smoke a shoe, a house, even a piece of paper or hemp plastic. This is a big benefit to this industry, the regulation change, there’s no ingestion of the plant on any level. So again the question is why not grow hemp fiber?
Darlene Mea is a long-standing media personality in the world of alternative everything. Since the early 1980s she has been involved in television, radio, print and multi-media. She represents all things natural, sustainable and life-promoting and has dedicated her life to going beyond the status quo message of being told what’s good for us, to providing options for a more holistic lifestyle. Since discovering the world of Hemp in early 2015 she has been on a mission to inform everyone on how to become involved in this exciting natural product that continues to revolutionize the world of health, beauty and design.