In a rapidly changing world, alternatives to slow down eco-harmful situations are sought out. One of these alternatives, are using hemp plants instead of trees for a variety of economical and environmental matters. You may be wondering why a hemp plant is an alternative and in what way. Well, I’m here to tell you from the point-of-views of personal home use and industrial use.
A hemp plant is a flowering plant (or herb) that can be cultivated for a multitude of purposes, and has been for many centuries. Also known as Cannabis Sativa, the hemp plant is usually confused with the marijuana plant as they are familiar in bloom and aroma, however the hemp plant contains a significant less amount – about 1% – of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is used to receive a ‘high’ during smoking of marijuana.
As an extremely versatile plant, the hemp has many ecological benefits. It is one of the most environmentally sustainable crops that can be grown, is naturally resistant to pests, grows quickly – requiring less water than most crops, and every part of the plant can be used in a variety of industrial and consumer purposes. Amazingly, it produces 250% more fiber than cotton and is used for products as simple as paper, to as complex as auto parts. Creating materials that are stronger than wood or concrete, the hemp plant also produces oil that is used for cosmetic and cooking products.
Trees, on the other hand, can produce the same products and environmental benefits but at a less significant rate. Products made from trees have a less sustainable material factor, require longer growth periods – 20 years for maturity, compared to hemp’s 12-14 week growth cycle – and are more of a headache to cultivate.
In forms of alternative energy, the hemp plant produces significant benefits to the environment unlike a tree. A hemp plant contains practically no sulfur or other contaminants found in petroleum, which are the cause behind acid rain. Unlike fossil fuels, the hemp plant is renewable due to the recycling of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) during photosynthesis, causing less pollution. Also, when burned, hemp plants cause only a small portion on the pollution of fossil fuels.
Summarized, global warming is a buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere. Around 80% of CO2 added to the atmosphere per year, comes directly from burning of natural gas, coal and oil deposit. Therefore compared to a tree which absorbs 26 pounds of CO2 per year, the hemp plant is a better choice as they absorb about 4 times more CO2 during its growth cycle. As the hemp plant absorbs the CO2 released during its burning process, it’s considered a “closed carbon cycle” which slows down the effects of global warming dramatically.
Industrial hemp production would not only globally scale the transfer of CO2, but unlike the tree, its nontoxic, biodegradable, and renewable and can be grown in all 50 states. Because of its rapid CO2 uptake, it’s also more versatile and productive than typical forestry projects. The hemp plant can replace significant quantities of tree usage, and maintain the CO2 uptake that effects our environment.Overall, it’s a multi-purpose crop that would play an important role in reducing and repairing environmental damage.
Reality? If we wanted to, we could produce all of our energy from the hemp plant. Some believe, we could rid of global warming completely by 2050 if we relied solely on the hemp plant.
Currently being harvested in over 30 countries, hemp is legal in nations such as Canada, Japan and the European Union and is legally recognized as a commercial crop by North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). However, the movement for legalization in America still pushes forward as we continue to import loads of hemp fiber, seeds and oil. So far Vermont and North Dakota have laws allowing for the cultivation of hemp, while others such as Maryland, Hawaii and Kentucky are feeling resistance from the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (FDA.)
For those in support of the benefits hemp plants have to offer, there are many support groups and advocates to join. With more information, our nation can move toward utilizing the hemp plant for the 30,000 ways it can help our planet become a better place.
This post was created by Philippe Allaire, a French Canadian with a passion for the environment. Been a parent, Philippe looks to better the future in every way he can for them. Let’s be kind to mother earth, and she will keep on giving. Visit www.greenieproducts.com for many items that could help you reduce your CO2 emmisions.