10 REASONS WHY HEMP CAN ASSIST IN THE SAVING OF THE PLANET

10 REASONS WHY HEMP CAN ASSIST IN THE SAVING OF THE PLANET

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to deny that the world is facing an environmental crisis: the planet is in trouble from pole to pole. Permafrost in the Arctic is melting 70 years faster than scientists predicted, according to a paper published in the academic journal Geophysical Research Letters in June 2019. In more densely populated areas, things aren’t much better. For example, Chennai’s reservoir has lost three billion cubic feet of water in the last year. The city is already reliant on tankers delivering water from other regions, which is an unsustainable solution.

Climate change is having an impact all over the world. Strong hurricanes, famine, war, extreme heatwaves, drought, and torrential rains are just a few of the consequences of climate change. To mitigate these effects, we must become more inventive in our search for lifestyle alternatives to reduce our carbon footprint.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to all of these problems, which are only getting worse. However, some experts believe that one plant, hemp, could be useful in reducing the impact of many of the world’s current problems.

What is HEMP?

It’s important to understand hemp’s capabilities to understand its environmental impact better. Industrial hemp comes from the same family as Cannabis sativa, and is frequently misidentified as cannabis and banned. Hemp, on the other hand, does not have the same levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabidiol) as cannabis and is therefore not used for recreational purposes.  

Industrial hemp has been used to make fabrics for centuries, but its fibrous materials are also used to make many other items. Hemp seeds and fibers, for example, are used to make concrete, plastic, fuel, rope, and food, and its natural compounds, such as CBD (cannabidiol) oils and other supplements, are used for medicinal purposes.

The multiple environmental benefits of industrial hemp make it an appealing and sustainable alternative. These positive effects reflect in three different aspects of sustainability: social, economic, and ecological.

Hemp, a hardy and renewable harvest crop that man has farmed since 8000 BCE, is one of the most promising sustainable resources. Hemp is one of the oldest crops on the planet. It’s also one of the most adaptable of the bunch. From plastics to paper, the hemp plant gives humanity the tools it needs to live in harmony with the environment and the ecosystems that sustain it — all without leaving us wanting.

Hemp was prized by previous generations for its renewable nature and wide range of applications. Because of its numerous environmental benefits, it can now provide even more help to humanity.

Hemp has significant and far-reaching environmental benefits. Reusable shopping bags, biodegradable plastics, and compostable cutlery are just a few ways to reduce one’s carbon footprint. Hemp and the environment are inextricably linked, with a wide range of advantages. Here are ten reasons why hemp can aid in the preservation of the environment.

Hemp is an outstanding renewable biofuel

The world is heavily reliant on several different fuel sources. As a result, the world suffers from environmental damage caused by oil extraction and fossil fuel emissions, which are led by companies that are exempt from most corporate taxes and are unlikely to stop producing anytime soon. Hemp, on the other hand, is an excellent way to change course, and industrial hemp is a natural and practical source of biodiesel, a plant-based fuel.

Most biofuels are produced on vast swaths of valuable farmland that would otherwise be used for food production. Hemp can grow in poor soil instead of valuable farmland dedicated to food crops, so this isn’t an issue.

Biodiesel made from industrial hemp is made from hemp seeds rather than plant material. Hemp seeds are frequently discarded, but they can be repurposed for biofuel production, demonstrating hemp’s environmental friendliness and versatility.

Hemp Conserves Water 

Cotton and other textile crops, for example, require a lot of water to reach their full potential. Cotton is used to make nearly one-third of all textiles in the world, and as a major commodity crop, it is subjected to 57 percent water stress. Our natural resources are severely strained as a result of this situation. One cotton t-shirt, for example, uses 2,700 liters of water to make.

Hemp, on the other hand, is a less water-intensive crop. It consumes far less of this precious resource, allowing for conservation rather than waste. Hemp also requires less land per pound of fiber to grow and can thrive in a wide range of climates and soil types.

Hemp, on the other hand, is a less water-intensive crop. It consumes far less of this precious resource, allowing for conservation rather than waste. Hemp also requires less land per pound of fiber to grow and can thrive in a wide range of climates and soil types.

 

Hemp Reduces Carbon Emissions

Carbon emissions reduction is one of the most difficult challenges we face to reduce our carbon footprint. Hemp acts as a purifier, absorbing carbon dioxide from the air and storing it within the plant. All plants do this, but hemp does it much faster than most other plants due to its rapid growth rate.

Carbon sequestration is the term for this process. Hemp cropping is expected to sequester an average of 10-22 tonnes of CO2 per hectare. Hemp’s rapid growth (it can reach 4 meters in 100 days) makes it one of the most efficient CO2-to-biomass conversion tools available, outperforming agroforestry.

Hemp Helps To Restore Soil Fertility

 

For us and the soil in which it grows, hemp is a nutrient powerhouse. Hemp plants return about 70% of their nutrients to the earth when they are grown. This means it takes a lot less fertilizer to grow, and fewer fertilizers mean cleaner water.

Hemp can also be used in bioremediation, a process that cleans up polluted soil. Hemp, as a phytoremediator, acts like a sponge, sucking toxins from the earth. Farmers are using hemp to restore their fields. Hemp was even used to remove radioactive agents from the ground following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

Hemp also benefits the farming environment by allowing crop rotation and its ability to replenish the soil and remove toxins, resulting in ideal sustainable farming conditions. In addition, planting hemp in depleted soil helps to prevent soil erosion and restore fertility.

 

 

Cultivating Hemp Prevents Deforestation

An estimated 19 million acres of forest are lost each year on our planet, with tropical deforestation, in particular, continuing at an unsustainable rate. These forests are frequently cleared to make way for cropland or tree harvesting for products like paper.

Industrial hemp fiber can be grown in smaller spaces and at a lower cost than paper-making wood fiber. Unlike wood pulp, which takes two decades to mature, hemp can produce four times the amount of pulp for paper in the same amount of space and half the time.

Even better, hemp paper can be recycled for much longer than paper made from tree wood. Hemp paper can be recycled seven to eight times, whereas wood pulp paper can be recycled three times. Hemp pulp contains more cellulose than wood pulp, resulting in a stronger paper without harming the environment.

Fabrics Made From Hemp Do Not Contain Chemical Residue

Did you know that most synthetic fibers we use today are made from polymer-based petrochemical materials (also known as highly toxic materials)? This process involves using a lot of gas, coal, or crude oil to produce these synthetic materials. In addition, harmful emissions are released into the air, and toxic residues remain within the fibers after this manufacturing process is completed.

However, it is possible to avoid this problem by using hemp instead. Hemp fibers are easily removed from the plant and can create clothing with zero chemical residue—a very durable fabric, highly resistant to fading due to sunlight and resistant to UV rays.

Hemp Can Produce Sustainable Bio-Plastics

Hundreds of billions of pounds of plastic have been produced in the last 60 years, with nearly half of all plastic being single-use, posing a threat to people and wildlife. Chemicals can leak from plastics buried in landfills into the soil and groundwater. Invasive species and harmful microorganisms can also use floating plastic waste as a mode of transportation.

Hemp plastics are both light and strong, as well as completely biodegradable. Even better, hemp plastics are free of the chemicals that are found in conventional plastics. These chemicals have the potential to cause significant changes in the human endocrine system. Hemp plastics are a healthy and environmentally friendly option.

 Hemp Can Be Used To Construct Mold And Fire-Resistant Structures

Did you know that hemp can be used to construct homes? Hempcrete is a durable and breathable material made from a simple combination of hemp hurds and lime. The addition of lime produces an alkaline material that is resistant to bacterial and fungal attacks.

Hempcrete’s excellent insulation reduces energy consumption, which is one of the main advantages of using it. The building has minimal heating and cooling losses, implying a constant energy output to keep it cool or warm. This saves you money on your electric bill!

Hempcrete is also resistant to fire. A blowtorch was held over a concrete block for several minutes, and it barely smoked. In Australia, it appears to be a no-brainer to begin building with hemp.

Hemp Can Be Grown Anywhere

Hemp, unlike many other plant species, can be grown in a variety of climates. As a result, hemp’s environmental benefits can be felt all over the world. Furthermore, hemp seeds are a good source of protein and essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Farming hemp is a way to provide nutrition and improve soil fertility for other foods for the world’s poorer and disadvantaged communities.

Hemp Is Naturally Disease And Pest-Resistant

Chemicals, pesticides, and fungicides have a disastrous impact on the environment, contaminating soil, water, and air, reducing biodiversity, and causing illnesses. The most important industrial crops, such as cotton and soybeans, are grown with extensive pesticide use, resulting in a significant increase in global chemical use. Chemical pesticides are not used in the planting and harvesting of industrial hemp.

Hemp is naturally resistant to fungi, insects, and diseases, making it a highly resilient crop. As a result, farmers who grow hemp do not need to use chemicals to manage their crops.

Agricultural development may also benefit from reliance on more natural plants, such as hemp, as climate change threatens food security and production, as well as potential supply shortages.

Final Thoughts

Hemp farming was only legal in a few pilot programs in select parts of the United States in 2018. As a result, industrial hemp farming was prohibited. That changed in 2018 when the 2018 Farm Bill was passed, and hemp was officially removed from the Controlled Substances Act.
Hemp is now a viable and legal crop to grow, sell, and trade in the same way that soybeans and cotton are. However, the hemp market is still in its early stages of development and is not yet well-known enough to allow for widespread access to research, seeds, and supply chains.
We’re still learning about the many uses hemp has for humans, and we can’t expect one crop to solve all of our climate change issues. However, as people become more aware of the effects of global warming on our environment and lives, hemp may soon become one of the sustainable resources leading the way in a climate revolution.

References

Adrian Johansen. 2020. The Environmental Impact of Hemp – Is Hemp Sustainable?
https://get-green-now.com/environmental-impact-of-hemp/

7 environmental benefits of hemp
https://www.vassevalley.com.au/environmental-benefits-of-hemp/

8 Reasons Why Hemp Can Save The Planet
https://cannabis.net/blog/opinion/8-reasons-why-hemp-can-save-the-planet.362045

Niamh Tumilty. Can Hemp Save the Planet?
https://cannabismd.com/news/trending-business/can-hemp-save-the-planet/#:~:text=According%20to%20a%20report%20from%20the%20agriculture%20technology,all%20the%20problems%20it%20entails%29%20around%20the%20world.

15 Mind-Blowing Ways Hemp Can Save the World
https://wakeup-world.com/2016/12/10/15-mind-blowing-ways-hemp-can-save-the-world/

 

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