4 Remarkable Ways Hemp Can Save the Planet
With the capability to produce vital resources such as rope, clothing, and paper, the hemp plant has played a crucial role throughout our history. Archeological evidence suggests that we’ve been using hemp since as early as 8,000 B.C., making it the first plant ever cultivated.
While this humble plant has undoubtedly served as an invaluable resource throughout our early history, it may serve an even greater purpose in our immediate future.
Harmful fossil fuels, mountains of plastic, and our monstrous growth sucking the earth’s resources dry. The realization that our current population is terribly unsustainable is the biggest problem of our time, ultimately leading to a not-so-happy ending.
Contrary to the efforts of today’s greatest minds, the solution to this problem might not be some profound technological advancement or a groundbreaking formula. In fact, it may be as simple as a humble plant.
With the ability to serve as a natural alternative to our most crucial resources, the hemp plant may be just the solution we need.
Get ready to be amazed―here’s 4 Remarkable Ways Hemp Can Save the Planet!
4 Ways Hemp Can Save The Planet
Hemp Can Produce a Biodegradable Alternative to Plastic
Invented by Leo Baekeland in 1907, synthetic plastic was originally deemed “the material of a thousand uses.”
While, at the time, we believed plastic was an innovative solution with endless possibilities, we are now faced the massive nightmare it has created.
Since it was first mass-produced just six decades ago, we have accumulated over 9 billion metric tons of plastic, with more than 6.9 billion tons of it becoming waste. Even worse, experts estimate that, of that waste, 6.3 billion tons of plastic has not been recycled.
Basically… we have 6.3 BILLION TONS of this stuff lying around our planet. And, did I forget to mention that plastic takes over 400 years to decompose?
Long story short―plastic is an astronomical problem, and the impact it has on our planet is so massive that we can’t even comprehend it.
So what do we do about it?
While it might be impossible to get rid of the existing plastic on our planet, we can be proactive against this problem by using biodegradable alternatives to plastic and urging others to do the same.
While it may come as a surprise, the fiber inside hemp can be used to produce a plastic alternative that offers the same capabilities of synthetic plastic and it’ s fully biodegradable.
Many eco-conscious brands and companies have already started using hemp plastics in their products, and with global brands like Coca Cola experimenting with plant-based plastic alternatives, hemp plastic might just be the plastic of the future.
Hemp Alternatives Can Reduce the Negative Impacts of Industrialization
The ability to produce plastic is absolutely amazing, but the production capabilities of hemp doesn’t stop there.
The same fibers that can be used to produce plastic can also produce a variety of eco-friendly alternatives that will help preserve the world’s natural resources:
- Hempcrete is a natural material made using hemp shivs and lime that can replace concrete, drywall, and insulation. It is 7 times lighter so it’s easier to work with, and provides more efficient insulation, thermal regulation, and fire resistance compared to concrete.
- Hemp can be used to produce a steel alternative that is 10 times stronger than steel and 6 times more efficient at mending and bending than steel. The use of hemp steel will also reduce the negative impacts of steel production such as harmful emissions into the air and water, waste, and energy usage.
- The fibers in hemp can be used to replace wood in most applications, and can produce products such as flooring, roofing, insulation, and many other building materials.
Hemp-based materials have been used to produce entire cars and houses, buildings, and more. In many cases, the hemp-based versions are more efficient and cost-effective to their traditional counterparts.
Hemp Can Produce Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Fuel
If you aren’t blown away by hemp just yet, this might do the trick.
Not only can hemp help preserve our planet and improve our manufacturing, it can help fuel us forward and decrease our dependence on fossil fuels.
According to the National Hemp Association, hemp can be used to produce two types of fuels:
- Biodiesel — produced from the oil of the pressed hemp seed
- Ethanol/Methanol — produced from the fermented hemp stalk
With the increasing problems surrounding traditional fossil fuels and oils, the need for a natural alternative is stronger than ever. Hemp is the only alternative fuel that can run in any unmodified diesel engine, and provides a solution that is more efficient, more affordable, and most importantly, more sustainable than traditional fuel.
Henry Ford even built his first car (which used a hemp steel!) to run on hemp fuel.
Bottom line, Hemp Fuel is a no brainer, and will undoubtedly have a positive impact on our global footprint.
Hemp Can Help Save the Trees
As the human population continues to grow, so do its demands for resources. One of resources that is most significantly impacted by our growth is the trees.
A 2015 study published in the Nature journal estimated that we cut down an astronomical 15 billion trees every year, and since the rise of human civilization, the population of trees has decreased 46%.
Because trees provide oxygen into the atmosphere and absorb carbon dioxide, the steady decrease of the trees would radically change our atmosphere and intensify climate change. Eventually, the Earth could be uninhabitable.
Needless to say, we need to make a shift.
With the ability to produce paper, fiber, wood, building material, and other wood products, hemp fiber is the ideal alternative to wood and the ideal solution to this problem.
Not only can hemp be used to produce the same wood products as a tree―it’s more cost effective and efficient.
With a harvest time of just 4 months and the ability to produce 4 times more paper per acre than a traditional tree, hemp is not only the more sustainable choice―it’s the smarter choice.
What’s in Store for the Future of Hemp?
Throughout our existence, the hemp plant has served as a vital resource, and even now, it continues to prove crucial to our survival.
While the hemp plant offers these remarkable solutions, many are being barred by the government and public stigma. Most of these breakthroughs have been long known, but aren’t being implemented and we have some theories as to why they aren’t.
To bring these solutions to reality and change the world through hemp, we face two obstacles―awareness and education.
Based on what we’ve seen recently, I definitely think that the general stigma towards hemp and cannabis is improving throughout the world. The general public seems to be more aware, while the usage of hemp and cannabis is slowly becoming acceptable.
With the efforts of brands like CBD Origin, Ministry of Hemp, and Leafly educating the public, combined with the industry advocates and Cannabis/Hemp users spreading the word, I see a very green future ahead of us. Let’s work together to spread the awareness and drive the community forward.
If you’re able, try shifting your own lifestyle using one or more of the hemp alternatives described in this article. It can be as easy as choosing an eco-friendly brand over one who isn’t or recycling those bottles on your kitchen table; or, if you’re ambitious, use hemp-based building materials in your next DIY project or make a conscious shift and pledge to living a sustainable life.
Protecting our planet and repairing some of the damage that’s been done definitely won’t be an easy task, but as a society, we can make an impact by all doing our part.
Thanks so much for reading my article, I hope that it inspired you and brought knowledge and enjoyment to your life. If you have any comments or questions, post them in the comments below and I’ll be stoked to start a discussion with you!
With the capability to produce vital resources such as rope, clothing, and paper, the hemp plant has played a crucial role throughout our history. Archeological evidence suggests that we’ve been…
15 Mind-Blowing Ways Hemp Can Impact the Planet
Hemp is one of the world’s oldest crops. It also happens to be one of the most versatile.
From plastics to paper, the hemp plant provides a way to live in harmony with the environment and the ecosystems that support it.
Just to give you an idea how far this plant can take us, here are 15 amazing ways hemp can be a game-changer for planet Earth.
#1) Growing hemp prevents pesticide pollution
Did you know hemp is naturally resistant to pests? Unlike cotton or flax (which are estimated to consume 50% of all pesticides) growing hemp does requires fewer pesticides or herbicides.
When pesticides are sprayed on land, they can easily seep into water sources such as a river, ocean, or pond. If pesticides contaminate a body of water it can harm the living creatures within that water source (fish, frogs, insects, and more) along with anyone ingesting it.
Pesticides have been linked to cancer, birth defects, ADHD, and Alzheimer’s Disease to name a few. So not only are pesticides dangerous for the environment, they are also a hazard to our health.
By integrating hemp, we can significantly reduce our exposure to unnecessary toxins and pollutants.
#2) Hemp helps restores soil fertility
Hemp can grow in a wide variety of terrains and soil types. It forms deep roots helping to hold the soil together. This in turn prevents soil erosion.
In fact, hemp also increases the microbial content of the soil. And the incredible benefits don’t end there.
The stem and leaves of the hemp plant are rich in nutrients. After harvesting, these nutrient-dense remnants of the hemp plant can be returned to the soil, rejuvenating it for a richer yield the following year.
#3) Hemp can produce biodegradable plastics
Americans used over 45 billion plastic water bottles in 2015 alone. Even crazier: plastic water bottles can take anywhere between 400 and 1,000 years to decompose.
Considering the United States’ recycling rate for plastic is only 23 percent, there is room for improvement to say the least.
The basic building blocks of plastics are cellulose derived from petroleum. Yet petroleum is highly toxic. Hemp on the other hand happens to be the greatest cellulose producer on earth. It also happens to be biodegradable.
Why not use non-toxic and biodegradable hemp for producing plastics? Instead of stuffing our landfills with toxic chemicals we could reuse and recycle natural products.
#4) The hemp plant absorbs toxic metals
Soil sustains life. The plants that feed, clothe, and house us originate from the earth. Yet we’ve become increasingly detached from this basic human need. Meanwhile, man-made waste has contaminated soil across the globe.
Both our planet’s health and our personal health are under duress, and the need for change is imminent.
It has already been proven that hemp can eliminate toxins from the environment. Hemp is so effective at absorbing toxic materials it has even been considered for removing radiation from Fukushima.
#5) Hemp is an outstanding renewable biofuel
Imagine if there was a non-toxic fuel source that could be domestically produced and was totally renewable. Turns out that material already exists. It’s been on this planet for hundreds and thousands of years.
Hemp converts to biodiesel at a 97 percent efficiency rate. It also burns at a lower temperature than any other type of biofuel.
Plus, when burned in a diesel engine, hemp eradicates the exhaust odor of petroleum with the pleasant smell of hemp.
With over 4,000,000 miles of roads in the United States, transitioning to hemp biodiesel could help heal our planet one mile at a time.
#6) Fabrics made from hemp do not contain chemical residue
Did you know the majority of synthetic fibers we use today are manufactured from polymer-based petrochemical materials (AKA highly toxic materials)?
Producing these synthetic materials requires an energy-intensive process, burning large amounts of gas, coal, or crude oil.
If that wasn’t enough, this type of manufacturing process releases toxic emissions into the air while also leaving toxic residues within the fibers. Not exactly a pleasant notion.
Yet, this problem can be avoided by switching to hemp. Hemp fibers are easily removed from the plant and can create clothing with zero chemical residue. Hemp is also a highly durable fabric and UV resistant.
#7) Hemp can reduce effects of carbon emissions
Industrial hemp has the power to transform the environment. Hemp is unique in that it is one of the few crops capable of reducing carbon emissions through rapid carbon dioxide uptake. It does this through a process known as carbon sequestration.
When cultivated, hemp actually captures carbon emissions from the atmosphere. Essentially, hemp helps sequester or “trap” carbon from the air into plants. For every ton of hemp produced, 1.63 tons of carbon is removed from the air.
#8) Cultivating hemp prevents deforestation
Deforestation is increasing across the globe at alarming rates. Scientists now believe the rate of deforestation equates to a loss of 48 football fields every minute.
Within 100 years, it is estimated there will be no rainforests. Shamefully, the United States has less than 5% of the world’s population but consumes more than one-third of the world’s paper.
But there is hope.
Hemp can easily replace trees as the source of raw material for wood and paper. Once acre of hemp can produce as much paper annually as four acres of trees.
While trees take years to mature, hemp can be grown and rapidly reproduced within months. Hemp paper is also more durable than paper produced from trees.
In other words, this is a no-brainer – transitioning to hemp could literally save our trees, and ultimately, our planet.
#9) Industrial hemp conserves water
It can take more than 5,000 gallons of water to produce 2.2 pounds of cotton. In fact, cotton is one of the most water-dependent crops around and is quickly depleting our limited freshwater sources.
Meanwhile, hemp requires minimal irrigation in comparison to cotton. A study in the UK comparing cotton production to hemp production found that hemp required 634-898 gallons of water to produce 2.2 pounds of hemp.
Considering hemp is suitable for fiber production, it is clear to see the superior option.
#10) Hemp supports sustainable farming practices
Farmers who practice sustainable farming techniques know the importance of rotating crops by season. Not only does it keep the soil nutrient-rich, it also increases the overall yield.
Hemp happens to be an ideal plant for crop rotation. It enriches the soil while also removing toxins. Growing hemp helps keep the soil and air more habitable for years to come.
#11) Growing hemp prevents soil compaction and erosion
Did you now soil compaction and erosion are some of the biggest problems plaguing farmers today?
This is particularly true for farmers within the Midwest who depend on two staple crops – soybeans and corn.
Corn contains a deep and fibrous root system that penetrates the ground deep below the surface. Over time, these roots can lead to soil compaction during the winter and spring.
Soybeans also have a strong root system but do not penetrate below the topsoil. As a result, soil erosion can frequently occur.
However, hemp is capable of repairing damaged soils. In fact, introducing hemp into crop rotations not only adds diversity but can also reverse the effects of soil compact and erosion. Hemp contains deep roots that can reach up to nine feet below the surface. These hearty roots help to break up soil compaction while also increasing nutrient absorption.
#12) Hemp builds stronger and healthier homes
The use of the hemp plant can extend into every aspect of our lives – including our homes.
Fiberboards made from a hemp-based composite are stronger and lighter than those made from wood. Not to mention the combination of hemp and lime (hempcrete) results in a soundproofing system and insulation superior to that of concrete.
Hemp homes are also shown to have incredible durability. One hemp home in Japan is estimated to be over 300 years old!
Perhaps even more astonishing, hemp homes also provide a healthier living environment. Unlike fiberglass or drywall, hempcrete is nontoxic and mold-resistant.
If we’re smart about this, hemp homes will be the future of green living.
#13) Hemp reduces air pollution
Air pollution is not only harmful to human health but can also cause a number of devastating environmental effects. While China is the world’s largest producer of carbon dioxide, the United States is close behind at number 2.
Should we choose to ignore this reality, these problems are likely to increase even further. Meanwhile, hemp can break down pollutants and improve air quality.
Hemp can even be used as a paper source, eliminating the need for chlorine bleaching – a direct cause of excess carbon dioxide in the environment.
#14) Hemp grows in almost any environment
Imagine if there was a crop that could be cultivated almost anywhere in the world. In fact, this crop required zero pesticides and could produce over 25,000 products.
Better yet, this crop could mature within months and keep producing for years to come. Surprise – that crop is hemp. Hemp is an incredibly durable plant. While hemp thrives in a mild climate and humid atmosphere, it can survive almost anywhere.
From China to Colorado, hemp can grow in a broad range of climate types, which means hemp has the potential to be sourced locally.
A source of food, income, and more – hemp farming could change lives for the better. Hemp can also lead to more sustainable farming, which in turn will bolster local economies while having a positive impact on the environment.
#15) Hemp can help curb world hunger
Around 795 million people are undernourished globally. In developing countries (where 92 percent of children live) 30 out of every 100 will experience stunted growth due to a lack of nutrition.
Now, imagine if hemp were in the picture. Not only is hemp inexpensive, it can be grown almost anywhere. In fact, hemp seeds are considered to be one of the most nutritionally dense food sources on this planet. A complete protein – hemp seeds supply the body with amino acids, vitamins, and much more!
In addition, hemp seeds can also produce two vital food products – oil and flour. So not only is hemp nutritionally rich but also versatile.
Cultivating hemp as a staple crop could change people’s lives for the better worldwide, especially if you consider the vast number of people that could not only be fed but also nourished by this superfood.
Humankind have been cultivating hemp for thousands of years. Some anthropologists even believe hemp was the first agricultural crop domesticated by humans over twelve thousand years ago.
It is time we return to our roots.
Switching to hemp products may not solve all of the world’s problems but it is a start. Hemp has the potential to leave a cleaner and greener planet for future generations. So what are we waiting for? It is high time to let the hemp shine once and for all.
Just to give you an idea how far this plant can take us, here are 15 amazing ways hemp can be a game-changer for planet Earth.