With the effects of global warming becoming more apparent, the time is nigh to reduce our carbon footprint and opt for more sustainable and eco-friendly farming practices. Thus, our level of environmental consciousness shifts to the clothes we wear, the fuel in our cars, and the buildings we construct.
Human reliance on fossil fuels and synthetic fibers are contributing to the issue of global deforestation, in turn destroying ecosystems and bringing many species to the brink of extinction. Tropical rainforests are accountable for regulating our global water systems and the climate. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but industrial hemp is a renewable, natural resource that can be used to manufacture over 50,000 products and support a healthier lifestyle and planet.
Hemp production obviates the need for most pesticides (as it is bug-resistant), herbicides, fungicides, and requires less water than most crops. As hemp grows, it naturally sequesters CO2 from our atmosphere and detoxes soil of pollutants. Hemp-based products can be recycled, reused and are 100% biodegradable.
We subconsciously slip on clothes on a daily basis without considering the ingredients used to make them, or the wrath our atmosphere underwent to produce a single thread. Hemp can mitigate the environmentally invasive production of cotton. It produces a hollow fiber that is stronger, more durable, that even helps the body regulate its natural temperature. Producing cotton requires an extremely toxic cocktail made up of high levels of pesticide, herbicide, and fungicide, followed with bleach as the ‘cherry-on-top’ to establish a uniform color. According to a report by the Environmental Justice Foundation, “‘$2 billion’s worth of chemicals is sprayed on the world’s cotton crop every year, almost half of which is considered toxic enough to be classified as hazardous by the World Health Organization.’”
Buildings and Foundations
Hemp naturally reduces our carbon footprint during the cropping stage and continues to do so when stationary in constructed foundations, making it a sustainable alternative building material. When mixed with lime and water, Hempcrete is produced. As the lime constantly calcifies, it continuously pulls in carbon, making walls even stronger and more durable over time. In 2010, the first hempcrete house in America was constructed in Asheville, North Carolina and it won’t be the last.
Hemp can create biodiesel and ethanol/methanol and reduce human dependence on traditional fossil fuels with a shift to clean-burning energy. According to the National Hemp Association, “Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel in the US to complete EPA Tier I Health Effects Testing under section 211(b) of the Clean Air Act, which provide the thorough inventory of environmental and human health effects attributes that current technology will allow.” And even more notably, thanks to hemphelps.org, biodiesel is “10x less toxic than table salt,” and can even extend the life of diesel engines.
If we let it, we know that hemp can heal both our bodies and our planet in a natural fashion. As we begin to come together for the sake of humanity and our planet, it is encouraged for all individuals to do their part by supporting a movement that can allot change.