For decades now hemp (the super crop that can produce up to 50000 different products) has been illegal amongst most parts of the world. During the early 30s of the past century Hemp had been considered to be a dangerous crop due to a false comparison with its relative ‘marijuana’. Where hemp was considered to be a drug it is now proven that it has no THC percentage meaning it has no drug value or whatsoever. However the true theory behind this story is that hemp was predicted to become a billion dollar crop, which would leave companies, whom were manufacturing products with for example cotton, bankrupt. Afraid for the new enemy, major companies and politicians started working together to ban Hemp by associating it to the drug marijuana. Indirectly this has basically led to a less sustainable world.-> Whereas our great grandparents would be able to start production and manufacture of bio plastics and alternative biofuels at a early stage, the world got pushed in to a corner, having no other choice to use products that caused more and more pollution amongst our beautiful planet. Almost a century later we are still polluting the environment and are exceeding our consumption needs. It has come so far that our economy relies entirely on a “way of life” which is one that causes pollution, sicknesses and in extreme cases death and extinction. Being part of this world means that eventually our paths will also have one faith only, which is extinction due to an inhabitable unsustainable environment. Being part of this world also means that we people have to take into account that all the innocent animals and trees getting killed and chopped down today are part of sustaining a balanced circle of life. In the last couple of years our system and ‘way of living’ has provoked a lot of imbalance and protest amongst those who are aware of these happenings. Now just changing this ‘way of life’ one day after another is illogical seeming almost our entire economy relies on it.
So what steps should be taken to reintroduce hemp cultivation and manufacture in to a sustainable market economy?
According to Koen, who works with HempCollective in Amsterdam, it al begins with spreading awareness. As we already informed you, hemp is still believed to be identical to the drug marijuana because of its false comparison back in the day. So u could imagine the topic gets a lot of negative attention nowadays. However it’s this negative attention that puts hemp back in the headlines and its people like Koen and HempCollective that take this attention and inform people about the true story about hemp and its many capabilities.
Reforming Health & educational sector would be the next step to take towards reintroducing cultivation and manufacture of hemp in to a sustainable market economy.
With the introduction of hemp to an economy there have to be certain pre-conditions that need to be fulfilled for a successful integration of sustainable products. Part of this process is to have scientific research on different level such as the economic impact as well as the medicinal aspect of hemp and its medical derivatives. Current legislation doesn’t allow deeper research into the subject in many countries which blocks development in this potentially sustainable industrial raw material that can be used in more forms than any other natural fiber and of course the pharmaceutical products. This step towards better research is essential for universities and schools to be able to do research of their own and more importantly to teach future politicians, lawyers, economists and doctors to imply the benefits of hemp into the health and economy sector. In order to help the economy switch to alternative options for currently harmful sectors such as the meat industry or oil extraction, there needs to be expertise on which the future generation of business people can rely. If legislation on pharmaceuticals based on hemp and related research is less restricted, future doctors will be able to adapt their healthcare to the newly gained practical knowledge in medicine.
In addition to the economical and medicinal aspect there is a more social aspect that ought to change in order to become a greener economy where there is less need for emissions caused by food transportation and production. Nowadays in the United States the average vegetable in the supermarket has travelled 2500km before it arrives at the consumer. The idea of growing food ourselves has become very strange to most people which is also due to the fact many people have moved to larger cities where it has become more and more difficult. Hemp as well as any other vegetables that can be grown locally could be harvested from small private crops and then be consumed or traded in small communities. Part of the process of reintroducing private gardens for food could be to make it a part of biology classes in primary school so that from a young age future generations grow up with a different approach to the ecological footprint linked to what we consume in everyday life. This can help reduce the impact of global emissions caused by our food consumption and other products.
Before we go in on the next step there are a couple of facts you should know about this phenomenal crop.
Environmentally speaking hemp doesn’t only win with producing the most paper per acre compared to any other plant in the world, it also naturally repels weed growth. Having few insect enemies and no weed problems, means there are hardly any pesticides and no herbicides needed for hemps cultivation. Using its hemp shivs (a waste product from hemp fiber growing) in combination with lime creates a product called hempcrete, which is ten times stronger than concrete and could be used as alternative for the hundreds of trees being chopped down daily. 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 with other words help save the environment, leaving a cleaner and greener planet for the next generation. Assuming the environment is the most important when it comes to sustainability it is a goal in it self to have hemp be cultivated around the world. And if this isn’t yet a reachable goal, it is a wise step for those countries that are already cultivating hemp to increase productions
A major problem mankind is facing is the ever decreasing global oxygen levels. Ever since man begun emitting CO2 and other harmful gasses in to the air, holes in the ozone layer have been appearing. This has major disadvantages to the world and oxygen-breathing animals. Todays estimate in densely populated areas is at a level of 15% of oxygen. A normal person would faint at a level of 10%. So since an acre of hemp takes in 4 times the amount of CO2 (Carbon dioxide) and produces 4 times the amount of O2 (oxygen) compared with an acre of trees it would be a logical step to decrease deforestation and cultivate more hemp to sustain the environment and its oxygen levels.
We believe that if man would just consider taking these steps in order to create a more sustainable future, is the most important step. So lets take this world and more importantly, ourselves, for what we truly meant out to be. One society where we can sustain not only ourselves but also the living things including our beloved planet Earth.
Article written by Paul Schmit and Gino Martina