Source: reprinted from the National Hemp Association
People have long been encouraged to minimize their carbon footprint by doing things such as recycle, reduce the use of non-disposable products, and even trade in their emissions-fueled vehicles for electric models. But perhaps one of the most basic ways to slow down climate change and even reverse its effects is by simply planting more trees.
It’s a well-known fact that trees are instrumental in removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air and infusing it with oxygen, but perhaps their role may be even bigger when it comes to climate change. According to studies, the growth of trees allows them to absorb and house all the carbon dioxide emissions released into the atmosphere every day, which is the driver behind global warming. By planting more trees, we can effectively reduce the emitting of carbon dioxide into the air and even eliminate as much as two-thirds of all emissions that currently exist as a result of human activity.
Hemp Cultivation Could Be the Cheapest, Most Effective Way to Target Climate Change
The biggest issues that may stand in the way of the planting of trees on available land across the world are cost and time. But there may be a different type of crop that can still have a similar effect that trees have on the environment that may be faster and more cost-effective: hemp crops. The widespread cultivation of hemp may be able to pay a big role in tackling the issue of climate change in much the same way that growing more trees would. Unfortunately, for decades, growing hemp has been illegal in the US.
But decades before hemp was illegal, it was actually encouraged by the government to be grown and used for industrial and commercial purposes. Hemp in the US was a legal crop in the 18th and 19th centuries, but by the 20th century, it became a banned substance because of its association with the psychoactive marijuana plant. Thankfully, hemp has once again been legalized thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill signed late last year by the Trump administration, and such legalization has made the US the third-largest producer of hemp across the globe, behind China and Canada. Hemp farmers are now legally permitted to cultivate hemp crops that can not only improve local economies and provide consumers with a number of products, but may also be able to quash climate change.
Hemp plants can grow as tall as 13 feet in 100 days, a rate of growth that is tough to match, giving it a great deal of potential when it comes to quickly growing greenery specifically to tackle CO2 emissions. In fact, it’s already been shown that hemp plants can absorb more carbon dioxide per hectare than any commercial or forest crop and can even be grown on poor-quality soils with very little water.
Hemp’s Climate-Assisting Uses Are Far-Reaching
In addition to hemp’s ability to reverse the effects of carbon dioxide emissions in the air is its ability to be used as an alternative to petrochemical-based plastic. Not only can hemp be used to create products like rope and cloth, but hemp products can also be used to create plastic. All those water bottles that are dumped into the ocean wreak havoc on sea life and destroy the health of the ocean.
Plastic made from hemp, on the other hand, is non-toxic and biodegradable, allowing it to be broken down to avoid the toxins being absorbed in the ocean water and eventually make it along the food chain. Bio-products made from hemp has the potential to produce eco-friendly products that can be easily and quickly recycled or broken down, which can be a huge relief not just for the oceans where many of the world’s plastic products wind up, but also for landfills.
Hemp may be a much cleaner energy source that can cut out the smog created by more traditional fuel sources. It may also help to eliminate radioactive water from the soil that ends up on the food chain, and has also been shown to be a nutritious food source for both humans and animals.
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