When most people think of hemp and cannabis plants they create this image of a hippy smoking weed and getting high. This stigma is slowly changing as people are learning about hemp as it starts popping up in thousands of everyday products. Hemp is one of the most versatile natural products known to man and even though there are still some restrictions on growing, it is nonetheless gaining its well-deserved acceptance in the world.
Saving the planet, improving health and greater use of natural products for personal and industrial use is where hemp plays a crucial role. However, over and above all this the sustainability of this resource is only just coming into full view. Hemp doesn’t require much to grow, is not labour or water intensive along with its innovative uses make it by far the most sustainable resource on the planet and here is why.
1. Hemp is not a thirsty plant
Fresh water is one of the most valuable resources on earth and many experts believe the next world war will be fought over something everyone takes for granted. Agriculture uses around 70% of all fresh water and this amount is increasing with the global population growing and the demand for food increases. Hemp is a rich green plant that hides a fact that few know and a fact that makes it one of the most sustainable resources in the world. Hemp is one of the least water-intensive crops in the world and this combined with the versatile uses, makes it stand out and potentially changing agriculture in years to come.
2. Hemp is a sustainable and clean fuel
The oil resources around the world are closer than ever to being exhausted and the fuels produced from the planet generate immense levels of pollution. Biofuels are now considered to be the sustainable fuel of the future and hemp can be used to produce clean fuel from an exceptionally sustainable plant.
The greatest challenges to producing biofuels from agricultural crops is firstly space, secondly the need for specific and fertile soil types and thirdly the amount of water used in propagation. Hemp solves all these problems and produces higher quality oil easier. Hemp can be grown worldwide in any soil type, including soils that are far from fertile for other crops in climates that don’t matter allowing any country to become self-sufficient on fuel. Furthermore, Hemp oil (fuel) is made from the seed of a plant where the rest of the plant is not tossed away but has a multitude of other uses.
3. Hemp can be used for better, low-cost building materials
The list of reasons that make hemp such a sustainable resource is incredible.
The construction industry around the world emits more CO2 than many imagine with 8% of all CO2 emissions being produced in the manufacture and use of cement. As construction of buildings grows so the amount of cement used grows and the levels of CO2 emitted increases. For this reason, more sustainable, greener and affordable building materials.
Surprisingly hemp again comes to the rescue and Hempcrete is a versatile construction material that is finding its way into the industry relatively quickly, especially in France. Hempcrete cannot be used for foundations as it is too brittle but is perfect for all other uses. Furthermore, and unsurprisingly Hempcrete has a few other advantages too that include:
- Hempcrete is non-toxic
- Hempcrete is mould resistant with high humidity control and vapor permeability
- Hempcrete delivers carbon sequestration, meaning it stores carbon dioxide instead of releasing it
- Hempcrete is Pest resistant
- Hempcrete is Fire resistant
4. Hemp is good for the soil
Another thing that makes Hemp not only different to other farmed crops but also adds to its wider sustainability of the planet is that hemp is good for the soil it grows in. Hemp is one of only a few plants that uses phytoremediation to basically vacuum toxins and heavy metals from the soil. Hemp is so good at this that it has been used to bring the radioactive soils around Chernobyl back to life.
5. Hemp is better than cotton in more ways than one
Cotton is the most grown and harvested product that is not eaten. Cotton may seem like a great crop but it has a few distinct downsides that make it less organic and green than many imagine. Firstly the cotton plant is thirsty and uses a lot of water, secondly it requires a lot of chemicals to keep it free from disease and insects and thirdly cotton wrecks the soil it grows in.
Hemp, on the other hand is opposite to cotton when farmed and is far easier to grow in even the most infertile soil. Hemp has a handful of benefits over conventional cotton that include:
- Hemp holds its shape
- Hemp is mold-resistant
- Hemp is naturally resistant to UV light
- Hemp is water-resistant, it retains colour and dye better
- Hemp breaths in warmer weather and stays warm during cooler weather
So, if you are wondering just how good hemp is for this world the facts above may just put a smile on your face