6 Ways Hemp can Help our Planet
There’s no ‘silver-bullet’ when it comes to sustainability.
But did you know that industrial hemp can help our planet just by growing?
As one of the least demanding crops around, hemp provides textiles, oils, food, medicine, and more. However, here we’ll tell you the key features that take this plant from just ‘environmentally friendly’ to being a ‘superstar of sustainability’. Due to the negative stigma behind cannabis, these parts of the plant are often overlooked – and we want to change that.
To keep it quick, we put together a short list of 6 traits that make hemp such a sustainable crop. Soon you’ll understand exactly how hemp can change the world as we know it.
Hemp can reduce carbon pollution
Hemp reduces carbon pollution through a process called ‘carbon sequestration’. This occurs when hemp absorbs carbon dioxide from the air, which is then stored in the plant. This happens naturally during the entire growth cycle of hemp, and some hemp products continue to absorb it after production.
Studies have shown that hemp takes up to 22 tonnes of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere per hectare per year.
Did you know: Hemp absorbs so much carbon dioxide that Australian farmers can even claim carbon credits for growing hemp.
Hemp can reduce deforestation
Growing more hemp will reduce the amount of land dedicated to logging.
As a plant that grows 10x faster than trees, it can also produce 3x the amount of paper per acre. Hemp can also be used to make other products that are derived from trees such as cardboard and timber. The end result is always a strong, high quality product that outperforms wood-pulp alternatives. But timber isn’t the only building material hemp can make…
You can learn more about Hempcrete here!
Hemp can absorb contaminants
Hemp has a mechanism called phytoremediation that enables it to absorb heavy metals and contaminants from the soil. Numerous farmers concerned about contaminants in their soil have successfully cleaned their land with hemp. Soil becomes contaminated over time by things like overuse of pesticides, and manufacturing plants spewing smog in the area.
A great example of hemp cleaning the soil is a farm in Italy that used hemp to absorb soil pollution caused by a nearby steel manufacturing facility.
Hemp can help the bees
Hemp helps the bees by acting as a source of pollen in stressful times. In a month long study conducted in America, a wide variety of bees showed up to collect pollen from hemp. This offers new hope for bee populations, whose numbers are plummeting across the globe.
Growing hemp can stop the decline in bee populations for these major reasons:
- Less pesticides in the cultivation process means that pollen will not be contaminated.
- Hemp makes pollen in times of the year where bees may struggle to feed. On the other side, it produces no nectar – part of what makes hemp so pest resistant. This has made hemp fields the perfect place for bees to find food.
All in all, this means that large hemp plantations could provide sustainable sources of pollen for bee colonies in off-peak periods.
This could give the entire species just the break they need…
Hemp can reduce soil and water pollution
Hemp needs almost no pesticides or herbicides to grow. And compared to cotton, it uses about one-third of the amount of water to produce a kilo of usable fibre. This makes hemp one of the most independent crops on Earth. Another great side effect of growing hemp is that less chemicals are being absorbed by the earth.
In turn, water will be cleaner because of less pesticides running off into riverways.
Hemp can reduce fossil fuel dependence
Hemp plastics and Hemp Biofuels are among the most impressive hemp innovations to date. The main stalk of the plant is used to make plastics that are stronger than steel. The whole plant can also be used to make hemp ethanol and hemp biodiesel. Hemp biodiesel, like crude vegetable oil, can be used to run modified diesel engines. This essentially means that hemp can do everything fossil fuels can.
Imagine the result for the planet if we invested more into hemp and less into mining?
If you didn’t have a clue about the potential of hemp before, you certainly should now. Those are the top 6 reasons we believe this plant offers the world hope. Even through times of prohibition, agricultural experts across the world continued to use this crop to their advantage – and advocate for its use. This can’t be a mistake.
Do you think that when grown in large enough amounts, the advantages of hemp could save the environment?
Let us know your thoughts – and be sure to spread the word!
If you want to read more about what makes hemp a sustainable crop, check out some of our other blogs about hemp and sustainability.