In recent years, a great deal of attention and education has been centered on “green” lifestyles, where consumers are striving to minimize the impact on the environment and the Earth by choosing alternative products and goods in a responsible and conscious manner.
Industrial hemp offers a multitude of solutions in a variety of industries, including clothing, food, alternative fuels (like hemp biodiesel), textiles, extreme sports (like surfing, skateboarding, and mountain biking), musical equipment, and cleaning products, to name a few. In its ultimate utilization, hemp can be used in over 25,000 applications!
By choosing to purchase hemp products, you are making a responsible, educated choice. You are proactively and positively consuming, while supporting a “true” economy, where everyone from the farmer to the manufacturer to the retailer benefits and flourishes with a living wage.
Closed-Loop Carbon Cycles
The growing and harvesting of hemp is referred to as a closed-loop carbon cycle or “carbon neutral”. A plant is said to be carbon neutral if the carbon dioxide (CO2) that it absorbs while alive is the same as the CO2 it emits when burned as a fuel. For people and organizations, becoming carbon neutral is usually achieved by implementing renewable energy projects — such as planting trees, which absorb CO2 — that offset the amount of carbon dioxide emissions.
How does one find out one’s total CO2 output, that is, one’s carbon footprint? By performing a carbon audit that tallies up the amount of CO2 emitted by driving one’s car, running one’s appliances, and other activities. You then get to carbon neutrality by planting trees, investing in solar energy, and implementing other carbon offsets. Industrial hemp is a huge part of the equation by being a carbon neutral green plant. By using hemp as a food, clothing, and fuel source, we are putting more green plants on the Earth and reducing the strain on our environment.
Here are some yearly carbon footprint figures to consider:
An average person (world-wide): 4 tons
An average American: 22 tons
An average Chinese: 2.25 tons
Driving an SUV*: 5 tons
*10,000 miles at 18 miles per gallon
Source: The Wall Street Journal
If hemp were legal to grow in the United States, it would allow small, family farmers and individual citizens to grow a renewable cash crop for clothing, food, and fuels, allowing a self-sustaining lifestyle. Ultimately, if impoverished people and citizens of third-world nations were taught and allowed to grow their own hemp crop, they would have a single, renewable source for food (hemp seed, oil, flour), clothing and textiles, and building materials (when mixed with limestone).
By growing hemp in the U.S., it would provide local communities with a means to create new jobs via a new industry. The growers, harvesters, processors, manufacturers, and retailers would have a demand for new employees as business would grow exponentially and rapidly. By growing hemp in our communities, we would provide a wealth of new jobs and opportunities in an exciting and promising “community-based” economic model.
Reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, the petroleum industries, and our government means moving toward a self-sustaining way of life. Growing, harvesting, and using industrial hemp can be one of the foundations toward living “off the grid” and reducing our dependence on non-sustainable energy sources.
Feeding the World
Hemp seeds are one of the most nutritious food products on the planet! From a single seed, one can get their daily requirments of protein, Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), Gamma Linolenic Acids (GLAs), and a variety of vitamins, including Vitamin A, which is crucial for vision maintenance and bone growth. By teaching people how to grow their own hemp crop, they could feed themselves and supplement their diets with this amazing plant!
Ending the prohibition of industrial hemp in the United States takes more than a few companies, activists, and lobbyists trying to bend the will of the federal government and the DEA. It takes the support of the everyday consumer! By purchasing and supporting hemp products, you are sending a strong and resounding message to corporations, government, and policy makers that you want real, organic, and sustainable solutions to the issues we are facing. Combined with purchasing hemp products and supporting hemp retailers, you can go the extra mile and get politically active. Visit the Vote Hemp website at www.votehemp.org for information, links, and education on how to write your politicians, lobby for the legalization of industrial hemp, and educate members of your community about the issue. Also check out The Hemp Industries Association at www.thehia.org for a list of hemp retailers nationwide.
With your support, industrial hemp can and will be legal in the United States once again. Be a true eco-conscious consumer and incorporate hemp into your life!