• Matthew Sheahan

Hemp & Climate Change

Hemp is a plant that can seemingly do it all. Even though it’s been on this planet for centuries, we’re just beginning to realize its full potential, especially in terms of environmental factors. As hemp was recently federally legalized just a few years ago, the US is finally able to become a bit more familiar with this multifaceted plant. Now, we’re learning that hemp might be exactly what we need to help combat the climate change disaster the world is facing today.


From its effects on the air, soil, and carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, the hemp plant is showing some serious potential in helping to aid in the healing of the planet. Here’s how.



The History of Hemp and Its Benefits


Dating back thousands and thousands of years ago, hemp was utilized constantly throughout ancient communities for various reasons. From textiles to paper and additives into food and drink, the hemp plant was a part of everyday life for so, so long. These ancient civilizations saw just the tip of what this plant could do, and it was celebrated in ways that it has always deserved.


As time progressed, hemp’s popularity also spread widely across the globe. Soon, the Founding Fathers were writing the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper and then Henry Ford made a hemp-based car. So… what happened?


As hemp’s widespread benefits became known, Western society started placing more and more regulations on the plant. By the mid-1900s, hemp regulation and prohibition were becoming popular, and the United States saw the operation of the very last hemp farm in the late 50s. After that, it seemed to be a thing of the past.


Thankfully, that didn’t last long.


In the 2000s, the world started to see a slight shift in the attitude towards hemp. While other countries still utilized it as commonplace, the US was still iffy because of its relationship with the marijuana plant. But, after years and years of research, countless studies, and various bill proposals, in 2018, the hemp was finally federally legalized once again. Since then, the fight has not stopped in allowing hemp to be utilized to its fullest potential.


Hemp and The Environment


As more research has come out, scientists are discovering that hemp might be much more beneficial to the environment than we initially realized. In general, this plant grows at incredibly quick rates and uses very little water and space to do so. Trees, on one end, can take years to fully mature and be utilized for their materials; hemp, however, is ready for use in weeks. With this, harvesting such plants for use isn’t nearly as detrimental as what we do with other, scarcer plants.


When they’re planted, hemp helps to nourish and cleanse the soil that it’s being grown in. The plant acts as a purifier, ensuring that its environment is as clean and healthy as possible. Then, when other plants are grown in this soil, they get to reap the toxin-free benefits, too. This can be life-changing for both farmers and our ecosystem.


As hemp plants grow, they require absolutely no pesticides or harmful chemicals to grow healthy or potent. This is unlike many other crops on the planet, wherein these processes damage the environment during use and, often, put consumers at risk, too. Thankfully, even huge farms of hemp do not use any of these damaging materials, leaving the air clean and the hemp even cleaner.


Tackling Deforestation, Climate Change, and Carbon Emission


Recently, many people are beginning to believe that hemp is the key to tackling deforestation. As we mentioned earlier, it can often take trees years to be fully matured, making the whole “just plant a tree” argument quite invalid. Planting huge outcrops of trees will still take years to make much of a difference in our environment, and the planet requires more immediate solutions. That’s why we’re turning to hemp.


Able to be grown within weeks and with very little resources, hemp could be the answer to our major deforestation problem. These plants can grow huge yields, and, again, it is at no cost to the environment. As they grow, hemp plants reduce significant levels of carbon dioxide, at rates about four times more than your everyday tree. This almost reverse effect that hemp has on the ecosystem could be transformative in terms of climate change. By slowly purifying the air with more hemp being planted, the effects of global warming may be able to lessen.


Along these same lines, hemp has shown serious promise in terms of carbon emission reduction. Able to be used as fuel, plastic, and concrete to build homes, this plant makes for a much more sustainable alternative. We all know how harmful substances like fossil fuels and plastic are to the health of our planet, and a clear alternative is sitting right in front of us. Unfortunately, we just need a bit more research.


Hemp and its legality are still new to the United States. Because of this, more research must be conducted before we can make definitive claims about hemp’s potential. However, it’s clear that there is potential to strongly help our planet come back from what we’ve caused.


Hemp and Its Promising Future


Right now, hemp is one of the most promising plants our planet has yet to see. As we continue to discover all that this incredible plant can bring, we can only hope that the country continues to be open about its utilization and benefits. Soon, there’s a great chance that hemp will be widely used for more than just an additive in skincare or healthy foods.


In a time where climate change is still rampant and activists are actively trying to find solutions to this damning problem, hemp seems to shine a bright light in the almost dark future. With this complex plant, we have something to look forward to, something that poses some sort of promise. While it may not be able to solve climate change entirely, it might just be the sustainable alternative the planet’s been searching for.


 

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