HEMP – A SOLUTION TO CLIMATE CHANGE

“Every generation faces a challenge. In the 1930s, it was the creation of Social Security. In the 1960s, it was putting a man on the moon. In the 1980s, it was ending the Cold War. Our generation’s challenge will be addressing global climate change while sustaining a growing global economy.” – Eileen Clausen, Pew Center on Global Climate Change

Fossil fuel consumption, and our meat industry can be considered the most responsible for climate change. Around 80% of the CO2 being added to the atmosphere each year currently comes directly from the burning of natural gas, and coal and oil deposits. Agriculture is another significant driver of global warming and causes 15% of all emissions, half of which are from livestock. One pound of beef requires 1,799 gallons of water for the growing of food and the rearing of the livestock.

While the nation states will be debating what can be done to control the situation, there is a simple solution that is being ignored and dismissed due to the politics behind it, and that is the awesome properties and power of the Cannabis plant.

“Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth and prosperity of the nation” — Thomas Jefferson.

Super Crop

Hemp can be considered a ‘super-crop’ that has been grown worldwide for at least 12,000 years. It is one of the most prolific, versatile and powerful bio-tools available to humanity to meet the enormous challenges of sustainability, climate change, environmental degradation and the destruction of eco-systems.

There are more than 25,000 known uses for hemp. It produces food, fibre, fuel and has unique medicinal properties. One hectare of hemp can produce as much usable fibre as four hectares of trees, or two hectares of cotton. It is the world’s most versatile natural product, potentially replacing wood, cotton, and petroleum products, including plastics.

Hemp grows in a short, flexible, summer window of the annual crop cycle and grows in diverse climates and soil types. It does not require pesticides or herbicides, as it grows tightly spaced, out-growing and blocking out weeds. This leaves a weed-free field for follow on crops while simultaneously conditioning and securing topsoil.

The Billion Dollar Crop

It was considered the ‘billion dollar crop’ by Popular Mechanics Magazine in 1937 before the USA began its campaign to suppress the hemp industry. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew hemp. Ben Franklin owned a mill that made hemp paper. Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper. In 1942 when US sources of “Manila hemp,” (a genus of the banana plant), were cut off by the Japanese in WWII, the US Army and US Department of Agriculture promoted the “Hemp for Victory” campaign to grow hemp in the US.

Hemp As Bio-Fuel

According to the IPCC between ten and fifteen percent of total global cropland is available for biomass production specifically for energy and transport. The greatest advantage of hemp cultivation, as a method of climate change mitigation, is the comparative ease with which it could be integrated into the existing fossil fuel economy.

With the ability to be grown at all but the very coldest latitudes, hemp could form the basis of an internationally distributed yet locally produced fuel industry. Hemp-based ethanol would not only be a complementary product to the oil economy (combining ethanol with gasoline increases quality of gasoline and produces significant environmental benefits), but could also be used as a direct replacement because it can be used with existing technologies.

It is also the only biomass crop that can add to the food production of land rather than replacing food production, as other biofuel crops, such as corn, triggered global food riots.

Solution to Agro Forestry

Hemp cultivation is 400% more efficient at CO2 absorption than agro-forestry per land use. Its rapid growth rate means it can provide the industrial quantities of biomass required in our modern society. Hemp can be processed into multiple sustainable raw materials solutions to suit the needs of local communities wherever it is grown, and save and preserve remaining forest resources and biodiversity.

Hemp is far less vulnerable to changes in climate, compared to slow and medium growth forests. It also shares many of the biochemical characteristics of hardwood and several metric tons of wood can be produced in a hectare, annually or bi-annually in hotter climates.

Growing hemp on deforested hillsides prevents landslides, run-off, and also prepares land for future crops or tree planting. In addition, it requires low-intensive management and can effectively replace all the goods and services traditionally supplied by depleted forest resources including fuel and shelter.

Water Efficient

An industrial hemp crop (80ha), planted in Nicaragua primarily for seed, survived Hurricane Mitch more or less intact due to its long tap roots and intricate root structures that held the plants securely to each other and the land. Over 60 chemicals called cannabinoids collectively serve to repel insects, improve water use efficiency, prevent water loss and also protect the plant from excessive UV-B radiation.

Compared to cotton that requires about 1400 gallons of water for every pound of produce, hemp requires half that or even less and produces 200-250% more fibre on the same amount of land. The Aral Sea in Russia, once the world’s fourth largest inland lake with a thriving healthy ecosystem is now only 15% of it’s original size due to the cotton industry and the heavy use of pesticides and herbicides. Hemp in comparison, aerates the land, rejuvenates soil, needs no herbicides or pesticides, and creates a thriving ecosystem.

Hemp as Food

Hemp protein contains all twenty-one known amino acids, including the eight essential ones adult bodies cannot produce. Proteins are considered complete when they contain all the essential amino acids in sufficient quantities and ratios to meet the body’s needs.

It can supply any diet with a vegetarian source of essential fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fibre, chlorophyll, and a complete, balanced gluten-free source of the essential amino acids.

Versatile

Hemp is so versatile because, it is seasonal, it increases the nutritional output of the land, it increases yields from other crops in the rotation cycle, and bio-remediates and protects soil, while providing highly useful, versatile biomass and sustainable, biodegradable end products.

The Cannabis plant has been suppressed by the dominating industries that see it as a threat to their monopoly, such steel, pharmaceuticals, cotton, petroleum, plastics and construction. However, it can no longer be ignored as the global environmental crisis we are facing is much greater than the need to profit these unsustainable and destructive industries.

How much longer are we going to sit back and watch our planet go up in smoke while one of the major solutions, Cannabis remains relegated to the sidelines…? it’s time for a Hemp Revolution…

Source: Rebekah Shaman

Hemp Plastic is just ONE solution to a healthy planet

Plastics are big business. Look around and count the items within arm’s reach that are made from plastic. The substance has made life infinitely more convenient; people carry groceries in it, drink water from it, wrap foods in it, and even use it to build devices to access online blog posts about plastics. Its presence is as ubiquitous as its potential uses are endless. We need to use hemp plastic.

But the problem with plastics is that they never go away, ever. There is no global solution to the disposal of single use plastics such as grocery bags and water bottles. One trillion single-use plastic bags are consumed annually around the globe. One million bags are being used every minute. Each of these bags is used only for a matter of minutes, but take up to 1,000 years to degrade.

Every square mile of ocean, which takes up 70% of the planet, contains 46,000 pieces of plastic trash in various stages of decomposition, with the majority broken down into fragments which are consumed by sea life that is in turn consumed by humans, introducing toxic Bisphenol-A (BPA) into human diets, which may be the cause of fertility problems among women in countries reliant on the ocean for food, among other health concerns.

The consequences of all that plastic are steep and expensive. Nearly 50 percent of life, and therefore the entire food chain, exists the world’s oceans. All around the globe, beaches are buried in layers of plastic garbage, sometimes 5-10 feet deep. Scientists are at a loss as to how to clean up the damage already done, but agree that continued contribution to the plastic waste problem must stop.

The irony is that while solutions to the mounting problem of plastic garbage already exist, they are either dismissed as inconvenient (plastic bag bans or taxes, carrying reusable water bottles) or the means of their production are made illegal.

That’s right, illegal.

Hemp provides an excellent alternative to plastics yet remains illegal (and therefore cost prohibitive) due to its association with the drug marijuana. But there is no good reason for this. Even in the absence of international treaties or regulations requiring the end of plastic waste, taking concrete steps to implement hemp substitutions still make sense.

Currently, growing hemp in the United States is prohibited, but that may quickly change. Hemp reform has already made significant progress in the US Congress, and so a thriving domestic hemp economy may be just around the corner. And that will do more than just replace plastic bags.

Hemp plastics are destined to create an economic boom, slow the rate of plastic pollution in our oceans and air (they are flame retardant) and could be used on the exact same machinery already being used to create plastic goods like bottles and bags. Hemp plastics are not only 100% biodegradable, meaning they do not contribute to permanent pollution, but they are also 2.5 times stronger than standard use plastics.

Thus, a rapid switch can be made from a weak, disposable commodity which remains in a polluting form for thousands of years to a strong, organic, biodegradable alternative. And all that’s holding back a better future is bad public policy.

Source : Time for 4 Hemp

Hemp: how one little plant could boost America’s economy

Image a plant that cuts cholesterol, reduces our exposure to toxins, can ease joint inflammation, proves more durable than concrete, and can provide the economy with much-needed jobs for farmers and manufacturers. This wonder of the world exists – it’s hemp. But it is illegal to grow in America.
Hemp and marijuana both are cannabis plants – in fact, both are cannabis sativa. Hemp, however, contains virtually no THC (the psychoactive ingredient in pot), so smoking it will not get you stoned. Yet industrial hemp has endured 80 years of purgatory and prohibition at the hands of the government.
Hemp has been hailed as the little plant that could for centuries – for making fabric, rope, sails, paper and canvas. Hemp plants require less chemical spraying than cotton, soy, corn and wheat. It can help reduce soil degradation by faring better with less water and in drier climates. Paper made from hemp could help reduce deforestation, and requires fewer chemicals for processing than wood pulp. Hemp fabric has antibacterial qualities that can help it fight staph infections in hospitals.
That’s not all. Hemp seeds and oils offer more and better proteins than soy, along with the highest percentage of essential fatty acids and the lowest percentage of saturated fats compared with other oils. The cannabinoids (CBD) in hemp can reduce inflammation and may even protect against anxiety and depression, seizures and brain injuries, according to recent studies.
Former NFL quarterback Jake Plummer became a promoter of hemp in general after he discovered that CBD oil from hemp alleviated headaches and post-football aches. If he was still playing, however, he’d be forbidden from using it. “We need to change the perceptions about hemp,” he says, adding that he’d love to see the stodgy NFL “lead that charge” by funding research into the oil’s benefits. “The NFL needs to help get players off prescription meds as much as possible, and hemp could help.”
A political battle
America already safely consumes $580m worth of products made from imported hemp every year – from milk to T-shirts to soaps. Yet because it has been illegal to import or cultivate seeds, the farming, processing and manufacturing jobs associated with hemp belong to the 30 countries growing it, from Canada to France to China.
“We are the only industrialized nations not to allow it,” says Joseph Yost, a Republican member of Virginia’s state legislature and hemp supporter, who points out that hemp could replace tobacco as a cash crop and bring back some of the manufacturing jobs that have left his state.
But after years of lobbying, Eric Steenstra, president of Vote Hemp and executive director of the Hemp Industries Association, says efforts to legalize it are having an impact. The first breakthrough came in 2014, when Congress allowed for hemp to be grown for research purposes in states that permitted it. In 2016, 9,649 acres of hemp were planted across 15 states, and 30 universities conducted research on the crop. It allowed skeptical legislators to see the plant’s potential up close, and “helped demystify it for some”, Steenstra says.
The next, more politically daunting, step is persuading Congress to remove hemp from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act, where it was added by Richard Nixon’s administration.
“Only kneejerk drug warriors are still against hemp and every month that becomes increasingly more absurd,” says David Bronner, CEO of Dr Bronner’s, the popular health product company. Bronner positioned his company as an ardent backer of the cause. “I never dreamed the process of making it legal to grow hemp would take this long,” he said.
Growing and dissent
Alex White Plume, a former tribal president of the Oglala Sioux, began trying to grow hemp nearly two decades ago but was repeatedly persecuted by the federal government. He recently returned to South Dakota from the Standing Rock pipeline protests and equates the two struggles. “They are exactly the same,” he says. “We need to heal the earth and hemp can be used to replace many of the things we use today that [are harmful].”
In 1998, White Plume realized hemp could help break the Pine Ridge reservation’s cycle of deep poverty. He persuaded the tribe to legally adopt an ordinance differentiating between industrial hemp and marijuana, and thought tribal sovereignty would protect him from federal incursions.
His family researched the farming and business side – he envisioned as many as a dozen different businesses arising from the different parts of the hemp plant – and in 2000 they planted the crop not far from Wounded Knee Creek. “The Bureau of Indian Affairs had long tried to turn us into farmers, and I thought hemp was the way to do it,” White Plume says.
Then US officials showed up with guns, bulletproof vests … and weed-whackers. They decimated his plants. White Plume tried again in 2001 and 2002, until the government got an injunction against him for growing hemp without DEA permission. Despite help from Vote Hemp, White Plume says he nearly went broke appealing and still lost the case.
“It is awful and oppressive,” White Plume says. “The state won’t do diddly squat for our people but the government comes in and takes away my plants.”
Vote Hemp – backed by money from Bronner – recently hired a new lawyer and last year a federal judge finally lifted the federal court order. White Plume, 65, is still not allowed to grow hemp, but can now be paid to consult on hemp projects in other states.
“The whole thing makes me angry,” says White Plume, who adds that he no longer has the energy to become a hemp mogul but that his sister and daughter are developing business plans. “The United States should honor the treaties and our sovereignty.”
Ryan Loflin, a Colorado alfalfa and sorghum farmer, followed White Plume’s footsteps. In 2013, he planted 60 acres of hemp without government permission as an activist statement. “This is a political movement,” he says.
Loflin got media coverage, successfully daring the government to step in. “It was just time for this to happen,” Loflin says. “My community has been struggling for 30 years and lost a lot of farms but hemp can be beneficial to society and valuable to my community.”
A long political battle
Hemp’s demise traces back to the 1937 Marihuana Act, which imposed taxes and bureaucratic burdens on farmers. The culprit was the First Federal Bureau of Narcotics commissioner, Harry Anslinger, whose department needed a worthy project when alcohol was legalized.
“After Prohibition politicians needed their next new enemy to fight against,” says Dan Ratner, co-founder of Healthy Brands Collective, which owns the Tempt line of hemp-based food products. Ratner believes that the DuPont company (which made nylon, a new rival for hemp) and newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst (who owned many paper and timber interests) slandered hemp by playing up its cannabis roots, but it’s also plausible that hemp got accidentally caught up due to indifference and misunderstanding.
During the second world war, with Filipino imports cut off by Japan and the war machine desperate for hemp products such as tow lines, parachutes and aviation lubricant, the government produced a short film called Hemp For Victory, encouraging farmers to return to the plant; with federal aid thousands of acres of hemp were grown. Afterward, hemp faded back into obscurity until 1970 when Nixon put marijuana on Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act – and industrial hemp was again lumped in with it.
Yost, who sponsored a Virginia bill legalizing hemp, says years of educational efforts have made inroads. These days, both Steenstra and Bronner are optimistic about legalization, thanks to changing perceptions and the demand for farming and manufacturing jobs.
“Outsourcing American jobs is not a popular concept right now,” adds Polis. “There’s so much potential for the economy it would be crazy not to move forward,” Steenstra says, adding that it is also a states’ rights issue that should appeal to conservatives.
He says Iowa senator Charles Grassley, the judiciary committee chair, has repeatedly bottled up hemp bills to prevent a vote but Bronner says Republicans like Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul of Kentucky see the crop’s commercial potential and have been “amazing champions who may finally liberate hemp”.
Legalization is just the first step. “We need infrastructure,” Bronner says, so hemp can be processed and manufactured on a large scale. Legalization will attract investors and banks but supporters also hope for government grants and subsidies to create a market for hemp.
Loflin, the Colorado farmer, agrees: “We need to build this industry from the ground up.”
Source : The Guardian

How To Build a Hemp House

Hemp All over the world, people are turning to “Eco Houses” in a desperate effort to live more sustainably. Hemp is already an important building material in the Eco House construction industry, and could prove crucial to building a more sustainable future. So how can we make the best and most cost-effective use of this precious, renewable resource?

Across the world, conventional building practices are becoming ever more unsustainable. The need to house expanding populations adds to the ever-increasing pressure we are putting on our ecosystems, as we exploit natural resources with seemingly unstoppable haste.

We are packing more and more people into cities each year, and ravaging our environment in a desperate effort to sustain this inherently unsustainable lifestyle.

Why We Need to Rethink Urbanization

Due to this, many people are beginning to yearn for an alternative. Of course, it’s not just the unsustainability factor that really speaks to people – it’s the unnatural loss of community, the dislocation from our roots, the exposure to dangerous air pollution, the lack of sunlight and green spaces for kids to thrive and grow.

There are countless reasons that humans are better off living in smaller, greener communities, and slowly but surely, we’re starting to see recognition of this fact growing in the places it matters most – in the media, in the hearts and minds of the public, and in certain forward-thinking areas of government in various countries worldwide.

Another fundamentally important point is that housing in major, desirable cities is becoming insanely unaffordable throughout the world. For many, the idea of turning one’s back on “mainstream” society and heading for the hills is becoming too much to resist – and for some, it’s rapidly becoming one of the only choices left.

Eco-Houses May Be Part of the Solution

So, you may be among the thousands of people currently weighing up your home-owning options, and you may have hit upon the idea of finding the right location to build your own sustainable eco-house.

Hemp is an increasingly popular choice of eco-friendly construction material. It has many advantages, including excellent moisture and temperature regulating properties, light, flexible yet extremely durable physical characteristics, and remarkable resistance to fire, rot and animal/insect infestations.

It is quick-growing, requires few pesticides or fertilisers, and the process of turning the harvested hemp into building materials is simple and non-environmentally impacting. Thus, we will focus on hemp as the primary constituent of our hypothetical eco-house – and to read more about its advantages and disadvantages compared with other eco-materials, check out this informative resource.

So how should we be going about turning plans into reality?

The concept of buying a ready-built house is scary enough, and adding the responsibility of actually building it may be simply impossible for many. But if the circumstances are right, it could save a great deal of money, and it’s the ideal way to ensure that your home is just how you want it.

Here, we are not aiming to provide all the answers on how to build a hemp eco-house, but rather to provide readers with a general guide to the basic considerations and process needed to get started.

Planning & Budgeting for Your Hemp House

Of course, the first major consideration is budget. Unless you have previous house-building skills (or are lucky enough to have a friend or relative with a construction company!) you will probably need to shell out money for an architect – so figure that into your expenditures right away.

Typically, architectural fees end up around 10-15% of the total construction cost, but this may vary depending on your specific location and plan. Here’s a UK-based architect specialising in hemp; you may find similar specialists in your area.

An architect will take care of creating your house plan, according to the number of rooms and levels you require. Generally, smaller is better in sustainability terms – it reduces the literal footprint on the land, it reduces the cost of building materials, and it reduces the long-terms cost of heating and maintaining the property. In fact, so-called “tiny houses” are rapidly growing in popularity, so if you can make it fit, do it!

Take a look at the International Hemp Building Association’s list of partners for some initial ideas and options, and if you know of a reliable specialist local to you, why not let us know in the comments – you may end up helping out like-minded people in your area.

Having a basic plan before you buy land is a good idea – the plan can always be adapted as needed to fit the spot you eventually decide on. But with even a basic plan, you can calculate costs and budget far more effectively going
Finding the Right Place to Build Your Hemp House

Then, the next major step is finding the right place to build your hemp home. This will depend greatly on local laws, regulations, prices and availability. Consider your site carefully. There may be online resources that will help you locate a plot of land – for example, this guide outlines how residents of the UK can find and obtain land to build on.

A site that has previously been built on may be the best option – an old, tumbledown cottage could be torn down and replaced with something far more durable and sustainable, for example.

In some European countries such as Spain and Italy, entire villages and small towns have been abandoned, partly due to the difficulty of hooking them up to the grid – but if they can be repurposed for off-grid communities, they could solve numerous problems at once.

Generally, this approach is preferable to building on wild land – it’s hardly an eco-house if the habitats of countless birds and insects have been destroyed to create it!

Brownfield sites may also be worth considering (anything that makes “greener” use of urban land is worth considering at this stage), but as these are often contaminated with industrial waste, they may be a better option for long-term projects that involve hemp phytoremediation of soil for several years prior to actually building. Many people wish to grow their own food right next to their eco-house, so ensuring that soil is clean and healthy is essential in these cases!

While you are in the process of obtaining land (make sure you have planning permission from your local authority BEFORE investing in land), adapt and refine your strategy as needed to stay within budget and make the most effective possible use of available resources.

You may be planning to receive your utilities from the grid (now that renewable providers are becoming more widespread), but for many people interested in building an eco-home, energy self-sufficiency is a big factor. Therefore, you should be considering and costing your options here – solar panels, passive solar heating, waste-water recycling systems, rainwater collection, wind turbines, and even micro-hydroelectric.

Take a look at the Tiny House Blog’s tips for generating clean energy, and check out this Makeuseof post for an in-depth exploration of several options.

The cost of installing these technologies is rapidly falling, and providing a small home with 100% renewable, clean energy may be easier than you think!

Which Materials Do You Need? Where Will You Source It?

Sourcing and obtaining your materials is the next major consideration. Typically, you’ll be using Hempcrete over a timber frame, although steel or concrete frames may also be used. One major disadvantage of Hempcrete is that it is not sufficiently load-bearing to support roofs or multiple stories without a frame. You’ll also typically be working on concrete foundations, as Hempcrete is not suitable for foundations.

So what is Hempcrete? It’s a simple mix of hemp hurds, also known as “shivs” or “cores” – the woody inner part of the hemp stem that’s left over after all the fibres are removed – with lime and water. In building, “lime” refers to calcium oxide and calcium hydroxide derived from limestone and chalk. Mixtures of water, natural fibres and lime, which binds the fibres together, have been used in sustainable house-building for thousands of years.

So how can you obtain Hempcrete? If you have opted to work with a company specializing in hemp construction, they should have all the materials you need, and may have ready-made blocks and panels available. For example, the Netherlands-based hemp producer Hempflax offers a range of ready-produced hemp blocks and panels, as well as step-by-step consultancy services on how to use them.

If not, you can look for suppliers of hemp hurds and buy it in by the pallet or truckload to mix yourself – a process that is relatively simple, but requires the use of a large “forced action pan mixer” (in preference to a conventional drum mixer, which may not ensure the most even mix).

If you opt to mix your Hempcrete yourself, the cost will vary greatly according to local availability and laws. 1000kg (2200 lb) unprocessed hemp hurds works out at around $1100 in the US (€980), where cultivation of hemp is still not fully legal, and just €340 in Italy ($380), where hemp has been legal for decades.

Here is an excellent guide on mixing Hempcrete yourself, as well as advice on hemp-lime-water ratios (which are of the utmost importance for ensuring waterproofing and durability), and tips on how to build with it (even down to the number of hours/labourers needed per project).

Could You Live in a Hemp-Based Eco Community?

If you are considering building a hemp house, you may find that there are others in your local community that have similar ideas. If so, you may be able to cooperate to buy in the materials needed in bulk at more competitive prices, and exchange relevant local and hemp-specific knowledge.

There may already be local groups or communities that you can join, or you may be able to form a new organization of like-minded people, to work together on building eco-homes, or even to start whole new off-grid communities! Hemp could be the ideal basis for long-term, off-grid sustainable communities, as just one hectare can yield enough hurds for a 135 m2 (1,450 sq ft) house. It can also be grown at or near the construction site to save even more on transportation costs!

Precedents are being set for this in many countries worldwide. In the small Scottish settlement of Achabeag, Hempcrete will be the basis for the twenty eco-houses they plan to build; the first two prototypes have already been completed. The planners hope that Achabeag will “form a blueprint for new, sustainable communities across the north and west of Scotland”.

Hempcrete was developed in France in the 1980s, based on a rediscovered historic recipe that had been in widespread use centuries ago. Since the modern form was developed by French company Isochanvre, it has been the basis for more than 250 homes in various locations across France.

Hemp houses have now been built in the UK, Italy, France, Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and many other countries worldwide. Currently, the UK’s University of Bath is undertaking a three-year study to develop prefabricated Hempcrete panels, which could make building with hemp even easier in future!

Right now, hemp is comparable in cost to conventional building materials, and has so many green credentials that it’s already worth serious consideration. Furthermore, as the industry expands and hemp increases in popularity, costs are likely to come down and building with hemp will become even more affordable!

Source : Sensiseeds

Hemp fuels- Environmentally friendly fuel sources

The basics: Hemp can provide two types of fuel.

1. Hemp biodiesel – made from the oil of the (pressed) hemp seed.
2. Hemp ethanol/methanol – made from the fermented stalk.

To clarify further, ethanol is made from such things as grains, sugars, starches, waste paper and forest products, and methanol is made from woody/pulp matter. Using processes such as gasification, acid hydrolysis and enzymes, hemp can be used to make both ethanol and methanol.

In this day of oil wars, peak oil (and the accompanying soaring prices), climate change and oil spills such as the one in the gulf by BP, it’s more important than ever to promote sustainable alternatives such as hemp ethanol. Hemp turns out to be the most cost-efficient and valuable of all the fuel crops we could grow on a scale that could fuel the world.

And as it turns out, the whole reason for hemp prohibition – and alcohol prohibition – may have been a fuel the realization that OIL production is threatened by any competing fuel source, especially one that requires no modifications to your car!

What is Hemp Biodiesel?
Hemp biodiesel is the name for a variety of ester based oxygenated fuels made from hemp oil. The concept of using vegetable oil as an engine fuel dates back to 1895 when Dr. Rudolf Diesel developed the first diesel engine to run on vegetable oil. Diesel demonstrated his engine at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900 using peanut oil as fuel. Hemp biodiesel come from the pressing of the hemp seeds to extract the oil. Through a process explained here , hemp biodiesel can be made.

Hemp biodiesel can be made from domestically produced, renewable oilseed crops such as hemp. With over 30 million successful U.S. road miles hemp biodiesel could be the answer to our cry for renewable fuel sources. Learning more about renewable fuels does not mean we should not cut back on consumption but does help address the environmental affects of our choices. There is more to hemp as a renewable fuel source than you know

Why Hemp Biodiesel?

Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel that runs in any conventional, unmodified diesel engine.
It can be stored anywhere that petroleum diesel fuel is stored. Biodiesel is safe to handle and transport because it is as biodegradable as sugar, 10 times less toxic than table salt, and has a high flashpoint of about 300 F compared to petroleum diesel fuel, which has a flash point of 125 F.
Biodiesel can be made from domestically produced, renewable oilseed crops such as hemp.
Biodiesel is a proven fuel with over 30 million successful US road miles, and over 20 years of use in Europe.
When burned in a diesel engine, biodiesel replaces the exhaust odor of petroleum diesel with the pleasant smell of hemp, popcorn or french fries.
Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel in the US to complete EPA Tier I Health Effects Testing under section 211(b) of the Clean Air Act, which provide the most thorough inventory of environmental and human health effects attributes that current technology will allow.
Biodiesel is 11% oxygen by weight and contains no sulfur.
The use of biodiesel can extend the life of diesel engines because it is more lubricating than petroleum diesel fuel, while fuel consumption, auto ignition, power output, and engine torque are relatively unaffected by biodiesel.
The Congressional Budget Office, Department of Defense, US Department of Agriculture, and others have determined that biodiesel is the low cost alternative fuel option for fleets to meet requirements of the Energy Policy Act.
Source : Hemp.com

Environmental Benefits of Hemp

The industrial, medicinal and commercial properties of hemp have been known to mankind for a very long time, but its benefits to the environment have just been realized in recent years. Many industries looking for sustainable and eco-friendly processes are turning to hemp for the answer. Its cultivation does not need any particular climate or soil, and is thus found in all parts of the world. Hemp provides an alternative and more efficient source of energy mainly in 3 sectors:
Fuel
The woody hemp plant is low in moisture; it dries quickly and is an efficient biomass source of methanol. The waste products produced by using hemp oil are a good source of ethanol. Both methanol and ethanol are produced from hemp through the efficient and economical process of thermo-chemical conversion. One acre of hemp yields 1,000 gallons or 3,785 liters of fuel. Hemp allows a lesser reliance on fossil fuels, which are non-renewable sources of energy and will not be able to meet the increasing global demands for long.
Paper
Paper can be manufactured from hemp. Since hemp has a low lignin content compared to wood, it can be turned to pulp faster and easier; this naturally bright pulp does not need chlorine bleaching, which is used in traditional paper mills and releases a toxic substance called dioxin into the environment. Hemp is also compatible with the new soy-based binders rather than the harsh binders that give off formaldehyde. This reduces air pollution and health hazards to human and animal life. The quality of paper obtained from hemp is more durable and does not lose its color even after many years. Much more can be got out of each hemp plant since its paper can be recycled 7 or 8 times, as compared to only 3 for tree-based paper.
Construction
The uses of hemp also extend into construction. Fiberboards made from a hemp-based composite are stronger yet lighter than those made from wood. The combination of hemp fiber and lime results in a sound-proofing and insulating material that is stronger and lighter than concrete. By replacing wood and concrete, the amount of waste matter at a construction site is reduced. Since homes built using hemp products have better thermal insulation, less fuel will be consumed for heating their interiors. Bio-based plastics can be made from the long hemp fibers, and these are almost as strong as fiberglass. Hemp is an economical construction material that is recyclable, cheaper than glass and safe for the workers.
Hemp is so Much Better for the Environment:
It replaces trees as the source of raw material for wood and paper, thereby conserving forests. Trees take years to grow, while a crop of hemp can be grown in a few months. Only one acre of hemp can produce as much paper annually as 4 acres of trees.
When burning hemp as a fuel, carbon dioxide is released into the air, but this is absorbed by the next crop, which can be harvested 120 days after planting. This quick growth avoids the build-up of carbon dioxide. Also, hemp is a very leafy plant and thus contributes a high level of oxygen to the atmosphere during its growth; between 20 and 40%. This makes up for the loss of oxygen when it is burnt as a fuel, which in turn, reduces unwanted effects of global warming, acid rain and the depletion in the ozone layer on the environment.
Air pollution is reduced since hemp is naturally resistant to pests and does not need pesticides and herbicides to be sprayed. Very little fertilizers are required, since it’s abundant leaves fall into the soil and release the required nutrients and minerals, thereby creating better soil tilth. Cotton and flax are known to consume 50% of all pesticides; hemp replaces cotton as a raw material in the manufacturing of paper and cloth, and flax fiber or seed for animal feed, animal bedding and paper.
Soil enrichment: The hemp crop grows dense and vigorously. Sunlight cannot penetrate the plants to reach the ground, and this means the crop is normally free of weeds. Its deep roots use ground water and reduce its salinity. Also, erosion of topsoil is limited, thereby reducing water pollution. The roots give nitrogen and other nutrients to the soil. After the harvest, this soil makes excellent compost amendments for other plants, and hemp cultivation can follow the rotation of agriculture with wheat or soybean. In fact, the same soil can be used to grow hemp for many years, without losing its high quality. The hemp plant absorbs toxic metals emitted by nuclear plants into the soil, such as copper, cadmium, lead and mercury.
Fabrics made of hemp do not have any chemical residue, and is therefore safer for consumers. Even if the fabric contains only 50% hemp, it can keep the UV rays of the sun from harming the skin underneath.
Hemp products can be recycled, reused and are 100% biodegradable. The growth speed of the plant is fast enough to meet the increasing industrial and commercial demand for these products. Switching to hemp products will help save the environment, leaving a cleaner and greener planet for the next generation.

Source: Hemp Benifits Org.

Sustainable building solutions.

Forms of Hemp lime construction have been used for centuries. The hemp hurd or shiv when mixed with a lime binder forms a light weight aggregate. The lime is antiseptic and antibacterial and the highly insulative composite material is fire retardant.

The material’s flexibility allows it to be used in a number of ways in addition to new construction. For example retaining the frame but replacing poorly insulated composite external walls can be a good option in retrofitting for energy efficiency.

A lighter form of the insulative walling material can also be used for roofing and subfloor insulation.

Buildings made of hemp:

store the carbon from a renewable biomass throughout the life of the building material
create a vapour-permeable construction envelope that ensures healthy indoor air quality
provide excellent thermal insulation and some thermal mass
avoid thermal bridging and provides good airtightness with simple detailing
are simple to construct. Hemp building requires care but the skills are easy to learn.
reduce the load on foundations because it is light weight material
can have zero waste, as previously mixed material can be reintroduced
 in controlled proportions to new mixes.
For optimal durability once dried, exterior hemp walls should be finished with a Hemp lime, Lime or other natural render or breathable finish. Other than this hemp lime needs no unusual protection from the elements.

As with all lime based construction materials, to ensure a quality build Designers, Contractors and Owner Builders require a high level of understanding of the product. AHM offers formal training and hands on experience through regular Hemp Building Workshops.

Source: Hemp Masonry

HEMPCRETE COULD CHANGE THE WAY WE BUILD EVERYTHING

When it comes to new and sustainable housing ideas, it seems to always be about creating a more efficient home in terms of insulation, lighting, electricity, etc. Mainstream belief on the subject would have you believe that top corporations and government projects are working with the best possible technology to bring forth solutions that work and are going to be great for the environment. If that was truly the case, I can guarantee you that the whole world would be using Hempcrete right now. Haven’t heard of it? I’m not too surprised.

First off, what is Hempcrete? Hempcrete is a building material that incorporates hemp into its mixture. Hempcrete is very versatile as it can be used for wall insulation, flooring, walls, roofing and more. It’s fire-proof, water-proof, and rot-proof as long as it’s above ground. Hempcrete is made from the shiv or inside stem of the hemp plant and is then mixed with a lime base binder to create the building material. This mixture creates a negative carbon footprint for those who are concerned with the carbon side of things. Hempcrete is much more versatile, easy to work with and pliable than concrete. In fact, earthquakes cannot crack these structures as they are 3 times more resistant than regular concrete.
Since lime is the binding material, builders do not have to heat up the lime as much as a supplier would need to in the industrial creation of concrete. This results in a lot of energyurl-4 conservation when producing Hempcrete vs. concrete. Jumping back to the carbon aspect, Hempcrete sequesters (hides or puts away) carbon as it is very high in cellulose. Through it’s growing life cycle, it takes in large amounts of carbon which is then built into the home or building it is being used to construct. This does not allow the carbon to be released into the atmosphere. A home can save about 20,000lbs of carbon when being built out of Hempcrete

Hempcrete is a much more superior building material due to the fact that it is a very strong, lightweight and breathable material. When used as exterior walls, it lets water in without rotting or damaging the material. In a practical sense, instead of needing to build homes with space between exterior walls, which are then filled with insulation, you can simply use a Hempcrete wall. As humidity is taken in from the external environment, the Hempcrete holds that humidity until it is ready to be released again when the climate is less humid. Since the lime is wrapped in cellulose, the lime takes a bit longer for it to fully url-2petrify but is still incredibly strong. Over time, the lime looks to turn back to a rock, so the material becomes harder and harder until it petrifies completely. This means the wall will last thousands of years vs. 40 – 100 like normal building materials today. Another great aspect to Hempcrete is that if too much is mixed during building, you can return it to the soil as a great fertilizer. Since hemp grows to maturity in just 14 weeks, it is a very powerful, versatile, cheap and sustainable solution.

Other notable factors are that hemp requires no fertilizer, weed killer pesticide or fungicide to grow it. The hemp seed can be harvested as a nutritious food rich in Omega-3 oil, amino acids, protein and fiber. It is considered a “super food”. The outer fibers can be used for clothes, paper and numerous every day items. This truly is a very powerful plant and should be a no brainer when it comes to it being used in a very mainstream way.

You would think that if the government and corporations were truly concerned with climate change, and the massive effects they claim it is going to have on life, that they would begin implementing this solution very quickly. They would most likely make hemp legal once again in the US and start producing this stuff like crazy. But this doesn’t seem to be the case. Are they exaggerating about climate change and how much OUR carbon is affecting it? Or are they so concerned with their system that they fear changing things? Either way, something is up here.

Source : Collective Evolution

Hemp offers real sustainable solutions to our earth-killing practices

Hemp, the non-psychoactive strains of the Cannabis family, was once one of the most ubiquitous plants in the world. First found around 8,000 BCE in central Asia, hemp spread across multiple continents through the ages and was a fundamental part of the agricultural revolution. Throughout several civilizations, hemp was used for food, textiles, oil, and industrial purposes. Yet, after getting confused with marijuana in the 1900s, hemp was soon outlawed and forgotten. Many of its benefits were lost in the modern world.

Popular Mechanics published an article back in 1941 with findings that hemp “can be used to produce more than 25,000 products”. In several other countries, hemp has continued to be used for food, textiles, and even in construction to build houses that are more energy efficient than regular buildings.
popular mechanics hemp billion dollar crop

Hemp can help our Farmers and the Planet
The best part of hemp is that its applications are completely eco-friendly and sustainable.

Farmers can actually restore the health of their farmland by planting hemp as it eliminates the need to use agrochemicals such as herbicides or pesticides. Since hemp grows so densely and its roots are so deep, it kills off weeds naturally.

Planting hemp can offer an alternative solution to many of our current practices that are damaging this planet. With a growing cycle of only 4–6 months, hemp is a more sustainable option than trees for paper. Anything you can make out of fossil fuel, you can make out of hemp. This includes energy, plastic, or any other petroleum based products.
hemp’s diverse applications

Hemp has too many applications for us to ignore, especially as we fight an uphill battle against climate change. Bringing hemp back could be key to our sustainability efforts in preserving our soil and natural resources. Developing different applications of hemp and spreading it to the mainstream will help increase the supply of hemp and jumpstart a shift to a healthier society.

It’s time for us to take another look at hemp
We encourage you to learn more about the benefits and uses of hemp by getting involved with hemp events in your city. This is a fantastic way to meet hemp enthusiasts in your community, while helping to grow hemp awareness.

You can also support the hemp movement by writing to your legislators. Ask them to support the Industrial Hemp Farming Act to allow our farmers to grow this crop. Zev Paiss, the founder of the National Hemp Association, claims “The Industrial Hemp Farming Act could be the largest jobs bill that Congress can pass in 2016”.

Source : Ministry of Hemp

Hemp vs Cotton: The Ultimate Showdown

Hemp has been making a lot of noise lately, especially with the growing awareness surrounding the use of hemp oil for treating cancer. Although the word ‘hemp’ still often gets confused and lumped into the same definition as Cannabis, a similar but psychoactive plant, it’s important to realize hemp can be a major game changer for our world if used to its potential. As we go through this post, you will be wondering ‘why don’t we use this stuff all the time.. for everything?!’ Simple answer, farming hemp was banned in the US and other countries in the 1937 because of the threat it caused to certain companies and their businesses. More about that here.
Although hemp has many practical uses, let’s focus on one that would affect us every day; clothing. For this, we will compare hemp to cotton, as cotton is a very popular resource used in clothing production. We’ll need to focus on various areas that have to be taken into consideration when comparing the two so we can determine not only what is better for us, but also what is best for our environment as it’s important to view things holistically. Let’s do it.

Water

Cotton: To grow cotton you require about 1400 gallons of water for every pound you intend to produce. That’s a lot of water! Some areas of the world that produce cotton are running out of fresh water due to the production of cotton as well as clothing. Some areas of the world have even experienced desertification as a result of producing cotton.

Hemp: You require about half the amount of water to produce hemp as you would if producing cotton. Hemp is a strong and reliable plant that grows very quickly. Not only that, hemp produces about 200% – 250% more fibre in the same amount of land compared to cotton.

The victor: Hemp

Pesticides

Cotton: One of the biggest downsides to cotton is how much pesticides are used to grow the plant. Although organic cotton farming is beginning to catch on a bit more, the production of cotton worldwide takes up about 25% of the world’s pesticide use. The other unfortunate factor is that these chemicals can end up being absorbed into our skin as we wear clothing.

Hemp: The beauty of hemp is that it requires no pesticides to grow. In fact, it doesn’t require any chemicals at all to grow. The growing nature of the plant competes with weeds and over-powers their ability to sustain themselves. This allows the hemp plant to grow freely and quickly.

The victor: Hemp

Comfort & Longevity

Cotton: Generally very comfortable to begin with, as you continue to wear cotton it ‘breaks in’ to become even more comfortable. There is no denying how soft cotton can be, but it is also true that cotton fibres break down over time and the more it is washed the faster it breaks down.

Hemp: The hemp fibre used in clothing is a strong natural fibre that, like cotton, gets progressively softer with each passing day you wear it and each time you wash it. Although it may not start off quite as soft, it is still soft and certainly would not be considered uncomfortable. The plus is that the fibre is much stronger and durable. Repeated washed will not break the fibre down anywhere near as quickly as cotton. Creating more hemp clothing would mean we would need to produce much less clothing.

The victor: Hemp

Breathability & Wicking

Cotton: Breathability is certainly a strong suit for cotton. It also does not hold odours for very much. This is quite possibly one of the biggest downsides to synthetic fibres, they don’t dispel odour well and don’t often deal with moisture well either. While cotton has a natural wicking system, it also holds moisture a little longer than what might be considered most desirable.

Hemp: Performs very well when it comes to breathability and wicks moisture away from the body effectively. Hemp also carries anti-bacterial properties that trump any other natural fibre. This means hemp will not mold or grow mildew very easily. Since it also does not hold odours, hemp clothing edges out cotton slightly on this one

The victor: Almost a tie, but hemp is our pal on this one again

Aesthetics

Cotton: Without the use of dyes, cotton comes naturally in white, cream and off-white. Cotton can be dyed naturally or synthetically to achieve a desired color. The growing knowledge that cotton is very taxing on the environment and not healthy for our skin is creating quite the demand for organic cotton. In terms of the fashion market, organic cotton is showing up more and more.

Hemp: Given the various processes available to remove fibres from the stem of a hemp plant, hemp can be naturally creamy white, black, green, grey or brown. Without even requiring the use of dye, hemp comes in a variety of colors. Of course, you are still able to dye hemp both naturally and synthetically. Hemp is quickly becoming more and more popular in the fashion market as designers see the potential in the material while being a very environmentally sound option. Since it is durable and lasts a long time, it can be attractive to certain designers.

The victor : Hemp

Final Decision

Winner by knockout and growing undisputed champion of natural harmony, HEMP! This isn’t to say that cotton, especially grown organically, is not a good material, it simply isn’t better all around than hemp. In some cases, cotton could be a must use if something specific is being produced. The biggest differences are in the facts that hemp requires much less water and no pesticides to produce. Not only that, it boasts a lot more fibre per acre. Concerned about excess CO2 in the atmosphere? Hemp is spectacular at sequestering CO2! Take the time to check out some hemp clothing around the internet or see if there are some local stores who sell it. Although options can sometimes be limited right now, look out for more hemp clothing as awareness continues to spread!

Source : Collective Evolution