I Have A Hempy Dream!


This morning after taking my daughter to school (when I am driving is when I have my best ideas and do my best thinking) I had a thought. It wasn’t a new thought, but it had new energy.

I’ve always wanted to be involved with Habitat for Humanity. But my idea, my dream has a new twist. HEMP Habitats for Humanity. Solar hemp homes! I want to help put families in their own homes, homes that are carbon negative, environmentally healthy, and energy efficient. I want to get dirty, drive some nails, use my hands to help create a healthy environment for those that need a roof over their heads.

I, also, dream to have one of those homes. Solar. Hemp. Energy efficient. Clean. Healthy. Bright. A place that I know will not tax our planet, but HELP it.

I want to start by building one in each state. Can you imagine the impact just from one carbon negative home? I want this to go viral. I can envision communities like this, pockets of clean, green areas that heal, not harm.

I want this to be a movement, a wave. Wait, let me backtrack. WANT means lack. It WILL happen, and it will happen in my lifetime.

How will this happen? I do not know. But I do know I am not alone in this dream. I have put this dream out to the Universe, and where there is a will, a desire, there is always a way.

Who is with me? Who will join me in envisioning this dream and making it happen?

The time is NOW. For our planet, our environment, our economy, our children.

So, hop on this ride, folks, let’s make it happen!

Global Warming ~ Is Hemp The Solution?


This week the eastern U.S. coast had a visitor by the name of Sandy. She came through with a wide path of destruction, and left quite a mess in her wake, including devastating flooding. The news stations and internet were inundated with photos of her impressive size. Is this a sign of what is to be the norm, due to global warming?

The scenes in New York were also a reminder of a film I saw years ago, “The Day After Tomorrow.” It was quite frightening, yet I was riveted. Will it come to this? I certainly hope not.

Steps must be taken NOW to stop the devastation, and the practices that contribute to global warming, which include CO2 emissions from fossil-fueled power plants, CO2 emissions from methane, CO2 emissions from fossil-fueled vehicles, deforestation, and increased levels of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides on commercial and large-scale crops.

I pulled up a blog article I wrote earlier this year, and I believe it is apropos to bring it up again, in light of Hurricane Sandy.

“In the past decade global warming has come to the forefront. This isn’t something new; the earth’s climates have always fluctuated throughout the centuries and millenia. What makes global warming more of an ‘issue’ now is the fact that people are becoming more aware of some of the practices that are not HELPING the global warming situation; it is said that the past 10 years have seen the fastest moving temperature changes.

What causes global warming? One cause is the buildup of CO2 (carbon dioxide) in the atmosphere, which holds the sun’s heat and causes the warming. Fossil fuels are the main culprits; coal burning plants and automobiles are 2 of the biggest contributors to the blanket of CO2 in the atmosphere.

CO2 emissions are at an all-time high; extensive removal of forests is adding to the problem, since CO2 is neutralized by plants and trees. The Amazon rainforest is being destroyed at a very quick pace. At over a billion acres, it is one of the planet’s most treasured ‘air cleaners’. Destruction of the rainforest is contributing to the warming we see today, as well as loss of habitat for animals and increased land erosion.

So, what is the remedy for halting or even reversing global warming? One way to counter the effects of global warming is growing hemp – on a global scale.

Industrial hemp uses photosynthesis to remove the CO2 from the atmosphere and convert it to oxygen. The hemp plant can convert huge amounts of CO2, more than most plants. Not only does it remove the CO2 from the air, it also deposits the CO2 into the soil, enriching it and causing it to be more fertile. Hemp is one of the very few crops that does NOT deplete the soil after it is grown and harvested.

There is a move to replace fossil fuels in automobiles with biofuels and hemp fuels. Homes are being built with hemp materials (making the hemp homes carbon neutral and in some cases carbon negative). Products typically made with petroleum and timber are being made with hemp. The move to green consumption is growing.

It is unfortunate that the US cannot legally grow hemp at this time. But steps are being taken, people are making their voices heard. We are inching toward the day when hemp can be farmed in the United States – and we can contribute to making our planet clean, green, and fresh again.”

I want my children and grandchildren to have a beautiful, clean planet to live on, one that practices sustainable, healthy ways of living. One that is not damaged by oil drilling, fracking, pollution, not one that is disease-ridden and environmentally unsafe. No, our children and grandchildren deserve something better, and the time is NOW to turn to practices that nourish the earth.

Economic Stimulus? Think HEMP!


Last night’s vice-presidential debate had me thinking quite a bit this morning. Almost all of the topics, in some way or other, had to do with money. Defense – money. Economy – money. Taxes – money. Medicare – money. Health – money. Social Security – money. Employment/unemployment – money.

And by now you are wondering, “Where is she going with this?”

I’ll tell you. The United States’ economy is not at it’s healthiest point right now. People are hurting. Businesses are hurting. Some American farmers are hurting. Unemployment is at an unacceptable level. Fossil fuel energy is HIGH. Now, I must also remind you that everything is energy, money is energy. Energy fluctuates. Everything fluctuates, up and down, never in a steady, static line.

I came across several articles stating that greener businesses are growing at a faster percentage rate than the actual economy growth. Here are a few examples of some ‘green’ business types: bicycles, thrift and re-purposing stores, electric/hybrid cars (some which use hemp panels), wind/solar energy, and green construction (both industrial and residential).

BUT, like I stated above, green businesses are GROWING. What does this growth mean? Jobs. Income. Security. Economic growth. And…environmental conscience.

Below is an excerpt from one of the articles I read:

 

  • Greener industries grow faster than the overall economy. For every percentage-point increase in an industry’s green intensity, annual employment growth was 0.034 percentage points higher. Future projections suggest continued job growth from green intensity.
  • States with greater green intensity generally fared better in the economic downturn.
  • Green jobs are accessible to workers without a college degree. For every 1 percentage-point increase in green intensity in a given industry, there was a corresponding 0.28 percentage-point increase in the share of jobs in that industry held by workers without a four-year college degree.
  • Manufacturing plays a strong role in the green economy. The sector accounts for 20.4 percent of all green jobs despite representing only 10.8 percent of total private employment. Furthermore, the green industries within the manufacturing sector are projected to grow 25 percent faster than the overall sector.

Much of the current discussion about green jobs focuses on the renewable-energy industry and thus overlooks how pervasive green jobs are throughout the economy. In truth, the utility sector accounts for just three percent of total private green jobs, and even within that sector, the water and sewage industry accounts for over four times the number of green jobs as renewable energy.  Occupations such as garbage collectors, sewage workers, construction workers, household-appliance manufacturers and bus drivers are as integral to the green economy as solar-panel installers or wind-turbine manufacturers.

“Transitioning to a greener and more sustainable economy is good for the environment, but it also helps promote stronger economic growth and opportunity,” said Pollack.  “And the seeds of this transformation are planted throughout the economy, oftentimes in unexpected places.”  (enewspf.com)

“Seeds.”  Did you see that? And you KNOW which direction I am taking that – HEMP!

Hemp is one of the GREENEST products on the planet. It is carbon negative. It’s growing season is approximately 4 months. It can be used to manufacture ANY product that is also made with carbon-based fossil fuels. Hemp can also be used in construction – interior, exterior, foundation to roof. It is biodegradable, cleans the air, heals the soil, uses less water than cotton or other crops, doesn’t need fertilizer or pesticides, and can be grown ABUNDANTLY in many climates. Not only that, it’s nutritional value makes it an important food crop.

Hemp can put our farmers to work. (See also American Farmland Trust.) Hemp, being a GREEN resource, can help our economy grow faster, put manufacturers to work, and start the process to heal our planet from the damage done by pulling fossil fuels out of the ground.

My vote is for HEMP!

Hemp Habitats – Homes of the Future?


Hemp homes, while not mainstream yet, are the cutting edge of green building and living. Hemp, one of the strongest and most durable fibers on the planet, is being used for foundations, walls, roofing, insulation, and indoor textiles and installations.

Hemcrete is made with hemp hurds  and lime, and is stronger, lighter, and more flexible than concrete. It is used for foundations and wall structures, and is a carbon-negative substitute for traditional concrete.

Buildings account for 38% of the CO2 emissions in the U.S., according to the U.S. Green Building Council and demand for carbon neutral and/or zero-footprint buildings is at an all-time high.” (Inhabitat.com)

Hempboard is a fiber board made with hemp hurds. It can be used for walls, cabinetry, doors, shelves, furniture, and flooring.

Hemp insulation comes in many forms – mat and roll, spun and loosely compacted hemp fiber insulation, and hemcrete.

Hemp roof tiles can come in several shapes and sizes.

In all of the above applications, hemp is the perfect choice  because it is:

Water resistant

Insect resistant

Mold resistant

Rodent repellent

In some applications, the products are fire-resistant and,

In all applications the hemp is an excellent insulator and of course, helps to keep the air in the home clean.

Any why, do you ask, are hemp homes carbon negative? The growing and harvesting of the hemp plants lock up a larger amount of carbon dioxide (cleaning the air and environment)  than the lime binder used in the hemcrete production.

Farming hemp in the U.S. and building more hemp structures would be valuable – both economically AND environmentally.

Hemp – The Answer To Sustainable Living


We are using up the resources of 1.5 planets. That is a long way from sustainability. Every product made takes something from the planet that we can’t give back. So think twice before you buy anything. Think about what went into making that product. Buy better quality, but buy less. Your shopping habits are where you control your impact on natural resources.” ~ Yvon Chouinard, founder and CEO of Patagonia

Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth & protection of the country.” -Thomas Jefferson

Proponents of sustainable living strive to live consciously in a way that what they use does not harm or permanently take something from nature that is not replaceable.

Sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment.  Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations.

Sustainability is important to making sure that we have and will continue to have,  the water, materials, and resources to protect human health and our environment.” ~ http://www.epa.gov

Sustainability falls into 3 sections :

  • 100% efficient – these are sustainable products that can be consumed and renewed in large quantities endlessly, without leaving a negative impact on the environment
  • High efficient – these are products that are ‘green’ and environmentally kind, yet are not endless.
  • Low or non- efficient – – these are products that are not sustainable at all, deplete natural resources, and leave a negative impact on the environment and health

I think you can see where I am going with this. Out of all the natural resources that we have available to us, can you think of ONE that can be renewed endlessly, in huge quantities, that can clean the air and nourish the soil, a resource that can be made into tens of thousands of products, all of which can be recycled or reused or put back into the earth to heal it? Can you think of ONE resource that not only leaves a NEGATIVE carbon footprint, it can also give us energy (fuel) that is clean, or can heal or bodies as well as the soil that it is planted in?

There is one resource on this earth that can do all of the above, and more. It is Hemp.

Hemp is sustainable, clean, healthy, and yes, it can be grown in huge amounts indefinitely. It grows well in many environmental conditions, as well as almost any type of soil. It’s growth period is approximately 4 months, so a couple growing seasons can occur every year.

Hemp products can be recycled MANY times, much more than many of our common products that we use (paper, cotton, plastics, clothing/textiles).

To increase sustainability and efficiency, we must replace low-efficient/non-sustainable products with 100% efficient, sustainable hemp.

And what products can be made from hemp? Below is a VERY short list of the thousands upon thousands of products:

  • Plastics (bags, utensils, computer and phone components)
  • Auto components (car panels)
  • Construction materials (foundation/hempcrete, fiberboard, insulation, carpet, furniture, roof tiles)
  • Paper (stationery, bathroom tissue, paper towels, cardboard boxes)
  • Textiles/rope/clothing (shirts, pants, shoes, hats, underwear, socks, diapers)

Of course, we cannot forget the nutritional aspect of hemp. Industrial hempseed and hempseed oil are excellent, nutritionally-dense foods. With the perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega fatty acids, Edestin protein, fiber, chlorophyll, all essential amino acids, and many micro and macro nutrients, hemp is a fantastic sustainable food AND medicine.

There is no other single renewable, sustainable raw material that can replace and eradicate toxins and dangerous products that we use and eat; there is no other sustainable raw material that can fulfill ALL our basic needs and beyond – than HEMP.

Hemp – A Cash Crop For Medicine, Food, And Shelter


The 1938 Edition of Popular Mechanics called hemp The New Billion Dollar Crop. (You can see the article here: http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/hemp/popmech1.htm)

Unfortunately, the Billion Dollar Crop was not meant to be. Randolph Hearst’s newspapers depended on wood (he owned several sawmills) and his investments in timber would be threatened. DuPont’s chemicals were also a factor, in that they were used with the wood pulp to create the paper. Hemp was a threat to timber, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and oil.

What exactly is a cash crop? A cash crop is a crop grown for direct sale, as opposed to being grown for the farmer’s use (livestock feed, etc.). Before prohibition, hemp WAS  a cash crop. Hemp was used for food, textiles, fuel, medicine, and housing. It was also used as money. People could pay their taxes with hemp!

Hemp can produce ten times the methanol as corn. Crop rotation is not necessary, as the hemp enriches the soil on its own. It does not need pesticides or herbicides.

Up until the 20th century, hemp WAS the largest cash crop in America.

Today there is a movement to get BACK to hemp. Hemp farming is legal in several states, but getting the permits from the DEA is next to impossible. Farmers WANT to grow hemp. With over 50,000 products that can be produce from hemp, it IS the perfect choice.

Hemp fibers are the longest and strongest in the plant kingdom. Hemp fabric lasts longer than cotton and is less chemical and water intensive.

Hempseeds and hempseed oil are an excellent nutrition source, with the perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega fatty acids, easily digestible proteins, and other nutrients needed for optimum health.

Hemp fuel is safe and clean.

Hemp used in construction means cleaner, stronger structures – and structures made from hemp are carbon neutral; in some cases they are carbon negative.

Hemp fabric and clothing are becoming more popular; hemp foods are found in health food stores, food co-ops, and some grocery stores.

Hemp plastics and automobile components are becoming more popular as well.

Most of the hemp imported into the U.S. comes from Canada and China. New figures show that the U.S. spends more than $300,000,000 per year on hemp products – both finished products and raw hemp.

In Kentucky, lawmakers are promoting hemp as a cash crop.

Willie Nelson, in the following video, explains why hemp farming should be restored to the U.S.

The hemp market is GLOBAL. Imagine if the U.S. could put farmers to work, growing cash crops of hemp, and having the ability to be a SUPPLIER of hemp world-wide. It truly WOULD be a billion dollar crop.

Hemp – One Of The Most Healthy Recyclable Substances Around


Hemp has long been known to be a clean, renewable resource. It can be grown with little to no fertilizer and pesticides; in fact, it has natural pesticides. It enriches and heals the soil it is grown in, cleans the air, and reduces pollution. It has some of the longest, strongest natural fibers known to man.  Around 50,000 products can me made from hemp.

With landfills taking up more space, there are many who are turning to green/recyclable options. In some cities recycling is mandatory.

Paper made from wood pulp can be recycled. However, it can be recycled maximum of 3 times. Newspaper and office paper is often recycled into toilet paper – but before you start thinking that it is ‘green’ and ‘healthy’, let me share this with you. Toilet paper with recycled papers STILL contain chemicals used in the processing paper – chlorine, ammonia, lye.

After the 3 recycles of paper, it is then generally disposed of, and the chemicals, though the amounts may be small, are still put into the earth. Hemp paper, however, is clean, only needs hydrogen peroxide to bleach it if necessary, and is recyclable up to 8 times. After the recycling processes it can safely be disposed of because 1. there are not large amounts of chemicals in it and 2. it is so clean and would be considered a fertilizer.

Petroleum based plastics can be recycled, but again, they are so chemical intensive and toxic that they could actually be considered pollution. Hemp-based plastics can be recycled over and over again, and like paper, when they have finished their recycles they can be safely disposed of. Again, like hemp paper, hemp plastics will actually enrich the soil because they are biodegradable AND clean.

Petroleum-based plastics are biodegradable, “Now, the bad news: This degradation could be releasing harmful compounds such as bisphenol A (BPA into the ocean, according to research presented at the American Chemical Society meeting…” (discovermagazine.com) Hemp plastics do NOT contain BPA and are healthy for humans AND environment.

In the United States hemp paper and plastics are not part of the mainstream market, but they are continually growing in popularity as we realize the need to be more responsible about using and recycling HEALTHY alternatives, healthy for us AND the earth.