Let’s start by saying SGA hasn’t been watching a Cheech and Chong marathon and no, we don’t have the munchies. With Earth Day just around the corner, we wanted to bring awareness to the many ways that hemp can help save the environment.
Unfortunately, hemp gets lumped in with its notorious cousin, marijuana (Cannabis sativa). The truth is that while hemp is derived from the same family of plants as marijuana, it comes from Cannabis sativa L strains that contain less than 1% THC, meaning hemp carries no psychoactive properties.
Over the years, a hemp revival has taken shape. Perceptions have shifted, especially among business owners, farmers, nutritionists, activists, and green consumers. As a renewable and raw material, hemp can be incorporated into many products, making them more eco-friendly. Even the hemp flowers and seeds can be used, leaving nothing to waste. Here are more reasons why hemp’s environmentally-friendly characteristics make it a sustainable wonder crop.
- It’s a farmer’s best friend. Not only does hemp grow in a variety of climates and soil types, it doesn’t require a lot of space and its fast growth rate produces high yields. Because the crop improves soil health, no fallow period is needed to grow food crops.
- It’s an environmentalist’s best friend. The hemp plant grows like a “weed” so there is no need for most pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides (it is naturally resistant to most pests). Hemp also thrives on less water than most crops and has also been proven to remove toxins, radioactive materials, and metals from contaminated soil. When planted around the infamous nuclear disaster site Chernobyl, scientists found that hemp conducted phytoremediation, which is the process of removing the chemicals from soil, better than any other plant.
- It can compete with cotton. Hemp has been used as a durable fabric since time immemorial. As a textile, hemp needs approximately half as much land and half as much water as cotton does to thrive. Cotton is the largest user of water among all agricultural commodities. It can take 2,700 liters to produce the cotton needed to make a single t-shirt.
- It’s a superfood. Hemp seeds are used in a variety of health foods, including hemp seed butters, hemp seed energy bars, hemp oil, and even hemp seed milks. The seeds have a nutty flavor and are regarded as a superfood since they are high in omega-3 fatty acids and are a complete protein.
- It could save the trees. Hemp pulp has been used to create paper for at least 2,000 years. The Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper, and even the finest Bible paper today remains hemp-based.
So this Earth Day, don’t let our environment go up in smoke…switch to a renewable product that will help save the environment, leaving a cleaner and greener planet for the next generation.