Mention the word hemp, people think of marijuana, even though the two species are completely different. Hemp (AKA Cannabis sativa) has an uncommonly high nutrient density and is used the world over for many different products. You might well have heard of hemp seeds or even hemp protein, but do you know about its benefits to the planet?
Hemp as a Carbon Sink
Climate change is a significant threat to wildlife, farmers, and our broader communities. Producing hemp requires less water than wheat, rice or soy. When grown on a large scale, the hemp plant absorbs carbon emission from the environment. Basically, hemp sequesters or ‘traps’ carbon from the air into plants. Each ton of hemp output captures around 1.63 tons of carbon from the air. Put simply hemp sucks carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere at an accelerated rate, then actively returns it to the earth. Much more effective than a carbon tax!
When it comes to uses of hemp, it can do a lot of the jobs that cotton, or wood fibres can. Also, because hemp is naturally lighter in colour you don’t require the level of bleaching that other products require which also helps save the environment. Australians are also using “hempcrete” as a building material. Made by mixing the inner core of a hemp plant with a lime binder and water, it makes hemp homes virtually fireproof.
When it comes to growing food crops, hemp is one of the best for the environment. It’s naturally resistant to pests, which means no insecticide, pesticide or herbicide. Hemp also grows very tightly spaced. This not only means that you can use farmland in a more sustainable and productive way, but it also naturally starves out nearby weeds by depriving them of sunlight.
Why not try a little hemp in your life?