Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hemp, the Wonder Weed

Hemp, the non stoning cousin of Cannabis, is pretty amazing stuff. To whit...

"Industrial hemp has many uses, including paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, construction, health food, and fuel.[1] It is one of the fastest growing biomasses known,[2] and one of the earliest domesticated plants known.[3] It may be environmentally helpful, for example hemp requires fewer pesticides,[4] no herbicides,[5] controls erosion of the topsoil, and produces oxygen. Furthermore, hemp can be used to replace many potentially harmful products, such as tree paper (the processing of which uses chlorine bleach, which results in the waste product polychlorinated dibensodioxins, popularly known as dioxins, which are carcinogenic, and contribute to deforestation), cosmetics, and plastics, most of which are petroleum-based and do not decompose easily. "

To add fuel to the fire, :) here's a blurb from Alternet:

"In terms of sustainability, there are numerous reasons to grow hemp," says Patrick Goggin, a board member on the California Council for Vote Hemp, the nation's leading industrial-hemp advocacy group.

Goggin launches into its environmental benefits: Hemp requires no pesticides; it has deep digging roots that detoxify the soil, making it an ideal rotation crop -- in fact, hemp is so good at bioremediation, or extracting heavy metals from contaminated soil, it's being grown near Chernobyl.

Hemp is also an excellent source of biomass, or renewable, carbon-neutral energy, and its cellulose level, roughly three times that of wood, can be used for paper to avoid cutting down trees, an important line of defense against global warming.

When it comes to hemp, environmental gains are inexorably intertwined with economic ones. The auto industry, hardly synonymous with being green but which has had the research dollars to apply new technology, can vouch for Goggin. For years European car makers have been using hemp-fiber-reinforced composite materials to replace fiberglass and in other components, such as door panels or dashboards. And now their American counterparts have joined in."


"Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt". - (Act I, Scene IV). - Measure for Measure - Shakespeare
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