Hemp as environmental saviour

Can hemp cultivation can, thanks to its beneficial properties, help us reduce our impact on the environment? It could probably be our best weapon in this tough battle!

Hemp gives more than it takes

Cultivating hemp could really help mitigate climate change, thanks to its beneficial properties on soil and biodiversity. It could help drastically reduce emissions in the textile, plastic and construction sectors. Thanks also to the ‘carbon sequestration’ during harvest, hemp offers an accelerated transition to regenerative growth. This means that the planet is given back more than it takes away. Since no synthetic products are needed to cultivate hemp, it can help improve biodiversity in rural areas. In addition, the flowering cycle usually takes place between July and September, and as this is the period when pollen is scarce in nature, hemp pollen would translate into a vital nutrient source for bees suffering from a lack of flowers and other plants. Thanks to hemp, we could reduce the stress that bees suffer during this period!

The whole plastic problem could be avoided if hemp were cultivated and used instead. Although plastic is very useful, it has a very strong impact on the environment and the ecosystem. Both governments and citizens have started to recognise this problem and are interested in alternative forms. Unfortunately, at least here in Italy, this is a very slow change.

There are already some hemp products on the market that represent a sustainable alternative to synthetic plastics and their composites. Several major European car manufacturers have started using hemp fibres for vehicle interiors. Hemp is as light and strong as steel. It has been calculated that the mass adoption of lightweight biomaterials would mean the saving of 40,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions and the possibility of driving an additional 325 million km on the same amount of fuel. A calculation that goes in favour of hemp as a source of raw materials in vehicle construction. From synthetic to bio-based raw materials means greater energy efficiency and offers a significant reduction in emissions.

Hemp and its many benefits

This is what could happen if rulers were to massively encourage the use of hemp paper:

  • Deforestation, which is endangering the world’s forests, would come to a significant halt
    as no more trees would be used to produce paper.
  • We would be able to produce much more paper using the same land as hemp is an annual plant just like many vegetables. As for trees, on the other hand, you have to wait at least 10 years for one to grow back, so you are forced to deforest and desertify new areas.
  • Hydrogeological instability would be curbed as fewer trees would be cut down. Soils are exposed to the risk of runoff without the strength of roots to hold them together
  • It would limit the rise in CO2 concentrations.
  • It would limit the pollution caused by the vehicles needed to transport the cut logs to the paper mills (ships, trains and especially trucks).

A new ally against pollution

Hemp has been mistreated and abused for too long. But it can be a real alternative to what we use today. It can replace plastic and paper, it can help us reduce CO2 emissions, it can help us in our reforestation work and much more. We must no longer underestimate what nature gives us; on the contrary, we must study it so that it helps us solve the disasters we have created in the past!

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