As one of the world’s oldest crops, hemp crops boast a long history encompassing many uses. Not only was the U.S. Constitution drafted on hemp paper, but the oldest known fabric remnant discovered by archaeologists in Turkey is a 9,000-year-old hemp-woven textile. Every part of the plant can be used, including its seeds, flowers, leaves, and roots. Like marijuana, hemp is a cannabis plant that produces THC. However, hemp produces 0.3 percent THC, much less than marijuana. In today’s blog, we’ll dive into the planetary benefits of hemp. In short: growing more hemp may save the planet from global warming disasters.
There’s no denying that hemp is a pretty impressive plant with a long list of environmental benefits. From cleaning the air to restoring the earth’s soil, there’s seemingly no end to its planetary perks. Switching to hemp has the potential to create a cleaner and greener environment for generations to come. Here are nine amazing ways that hemp crops can help keep Earth healthy and save the planet.
Hemp crops help soil health
As the hemp plant grows and matures, leaf matter falls to the ground and decomposes. This process replenishes the surrounding soil with nutrients, preparing it for a richer yield the following year. And the incredible benefits don’t end there. The plant’s deep roots can reach up to nine feet below ground, which helps hold the soil together and prevents erosion. Introducing hemp into crop rotations can actually reverse the effects of soil compaction and erosion.
Hemp breathes in CO2
Do you ever worry about the lack of clean air due to dangerous gases and toxins? Hemp crops may save the planet by converting CO2 into oxygen for us to breathe. Known as nature’s purifier, hemp takes in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and makes the air around us much cleaner. For every ton of hemp produced, 1.63 tons of carbon is removed from the air, which means hemp is more effective at clearing the air than trees.
Hemp can produce biodegradable plastics
Did you know that Americans use billions of plastic water bottles each year? These bottles take between 400 to 1,000 years to decompose, which is a great incentive to switch to an alternative material like hemp. The plant is non-toxic and biodegradable and can be used for producing plastics. Instead of filling landfills with toxic chemicals such as petroleum, we can recycle natural products and use hemp.
Hemp plants absorb toxic metals
One of hemp’s many talents is the ability to eliminate harmful toxins by absorbing them. Hemp crops are so effective at removing toxic materials that it was used following the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl to remove radioactive strontium and cesium, and the plant has even been considered for removing radiation from Fukushima, a nuclear disaster site in Japan.
Hemp fabrics are free of chemicals
Sadly, the majority of today’s synthetic fabrics are made from highly toxic compounds that produce polymer-based petrochemical materials. It takes a massive amount of energy to create these fabrics, burning coal, oil, or crude oil. This process also releases toxic emissions into the air and leaves harmful residues in the fibers. An easy way to fix these problems is by switching to hemp. Clothing made from hemp crops is a win-win situation. Not only does it have zero chemical residue, but it’s also incredibly durable and UV-resistant.
Hemp supports sustainable farming
An important aspect of sustainable farming practices is crop rotation. Rotating crops according to season helps keep soil nutrients up. Since hemp is an annual crop that can be harvested within four months of being planted, it is the perfect candidate for crop rotation. Farmers can use hemp for richer, cleaner soil and larger crop yield to help save the planet.
Hemp crops reduce air pollution
Air pollution is responsible for a number of devastating environmental effects, including human health problems, acid rain, and global warming. The United States is the world’s second-largest producer of carbon dioxide, following China. However, there is hope in hemp. The plant can help us face this problem head-on since it is highly effective at breaking down pollutants and improving overall air quality.
Hemp cultivation prevents deforestation
Deforestation is spreading across the planet at an alarming pace. While many scientists now believe that the entire rainforest will be gone within 100 years, hemp crops could turn this situation around. It could easily replace trees as the main source of raw material for paper. The plant only takes four months to grow, in comparison to trees, which take years to mature. Hemp paper is also more durable than paper made from trees.