Hemp & Environmentalism

By oped blogger Quinton Charles

World Wildlife Day..did you miss it?

This March 3rd was World Wildlife Day. Missed it? Don’t worry; a single day isn’t the only time that you can promote ecological sustainability and help the environment! If you are looking to do your part every day (or support companies that do), hemp is a fantastic way to do so. How, you ask? Let’s dive into the science behind hemp’s ability to do the Earth good.

Hemp and our soil

While most people are aware that plants are necessary for the synthesis of oxygen and sustaining ecosystems, not as many are aware of the vital role that soil plays in that process.

What does soil do?

  • Provides plants with essential minerals & nutrients
  • Provides air for gaseous exchange between roots and atmosphere
  • Protects plants from erosion
  • Soil holds water

Although soil does not directly produce oxygen, nor does it directly isolate carbon dioxide, the soils health does determine which plants can grow.  It also determines whether plants are able to produce oxygen by converting carbon dioxide. In turn low-quality soil is not typically able to play host to plants that are beneficial to both human and ecological health.

This is where hemp comes in. Hemp is able to pull foreign contaminants and heavy metals out of polluted soil through a process called phytoremediation, which is the process by which plants are used to remove or destroy contaminants in the soil and groundwater. Hemp along with a few other plants has the ability to absorb toxins from the soil and store it in their stems and leaves, while also having the ability to degrade and leave these contaminants harmless.  This is why hemp is considered a hyperaccumulator  (new vocabulary word!) and is extremely effective at turning bad soil into good soil.

Hemp is also  valuable crop in a process known as “biocarbon sequestration.” It’s a big term that essentially means that crops are used to store carbon dioxide in the soil. Carbon dioxide, which is one of the primary contributors to climate change, is absorbed by hemp, which is then smoldered and turned into a form of charcoal that is mixed in with the soil. Not only does this remove carbon from the atmosphere, but it also provides a nutrient-dense fertilizer for other plants that could be rooted in the charcoal. Wow, Hemp can do all this!

A word of caution : Because hemp is so good at cleaning soil, it’s going to absorb the bad stuff along with the good.  That is why it is so important to make sure the hemp you are getting your CBD products from has been grown in healthy soil.  Knowing where your hemp is sourced, and having the ability to look at lab results for your products are both key to not ingesting poison into your system.

Hemp, humans and animals

Biodiversity (variety of life on earth) is crucial to sustaining the health of ecosystems (including those from which we get our food). Just like how healthy soil contributes to both the health and diversity of plant life, healthy plants contribute to the health of pollinators (like bees and birds) and other animals that rely on plants for foodstuffs. In short, healthy clean hemp can contribute to clean food and animals.

Following this train of thought:  humans consume animals and plants as a food source.  We must look to healthy food sources for our own good health.  We are not removed from the planet (though it may feel like it some days).  Like the flora and fauna of this world, we rely on the ecosystem’s health to live and thrive. Healthy soil means that our own food is grown without soaking up harmful toxins; healthy animals contribute to keeping pests and plants from becoming unmanageable; healthy plants allow us to both eat well and enjoy a day out among them.

Hemp is a contributor

Arguably, the best part about hemp is that it contributes to the well-being of all of these. Whether directly or indirectly, hemp is able to undo past industrial mistakes and correct the health of soils.

 Here are some other ways hemp helps:

  • Hemp is used as a “cover crop.” What this means is that hemp is tall enough (and has enough leaves) to overshadow the ground beneath it. This area beneath it would normally play host to an assortment of weeds. By shading out weeds, hemp reduces the need for synthetic herbicides—and adds diversity to crop rotations, improving soil health.
  • Hemp products can be recycled, reused and are 100% bio-degradable.
  • Hemp is healthy for us in many household products including food & nutrition, Oils used for paints,candles,detergent and lubricating oils, beauty products and fiber products.

Hemp growers and promoters making the world better

The number of hemp companies seems to be exploding since the passage of the Farm Bill. Ranging from small, family-owned enterprises to large, corporate conglomerates, everyone wants in on this profitable crop. Is that a good thing for the environment? As long as the growing of hemp does not decrease crop diversity or damage ecosystems that already exist, yes. Small, independent farmers care for the earth and don’t have to use pesticides on their hemp (as hemp is naturally resistant to pests and weeds), which leads to better soil quality.

And it’s not just growers of hemp that are making the world a better place; CBD and hemp sellers and distributors have a part to play in making the world a better place with hemp. The more people that buy hemp-based goods means more hemp is grown. As I already discussed the benefits of hemp in the environment, I am sure that it is understood how beneficial it is to the world to have more hemp grown by farmers everywhere!

You can do your part

You don’t have to be an eco-warrior to help the environment. A conscious decision to purchase organic products, hemp-based products, or products that are local is enough to help the planet. Ride a bike, walk, don’t use the lights in your house during daylight hours. All of these little decisions can help the environment. And if you’re a hemp-grower, great! Either way, keep up the good work. We will always be here, ready to chat, answer questions, and help you to help our Mother Earth whenever you can!

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