Hemp has been around for centuries; it’s been used by various civilizations to make all kinds of goods, including fabrics.
Now, however, as we enter a critical stage in the earth’s history, more and more people in the western world are waking up hemp’s potential as a sustainable superhero.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at what hemp is, how sustainable it is, and what role it can play in ensuring a cleaner planet.
So, what’s hemp?
You’ve probably heard hemp mentioned in the same breath as marijuana in the past. That’s because the two are from the same family of plants. The major difference is that hemp isn’t taken by people for recreational purposes, and it doesn’t contain psychoactive substances (it won’t get you high, in other words).
Instead, it’s a fibrous material that can be used to make a variety of products. It does, however, also contain cannabinoids, which are natural compounds that help turn hemp into oils and supplements.
Great, but is hemp sustainable?
If we want to put the brakes on climate change and preserve our finite natural resources, we need to start putting into place more sustainable practices.
For example, agriculture. When unsustainable agricultural practices are adhered to, the soil isn’t able to replenish itself. As such, the health of our food crops is threatened by soil degradation.
Hemp, on the other hand, returns a good number of nutrients to the ground, which means the soil is healthier, and erosion is slowed down.
And let’s compare hemp to cotton for a moment. Cotton is one of the most popular crops when it comes to textiles. In fact, it helps to make a third of all world textiles. The problem is that it isn’t really sustainable because it needs so much water. Hemp, by contrast, requires less than a third of the water that cotton requires.
It’s also worth noting that hemp is pretty damn versatile. It can be grown in a variety of climates and soils, and it doesn’t mind tighter spaces. Moreover, just a single acre of hemp can produce as much as 8.7 tons if the conditions are right.
Hemp is also resistant to disease, fungi, and pests, and it can even produce paper while slowing down deforestation.
Hemp producing paper isn’t a new thing, by the way. The Declaration of Independence was signed on hemp paper!
What can hemp produce?
Hemp is pretty amazing and actually serves thousands of purposes. We’ve already seen how sustainable it is, but what can hemp produce?
- Fuel. Hemp is more environmentally friendly and cost-efficient than any other fuel crop. It can produce both ethanol and biodiesel.
- Ink. Fancy using a non-toxic ink from now on? Step forward, hemp ink.
- Carpet. Traditional carpets are made from synthetic materials that are super toxic. Hemp, on the other hand, produces eco-friendly carpets that contribute to better health for you.
- Batteries. The best thing here is that hemp batteries can last longer than current batteries.
- Makeup. Hempseed oil is real. It’s rich in vitamins, amino acids, and it can minimize acne.
- Butter. Tried hemp butter yet? You might want to do that soon. It tastes kinda nutty and contains plenty of magnesium, protein, and fiber. You can even make it yourself at home.
- Milk. Current dairy practices are contributing to a dying planet. Hemp seeds can make hemp milk, a variety of milk that is far more sustainable.
- Diapers. Diapers are actually a serious topic because so many disposable ones are thrown out each year. Hemp diapers are better for the planet, and they’re also breathable and absorbent.
Hemp is quite literally the godsend our planet needs right now. The funny thing is that it’s been used in certain parts of the world for centuries. Still, at least the rest of the world has caught up before it’s too late, right?
Sustainable, versatile, good for you and the planet, hemp is the future. And the future might just be bright after all once more companies start using it to make better, more environmentally friendly products.
Kat is a Content Strategist at NatureHub and Editor at NatureHub Blog. Absolutely crazy about tofu and flower-infused drinks. Roots for veganism, human and animal rights, and sustainability.