Clean energy: hemp

I have touted the benefits of hemp in this blog more than a time or two. And I’m going to do it again. So, bear with me. On my way home from work today, I was listening to a public radio show about climate change, which interestingly coincided with the president’s decision to cut funding to the Environmental Protection Agency. The professor speaking about his concerns had one positive perspective on this troubling action: People are already buying and using alternative energy that doesn’t muck up the atmosphere, and he believes they’ll continue to do so. I hope so, too.

I ran across a little nugget about hemp as a way to save the environment—biodiesel fuel, a cleaner-burning fuel. Yes, wind and solar are gaining favor as energy sources, but hemp can do them both one (or many more) better. First, hemp grows prolifically, even in infertile soil—without pesticides. In addition, it replenishes nutrients in the soil and smothers any weed that dares to try and grow in its general proximity. But, the beauty about it growing on infertile soil is that hemp doesn’t usurp soil used for food, as is often the case with other flora used to produce biodiesel fuel.

So, let’s assess why we should care about hemp as fuel:

1.     It grows in any soil

2.     It doesn’t require pesticides

3.     It doesn’t edge out food-producing crops

4.     It puts nutrients back in the soil

5.     It’s prolific and sustainable

6.     It burns cleaner than our current fuel

7.     It doesn’t muck up the atmosphere

But, we don’t grow hemp in the United States. That doesn’t mean we won’t; there just hasn’t been the clamor for farmers to do it. But if we did, fuel and a whole lot more could be derived from just this one plant.

So, just because we have a president who doesn’t believe in protecting our atmosphere, doesn’t mean those of us who do care can’t work to make sustainable energy a reality. Hemp is one product to do that.

If consumers demand and buy sustainable products, producers will, well, produce them. A federal mandate doesn’t really need to be made. As consumers, let’s just make our voices heard.

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