So what makes hemp just so wonderful on the one hand and feared on the other? The magic number for hemp is its percentage of cellulose, which is as high as 77%. This makes it the number one producer of biomass on earth. Wood from most trees registers around 60% cellulose and obviously takes much longer to mature. Hemp can grow from germination to maturity in 3 to 4 months and produces around 5 tons of dry fiber stalk and 10 tons of biomass per acre. The last smoking gun is that hemp can be grown over vast portions of the earth’s land surfaces. It can grow anywhere from China’s temperate forested mountains to Mexico’s arid deserts to Canada’s cool farmland. (It grows best in warm, humid areas with over 25 inches of rain but only requires a bare minimum of 10 inches and a temperate climate.) [Read more…]
Damn you Reefer Madness, William Randolph Hearst, Dupont and racist American government of the 1930’s! Over 70 years later and we in the U.S. are still suffering the ill effects of banning marijuana and all its associates during a period of economic rebound that encouraged greed, paranoia, racism and lax political oversight. (Sound familiar?)
Industrial hemp was going strong throughout the 1920’s. It found uses in everything from paint to cosmetics to food. It is even rumored that the first pair of Levi jeans were made from Hemp in the mid-1800’s. (The evidence was destroyed in the great San Francisco fire.) People have long derided prohibition as one of the stupider achievements of American history, blaming it for (among other things) giving rise to organized crime. Well, if prohibition was stupid you have to lump reefer madness into the same category of dumb. [Read more…]
Well, here is a potential answer. A week ago I commented on the difficulty of morally responsible consumerism in regards to finished wood products. I found this great resource via “Materialicious” and had to pass it on. Woodbank gives you a place to buy and sell salvaged, reused and certified wood. It’s pretty cool and an ingenious method of helping consumers fight back against irresponsible and immoral timber harvest and production.