Can Hemp Solve Climate Change?

Can Hemp Solve Climate Change?

There’s this plant. It grows under the radar due to an unfortunate combination of propaganda and banning over the last century. 

But if we gave it a chance, it might just make climate change tap out. 

The plant? Hemp. 

With fewer emissions, water, and a carbon-negative* footprint, hemp can be made into almost anything. 

It can be the walls of your home, stronger than concrete and absorbing carbon dioxide with the lungs of an opera singer. 

It can shape the curves of a race car – and be the fuel that carries it to the checkered flag. 

It can be your favorite sundress and the undies you wear underneath (more on that later) – all while using far less water than cotton. 

Hemp proteins even boast the same amount of protein as beef with a fraction of the emissions (no methane-filled cow burps here). 

Hemp’s uses are endless, and so are the ways it outshines other materials in the fight against climate change. There’s almost no industry where hemp can’t kick common materials to the curb, and smile doing it. 

Could hemp be the key to solving climate change? Let’s talk. 

There’s no material with as many uses as hemp. 

A study published in the National Library of Medicine did a deep dive into hemp’s applications – and found over 40 unique products it can make. 

Each part of the plant is valuable in its own right. The fiber can be used to create everyday items like clothing, shoes, plastics, carpets, and more. The hurd is important in materials such as soil, insulation, and “hempcrete,” while the seed can be an alternative in skincare, food, and even oil paints (new creative venture, anyone?). 

A myriad of uses is one benefit – but if we want to scale up the production of hemp, we need to know it’s inherently more sustainable to do so. Lucky for us (and the planet), it is. 

Hemp is a magical material with practical benefits. It’s not just versatile – it’s good for the environment at every stage of life. 

Hemp sucks – CO2, that is. 

One hectare of industrial hemp can absorb 22 tonnes of CO2. Hemp also grows rapidly – around four meters in 100 days – making it one of the fastest CO2-to-biomass conversion tools available. 

Even when hemp finishes growing and finds a new life, it continues to absorb CO2. Take the De Leertrommel school, 10 miles northwest of Brussels, that underwent a €2 million renovation to become the first Flemish school to ever be built with hemp. 

Belgian company IsoHemp led the project, constructing the new alma mater out of hempcrete, a cocktail of hemp fibers, water, and clay or lime (because what cocktail is complete without lime?). 

But this makeover wasn’t just for looks. The hempcrete will drastically reduce the carbon footprint of the school, and here’s how: 

  • Hempcrete weighs about one-eighth as much as traditional concrete, resulting in fewer transport-related emissions 
  • A single cubic meter of hempcrete removes 75 kilograms of CO2 from the atmosphere over its lifetime 
  • It insulates the building efficiently, reducing the need to excessively heat it 

Hemp always has an extra benefit up its sleeve: the hempcrete used to rebuild the school is also fire-resistant, soundproof, and mold and pest-proof. 

Hemp eats. 

Like true love, hemp will find a way. Extreme heat and unpredictable weather (which is only going to worsen with climate change, *sigh*) don’t affect the plant’s ability to grow and thrive. It doesn’t need pesticides or fertilizer and consumes significantly less water than other crops. 

In Switzerland, researchers have crafted a beer that replaces three-quarters of the hops with hemp flowers. The taste is completely indistinguishable from a beer made with 100 percent hops, and provides an important use for hemp flowers that may otherwise be lost in the production process. 

Then there’s factory farming. We know that mass agriculture is responsible for 10% of greenhouse gas emissions. 

Hemp is a more sustainable, nourishing alternative to fill our plates. It has loads of protein, along with valuable amino acids, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids, making it perfect for vegans or anyone who wants to cut meat consumption. 

Researchers are even working on pasta, tofu, and meat substitutes made from hemp. 

Hemp fuels. 

We don’t have to tell you that burning fossil fuels in cars, planes and oversized cruise ships isn’t great for the planet (read: it’s very bad). But there are lots of biofuels out there, so why is hemp better? 

Hemp is a powerhouse when it comes to fuel. It can produce more than 800 liters of biodiesel per hectare per year – more than crops such as soybean, sunflower, peanut, or rapeseed. 

When compared to conventional diesel, hemp outperforms it in all categories except oxidation stability (which is easily mitigated by adding antioxidants to the fuel). 

Hemp fits.  

From blue jeans to bedding, hemp is an ideal fabric for a variety of textile items. Between growing and processing, hemp uses four times less water than cotton, and needs very little land to grow. 

Got curves? Hemp is a perfect fit – it’s three times stronger than cotton and will last much longer, which means you can buy less. 

We could go on forever about hemp’s potential as a weapon against climate change. Between its water-saving properties, durability, and carbon-sucking lungs, it’s a perfect replacement for hundreds of products and materials we use every day. 

One of which, of course, is those undies you’re wearing. 

Discover the magic of hemp for yourself – shop Magi. 

*Carbon-negative here means that in the process of growing, hemp absorbs more CO2 than is released to grow, process, and manufacture it. 


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