Amiea Eleban and Amy Addams
Right on the heels of 420 is 422 or Earth Day (April 22), which is another reason to be happy you are here, but even more so, it’s a reason for many of us to do a little reset in our thinking toward the Earth. We aren’t asking you to wear patchouli and tie dye (unless you want to), or reduce your carbon footprint to zero in one day, but dang, we could be a bit more self-aware, right? The signs we’ve gone too far have beaten us over the head.
Here are some small changes we can make to celebrate our love of our home without too much hardship:
- Try cutting back on the amount of red meat you eat. If you are a true carnivore, we won’t preach the veg diet, BUT trying to cut back on constant red meat is a start. It’ll save money and trim your waistline too. The Paleo Diet does NOT mean all the meat you want with little veg, people! Read the directions.
- Recycling. Aluminum/tin cans and plastics are fine. We are plastic fanatics in the U.S. and it’s destroying ecosystems all over the world. It’s an easy thing to do. Your trash service may even do pick-up of your recyclables, just ask.
- Use water a bit more conservatively. Shorten shower times, wash dishes when the dishwasher or washing machine is full (running the dishwasher is less water than handwashing, BTW). We realize C-19 has us all washing our hands more often, so watching our water use elsewhere is good. We only have so much to go around. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and put a brick or block in your toilet tank to use less water when refilling the tank.
- Grow plants you can use. Instead of flowers that have no real use, try herbs; they smell good, offer bug resistance in summer months as well as food flavoring. Many herbs require less water and are hardy; mint, basil, rosemary, marigolds and lavender are easy to grow and are so useful. They piss off bugs from your marijuana grow: win-win.
Hemp can make your Earth Day more ‘Earthier’ (it’s a word!): Hemp has been used for many millennia for different things, from textiles to clothing, paper, and even art.
One major benefit of hemp is that it doesn’t require pesticides or herbicides to grow on an industrial scale. The environmental impacts of pesticides are well-documented: they cause illness, reduce biodiversity and contaminate water supplies, air, and soil. Hemp is documented to clean soil and restore its nutrients. In 2001, a team of German researchers confirmed that hemp extracted lead, cadmium, and nickel from a plot of land contaminated with sewage sludge at Chernobyl. In 2011, hundreds of farmers in Puglia, Italy used hemp in a long-term effort to clean up fields that were disastrously polluted by a massive steel plant. So far, it’s working quite well.
Hemp seeds can be eaten raw, ground into hemp meal, sprouted, made into dried sprout powder. Hemp seeds can also be made into a liquid and used for baking or for beverages such as hemp milk. Hemp oil is cold-pressed from the seed and is high in unsaturated fatty acids. The leaves of the hemp plant, are edible and can be consumed raw as leafy vegetables in salads, and pressed to make juice. In 2011, the US imported $11.5 million worth of hemp products, mostly driven by growth in the demand for hemp seed and hemp oil for use as ingredients in many foods.
Burning fossil fuels emits air pollution; sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions, primarily the result of burning coal, contributes to acid rain and the formation of harmful particulate matter. Industrial hemp has been proven to absorb more CO2 per hectare than any forest or commercial crop, making it the ideal carbon sink. Hemp is also a renewable fuel resource while coal is nearly depleted.
Cotton is the most widely used non-consumable crop and requires a significant amount of water. It takes 2,700 liters of water to manufacture one cotton t-shirt; that’s about what one person would drink in two-and-a-half years. It takes a lot of pesticides to grow cotton, contributing to widespread freshwater pollution. Hemp uses one-quarter of the water and none of the pesticides as cotton. It can also grow in a variety of climates (marijuana’s illegalization was contributed to by the cotton industry, FYI).
Dispensaries and processors: there are several companies out there that offer eco-friendly packaging. Sana Packaging offers packaging made out of hemp plastic as well as recycled ocean plastic, alongside other sustainable materials. The company was founded by business students at the University of Colorado in Boulder who presented Sana Packaging as their final project. There are many companies out there that offer the same type of packaging solutions.