Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Three Revolutionary New Hemp Technologies for a Better Environment

By Mitchell Colbert

Hemp Biofuels to Save The World, Source:

Hemp has been reported to have some of the most diverse uses out of any plant currently known. One new use for hemp is as a raw material for biofuels, namely as cellulosic ethanol, which unlike other methods of making biofuels, uses a plant’s cellulose instead of the oil or sugar it contains to produce a fuel. While corn-based ethanol has been shown to be no better for the environment than burning fossil fuels, cellulosic ethanol is much closer to being carbon-neutral. 
Cellulose is what forms the structure of green plants, everything from grass to trees. Professor George Huber, at the University of Wisconsin, has found a way to convert the cellulose from the non-usable parts of plants, such as yard waste, compost scraps, or wood debris into ethanol and other bio-oils. “The goal of the Huber research group is to develop the clean technology that will allow us to economically use our biomass and other sustainable resources for the production of cheap renewable gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, and chemicals.”
Professor Huber’s work is revolutionary because it will allow cities to turn a large portion of their garbage into fuel that can power buses and other city vehicles. Clearly, waste material alone will not be enough to switch our current fossil fuel economy to a grassoline economy, which is where hemp comes in. 
Hemp is ideal as a fuel-stock for cellulosic ethanol for several reasons. Hemp has an exceptionally high cellulose content, it grows very quickly allowing for multiple harvests per year, it can be grown in nearly all climates, it is drought resistant, frost resistant, pest resistant, and unlike other fuel-stocks like switchgrass, hemp has edible seeds which can be harvested allowing for two harvests from one crop. While switchgrass may grow quickly like hemp, it’s cellulose content is roughly half that of hemp, which has a higher cellulose content than wood.
Currently, while bio-oils can be produced for under $1 a gallon, they faces several issues in being adopted widely around the country. Bio-oils cannot be used in existing gasoline and diesel fuel engines because they have lower energy densities and a higher oxygen content. Bio-oils are also nearly-insoluble with petroleum fuels, making it impossible to have a flex-fuel vehicle that uses a combination of each. Finally, bio-oils degrade over time and are acidic with a pH of 2.5, limiting options in fuel storage. If sugars are added to bio-oils to ferment them into cellulosic ethanol, there are additional challenges, such as the need for sterile conditions, the lengthy residence time of the chemicals, and the distillation of ethanol from water is very energy intensive. Professor Huber is already working on solutions to these problems, while he does, hemp’s exceptionally high cellulose content coupled with fast growth and low costs to grow make it ideal for more than just bio-fuels.
Since hemp has a higher cellulose content than trees and grows much faster than even the fastest growing trees, it is a much better candidate for paper than current lumber options, such as pine. The world currently produces over 400 million tons of paper every year, imagine if all of that was easily replanted hemp instead of trees which take years to grow to maturity. 
Beyond paper, hemp’s higher cellulose content makes it better than wood for building the homes of the future, which cannot sustainably be made from wood alone. Hempcrete has been around in other countries since the 1960s, but is it quite new to America due to the federal ban on industrial hemp production, only recently lifted. Hempcrete is remarkably strong yet also very lightweight, about 1/7th the weight of concrete
Now, America’s first hemp house has been built in North Carolina, and it may also be the first carbon-neutral house in the country. According to the Limecrete Company, a UK based hempcrete manufacturer, hempcrete is carbon negative because “the carbon trapped in the hemp offsets the carbon not only of the hemp production but also the residual carbon from the lime production after re-absorption of carbon as the lime cures.”

Hemp can replace more than paper, wood, and oil, it can also replace everything we currently make out of oil including plastics. Zeoform is a new type of plastic that uses hemp-derived cellulose mixed with other recycled fibers and water to form a 100% recycled plastic. The density can be changed to make Zeoform suitable for all sorts of industries, everything from aviation and automotive, to musical instruments and McDonalds toys. Zeoform and hempcrete will not stop the steady onslaught of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change on their own, but they mark the beginnings of a trend towards widespread use of more environmentally friendly raw materials, and may also sequester CO2 emissions rather than create them. Thanks to modern science and technologies, like cellulosic ethanol, humanity may be approaching another time when we can declare Hemp for Victory, as we did in World War II.
A Brief History of Hemp in Colonial America, Source:

Wild marijuana is flourishing throughout the Twin Cities

By Susan Du

Some healthy wild hemp not far from downtown St. Paul.

Wild marijuana grows in yards, gardens, and weedy industrial sites across the Twin Cities. It’s illegal – the feds consider it a Schedule I controlled substance, equal to heroin – but it’s also naturally occurring.

Most of what’s out there is descended from the hemp that was planted en masse in the 1940s for fiber during World War II. When “Reefer Madness” arrived, people stopped cultivating it. Birds loved to eat the seed though, and carried it out of the fields and into the cities.
Now, wild marijuana is flourishing wherever people are turning the soil, like roadsides and highways.    
City of Minneapolis spokesman Casper Hill says that although inspectors with the department of regulatory services do police yard plants that are overgrown and need to be cut, they don’t necessarily bother with the species of plants growing around homes. As long as the yard cannabis is of a sensible and aesthetically pleasing height, it’s free to live.
Hill did not say what inspectors actually do when they stumble upon it. (Probably pose for photos.)
Unfortunately, this wild marijuana doesn’t get you high, says University of Minnesota pot Prof. George Weiblen.
Weiblen grew up in Minneapolis, where as a teenager he quickly learned through the mistakes of his peers that harvesting the neighbors’ boulevards and baking up garbage bags of the stuff was not a very good business scheme.
“I wouldn’t be alone,” he says. “It’s an experiment that teenagers often indulge in … Any fool who has done the experiment quickly caught the difference.”
Minnesota’s native marijuana does produce a highly nutritious seed that’s making a comeback, Weiblen adds. The market for hemp seeds in the U.S. is estimated to be $500 million in sales a year. People are using the oil and seeds in a variety of food and makeup products.  
However, he does not recommend harvesting the seeds from wild marijuana either. Call it hemp or marijuana, cannabis is still illegal.
“You gotta buy the processed product right now,” he says. “That’s the only legal path to using hemp.”

Why Hemp Makes Better Toilet Paper

By Kathy Garton


Americans use an average of 50 pounds of toilet paper, per person, each year. This accounts for millions of trees being destroyed. While the Western world has cut back on paper usage with the development of technology, toilet paper is one area that cannot be improvised – or can it?
Before toilet paper was mass-produced, rich people would use hemp, wool or lace for wiping. Poor people used leaves, hay, rocks, seaweed, husks, or anything else that they could find lying around. Sometimes they would revert to stepping into the river where going and washing was all wrapped up into one.
In 1857, Joseph C. Gayetty invented the first commercial toilet paper in the United States. His product was made from Manila hemp and the sheets were moistened and soaked in aloe. Sold as medicated toilet paper, they were sold in flat sheets in a 500-pack, priced at 50 cents. For the next 10 years, Gayetty marketed his product as an alternative to using scratchy paper from leaves and catalogs.
In 1867, the Scott brothers took this idea and began manufacturing dry toilet paper from wood chips, a cheaper alternative. There were plenty of trees to use and their idea took off and spread throughout the Western world.  Today, ECF, the chlorine dioxide-bleached pulp dominates the global chemical pulp market and forests are rapidly decreasing. While Gayetty had a great idea with using Manila hemp (not related to industrial hemp), the cost of the product was not economically feasible at the time. The Sears & Roebuck catalog was free.
The Scott brothers began to produce toilet paper from trees for pennies, turning this product into a necessity. However, the long-term effect of using wood chips and wood pulp has led to another problem. Hemp pulp paper can be made without any chemicals from the hemp plant’s hurd (pulp). Moreover, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture found that an acre of hemp could manufacture four times more paper compared to a single acre of trees.
Toilet paper, made from the industrial hemp plant, has been marketed in other countries for some time now. It is now being advocated by environmentalists and its consideration noted by several toilet paper manufacturers. Perhaps now is the time to take another bold step in revisiting the role of toilet paper. Hemp pulp is more resilient, breaks down easily, and keeps our forests intact. Take the toilet paper challenge and decide if hemp is the way to go. You can find many suppliers by searching for hemp toilet paper on the Internet.


By Alanna Ketler


Dr. Bronner’s Magic Castile soap has been the top selling organic soap in North America for many years. Have you ever stopped and wondered about the man behind the company and how it all got started? Well, without further ado, here are 15 things you probably didn’t know about Dr. Bronner and his magic castile soap.

1. Emanuel Bronner Was Born Into Soap

Bronner was part of a third generation family of Jewish master soap makers in Germany. His family was celebrated for decades for their important liquid soap innovations for the country. Unfortunately, Bronner’s relationship with his father and uncles had begun to sour, so he emigrated to the United States in 1929 for a fresh sart and to begin consulting for American soap companies. (I know I’m not the only one who is glad he did!)

2. He Began His New Life In The U.S. Lecturing About World Peace

Bronner was passionate about world peace and spent years spreading his life philosophy, which he called Bronner’s Peace Plan, to anyone who would listen. It eventually became known as “the Moral ABC.” Essentially, he believed that if people stopped focusing on their differences and instead thought about how we are actually all the same, we would all be better off on what he termed this “Spaceship Earth.”

3. His Philosophy For World Peace Was Borne Of Tragedy

In the 1940s Bronner received the devastating news that his parents and other family members who stayed in Germany had been murdered in Nazi death camps. Shortly after this, his wife fell ill and passed away, leaving Bronner with his two sons and daughter. He put all three children into foster care so that he could put more focus and attention on refining his speeches. Eventually his oldest son, Ralph, joined his father on the lecture circuit and continued spreading the Moral ABC long after his father’s death in 1997.

4. Bronner Was Once Committed To A Mental Institution — By His Sister

After learning that Bronner had abandoned his children to pursue his lectures, his sister had him committed to Elgan Mental Health Center outside Chicago, where he was subject to electric-shock treatments. In the mid 1940s, Bronner escaped, fled to California, and started to identify himself as aRabbi. It was here that he began mixing up large batches of the liquid soap his family had been making for decades.

5. His Now-Famous Peppermint Soap Became A Giveaway To Anyone Who Attended His Lectures

After noticing people were attending just for the soap, Bronner began to print his talks on the bottles. He spent much of his life refining the 30,000 word creed by which he led his life and his company still prints on the soap todayTry out his peppermint soap for yourself.

6. The Company Now Bases Its Business Practices On Bronner’s Philosophy

There are six principles that guide the employees of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Castile Soap:
“Work hard! Grow! Do right by customers. Treat employees like family. Be fair to suppliers. Treat the earth like home. Give and give.”

7. The Company Was First Listed As A Non-Profit Religious Organization

The IRS didn’t buy it and Bronner was served with a notice that he owed 1.3 million in back taxes, which was enough to send the company into bankruptcy. Bronner’s son Jim then stepped in to save the family’s soap business.

8. These Days, Bronner’s Grandson Runs The Magic Soap Business

Jim’s son David certainly takes after his grandfather more than his father Jim ever did (who actually rejected his Dad’s life philosophy to become an industrial chemist). After graduating from Harvard, David spent time travelling and reading up on Eastern religions, finally coming to understand what his grandfather had been so passionate about. After his father passed away in 1998, David took over the family soap business.

9. According To The Company, There Are 18 Different Ways To Use The Soap

Keep in mind these claims have been made by the company and magic soap enthusiasts seem to have only found 14 acceptable ways to use the product. These include as a shampoo, body wash, face wash, dish soap, and laundry detergent, among others. The company claims you can brush your teeth with it, but who wants to brush their teeth with soap? Yuck.

10. For Years A Secret Ingredient Was Added – We Know Now That It Was Caramel Colouring

After David took over he decided he no longer wanted to hide the ingredient from customers. He also decided to change the ingredient to hemp oil, which slightly changed the colour of the soap. Loyal customers found the new, known ingredient ended up improving the feel of the lather.

11. David Was Very Passionate About Hemp Oil, So Much So That He Sued The DEA Over It

In the United States hemp has been seen by the government as an equivalent to marijuana for many years. In 2001 the DEA strengthened their enforcement on THC bans and began seizing shipments of all hemp seed and hemp oil products at the border. David directed the hemp industry in a lawsuit against the government. To ensure the message was heard loud and clear, corporate representatives would camp outside the DEA headquarters and give out samples of granola containing hemp seeds and poppy seed bagels, which showcased the point that poppyseeds have trace amounts of opiates, but obviously bagels are not illegal. Eventually, the agency reversed the policy.

12. Since Then, The Company Has Been In The Activism Business

Bronner’s sued other companies claiming to be organic such as “Kiss My Face” and “Avalon Organics” over false advertising and use of the word. The company also changed their labels in 2014 to support the labeling of products containg genetically modified organisms. David has even been arrested twice, once for planting hemp seeds on the lawn of the DEA headquarters and once for milling hemp oil in front of the White House! How about that guy?

13. When An Organic & Fair Trade Source For The Oils Couldn’t Be Found, The Company Started Their Own Farm

This company certainly puts their money where their mouth is. They now operate their own organic and fair-trade palm, coconut, and olive farms in Ghana, Sri Lanka, and Israel. In sticking to their vision of world peace, olive oil is sourced from both Israel and Palestine.

14. They Pay Their Employees Fairly

The highest paid executive at the company is capped at five times the lowest paid worker. David, being the CEO, makes around 200,000 dollars annually. The company offers every employee a fully paid heath plan and the company contributes 15 percent of each employee’s salary to a retirement fund. Full-time employees receive a 25 percent annual bonus.

15. The Company Is Selective About Where To Sell Its Product

Originally, Dr. Bronner refused to sell his products to any retailer that wouldn’t be willing to listen to one of his lectures and hear his thoughts on life. David rejected offers from Walmart twice because he didn’t want to support the company’s policies or their low pay for workers.

Wow! I don’t know about you, but after learning about all the amazing business practices and the vision of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Castile Soap, I feel like I want to support this company even more! I also assure you this is not an ad or affiliate marketing post, this company is just that awesome and their business model is totally worth sharing!
Much Love


By Seshata

In fields across Italy, the seeds of fundamental change are being sown—and they quite literally are seeds, hemp seeds.
Individually, a hemp grower has little power, but as part of a local hemp-growing collective, that power increases exponentially. Similarly, a sole collective has little influence, but a network of communities working together can garner power on a much greater and more meaningful level.
Collective power is exactly what members of Canapa Info Point (CIP) are trying to achieve. They are bringing together local, small-scale hemp producers from across the country to create a nationwide decentralized network—one that is proving to possess a significant political voice. Currently, its members are liaising with scientists, economists and politicians to create legislation that could ultimately see the creation of Spanish-style cannabis social clubs and a regulated medical cannabis market. The Italian state has become increasingly open to medical cannabis in recent years—in fact, the military recently completed its first-ever medical cannabis crop!
Throughout Italy, another network is taking shape: a network that crosses multiple industries, and although focused locally, has interconnected hubs in most regions of the country.
Throughout Italy, another network is taking shape: a network that crosses multiple industries, and although focused locally, has interconnected hubs in most regions of the country.
In addition, CIP provides information to would-be hemp farmers on how to obtain licenses and EU funding. It also runs Saracinesca in Canapa, a one-hectare model field designed to demonstrate hemp agriculture to politicians, farmers and the interested public.The field is situated in the small hillside village just outside of Rome. They also have far-reaching plans to set up a bio park and therapeutic village, which upon completion would welcome medical cannabis tourists from around the world.
Italy was once known throughout the contemporary world for its fine-quality hemp products. Modern-day producers are keen to revive that legacy. Hemp industry associations are springing up all over the country—in Puglia, Piedmont, Tuscany and Lazio, to name just a few.
Up in the northern province of Brescia another hemp association has sprung up. AgriCanapa grows four hectares, and works with farmers growing a further 50 hectares throughout Brescia—partly to address issues of soils contaminated with PCBs. The soil surrounding the perimeter of a local chemical manufacturer Caffaro is among the worst in the world, and 5,000 times the residential safe limit decreed by the government.
AgriCanapa produces a wide range of high-quality hemp products including oils, textiles, building materials and some excellent pasta, flour and biscuits. AgriCanapa has plans to set up hemp cooking classes, as well as a number of other services to hemp entrepreneurs.
On our visit, president Federico explains his organization to us—and it is something truly evolved. When he was setting up AgriCanapa, the banks simply weren’t lending—a result of the global financial crisis of 2008, which crippled small and medium-sized businesses throughout Italy. Getting funding from alternative sources also proved an impossible task.
Federico refused to give up hope and instead began to think in terms that bypassed money entirely—and in doing so, he has implemented a business model that could well be described as post-capitalist.
Just as a plant takes time to grow, these ideas will take time to pervade society.
Just as a plant takes time to grow, these ideas will take time to pervade society.
Throughout Italy, another network is taking shape: a network that crosses multiple industries, and although focused locally, has interconnected hubs in most regions of the country. Via this network, businesses can exchange resources, products and expertise without using money at all, instead utilizing a system of “link credits” that can be redeemed by any other member.
Via this network, which is called Circuito di Credito Commerciale, Federico was able to access the resources, equipment and expertise he needed to set up his association, without actually using money at all! This kind of evolutionary thinking comes at a time when even the world’s greatest financial institutions are beginning to acknowledge the fact that capitalism is not working. It is failing small businesses, workers and everyday people—everyone who doesn’t have a direct stake in the aggressive corporate system currently dominating the global economy. Furthermore, it is failing to protect the environment, putting life as we know it in jeopardy.
Unearthing alternative models to traditional financial institutions is a necessity, and that’s exactly what’s happening right here in these small, rural, Italian communities. It’s not a complete replacement for all industries everywhere, but if we can apply these principles to agriculture at a minimum, the world could become a much, much better place.
Just as a plant takes time to grow, these ideas will take time to pervade society. This is why the process is perhaps best described as evolution, not revolution—not a sudden, drastic change, but gradual, incremental changes that occur over generations.
While these processes may be gradual, our acceptance of them is critical to our ability to adapt to an ever-changing environment. Change slowly pervades, but as it is often superior to whatever came before, it becomes dominant and paves the way for further change.

1. Hectare: a metric unit of square measure, equal to 100 acres
Via this network, which is called Circuito di Credito Commerciale, Federico was able to access the resources, equipment and expertise he needed to set up his association, without actually using money at all!
Via this network, which is called Circuito di Credito Commerciale, Federico was able to access the resources, equipment and expertise he needed to set up his association, without actually using money at all!