Do you want to save the trees but still need wood products? The answer is easy: hemp.
The only semi-valid argument against the hemp industry in Oregon was that hemp could pollinate smoking marijuana. Now that we’ve successfully legalized medicinal and recreational pot, if this is a problem we could import it from Southeast Asia or grow it with air filters indoors.
Some hemp strains reach the size of trees 20 feet in height; the plant has a continuous set of unbroken fibers from top to bottom. Wood’s fibers are shorter. For paper processing, wood requires sulphuric acid and bleach — four to seven times the amount of harmful chemicals.
The real gift of using pot instead of cutting our precious forests (i.e., the Elliott State Forest) is that in equivalent plots of land, hemp outproduces mass in the form of pulp and fiber four times faster than trees.
In Jack Herer’s “The Emperor Wears No Clothes,” hemp’s 50,000 uses are described in a very detailed way. They include paper, plywood, clothing, insulation, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel and human and animal feed.
Hemp uses no pesticides, whereas cotton uses half of all those used worldwide.
Its seeds are edible and most nutritious. They contain essential fatty acids (Omega 3 and 6) that are antioxidants and prevent free radical damage.
Growing this weed is so simple a solution that it’s often overlooked.
So, why haven’t we already made the smart leap to this agricultural miracle? It could be because of political and economic interests interfering with this bestower of environmental, financial and health gifts.