Humankind faces a simple choice. Either we end prohibition of the world's most valuable plant, or the Earth will broil to extinction under increasing intensities of Ultra-Violet solar radiation.
Global broiling under UV is an immediate threat, yet compared with global warming, it is largely over-looked because the effects of increasing UV are more subtle than a shrinking glacier. Increasing levels of UV-B radiation, caused by erosion of the planet's ozone layer, are causing mutations, impairing immune systems and slowing growth rates in amphibians.(5) A generally accepted "indicator" species, what is obvious in amphibians is likely happening to people and other creatures, including plants.
Fortunately, there are mitigating measures that could be effective to heal the atmosphere, if they're implemented in time. A study published in Science Magazine last year, detailed the effects of atmospheric aerosols called "monoterpenes" on Earth's atmosphere.(1) The report concluded that
"This has important implications for...our future climate."
In essence, monoterpenes, (produced by some plants) mitigate global warming by reflecting solar radiation back into space and "seeding" cloud formation. Both solar reflection and cloud cover protect the Earth and its inhabitants from the increasing intensity of the Sun's rays.
It remains to be studied, what would happen if monoterpene-rich crops were grown in abundance, specifically to create a constant flow of monoterpenes into the atmosphere. I propose that this may be the most proximate and effective strategy for healing global warming and global broiling. Certainly, at the very least, the research needs to be initiated into the possible benefits of Cannabis agriculture, independent from the arbitrary limitations imposed by the drug war.
The Cannabis plant offers mankind a better opportunity for mitigating climate change than any other agricultural resource. Cannabis (hemp,'marijuana') produces 58 monoterpenes. It is also one of the most potentially abundant, useful and adaptable agricultural resources in the world.
In addition to effecting climate change by producing monoterpenes, Cannabis is one of the most efficient crops for sequestering carbon from the atmosphere.(4) Biodegradable construction materials made from Cannabis are the perfect carbon sink in which to store CO2 that's removed from the atmosphere by Cannabis farming.
Cannabis is also the world's most available source of organic vegetable protein and essential fatty acids (EFAs) making it a critical "strategic food resource." Mankind cannot afford to turn its back on the world's most nutritious seed, when we're facing a global food crisis, with the lowest stores of food in the last hundred years.(2)
Fields of hemp, grown to produce biofuels, food, and fiber, would also regenerate compacted, depleted and contaminated soils. Cannabis is a primary rotational crop, needed for expanding the world's arable base. Because hemp can be made into biogenic pesticides, it is a critical product for sustainable, organic agriculture.
For these reasons and more, a massive global planting of hemp is needed. Because time is the limiting factor in the equation for healing the planet, the Spring 2008 is the most critical planting season in human history. Will mankind overcome the "politiconomic" inertia that has blindly led us to the brink of extinction? Or will people abandon the viciously counter-productive "drug war" and make the most of the world's most healing agricultural resource? (6)
Now that people know Cannabis agriculture is the most effective solution to many problems, including environmental, economic and social imbalances, nothing can stop the eventual implementation of the solutions. It's merely a question of when. How do bad things have to get before all solutions are considered?
Paul J. von Hartmann
Mount Shasta, California
California Cannabis Ministry
1. "High Natural Aerosol Loading over Boreal Forests"
Science 14 April 2006:
Vol. 312. no. 5771, pp. 261 - 263
2. "Lowest Food Supplies in 50 or 100 Years: Global Food Crisis Emerging"
Press Release - National Farmers' Union, May 11, 2007.
3. *Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Fourth Assessment Report
Working Group III
Climate Change 2007: Mitigation of Climate Change
Summary for Policymakers
4. "Carbon storage potential in natural fiber composites."
Author: Muhammad Pervaiz, Sain, M. M.
Author Affiliation: Faculty of Forestry, Advanced Wood Composite Group, Earth Science Center, University of Toronto, 33 Willcocks Street, Toronto, Ont. M5S 3B3, Canada.
Document Title: Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 2003 (Vol. 39) (No. 4) 325-340
5. "Gloomy Prognosis For Amphibians"
Andrew Blaustein, Oregon State University. May 2007.
6. "U.S. Mayors Declare Drug War a Failure"
July 18, 2007
from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Recommended Mitigation Strategies in Agriculture, Forestry and Waste
Table SPM 3, Page 14.
Improved crop and grazing land management to increase soil carbon
storage; restoration of cultivated peaty soils and degraded lands;
improved rice cultivation techniques and livestock and manure
management to reduce CH4 emissions; improved nitrogen fertilizer
application techniques to reduce N2O emissions; dedicated energy
crops to replace fossil fuel use; improved energy efficiency
Improvements of crops yields
Afforestation; reforestation; forest management; reduced deforestation;
harvested wood product management; use of forestry products for
bioenergy to replace fossil fuel use
Tree species improvement to increase biomass productivity and
carbon sequestration. Improved remote sensing technologies for
analysis of vegetation/ soil carbon sequestration potential and
mapping land use change
Landfill methane recovery; waste incineration with energy recovery;
composting of organic waste; controlled waste water treatment;
recycling and waste minimization.
Biocovers and biofilters to optimize CH4 oxidation.