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Taking environmental “issue” (partially) with the G-8 12 July 2009

Posted by The Inimitable M in Environment.
Tags: , , , ,

Sub-header on an editorial in the Wall Street Journal Friday, July 10th:

World leaders tell the Earth’s temperature not to rise.

It sounds ludicrous, but that’s exactly what they have tried to do.  And they can’t agree.  They can agree to disagree and settle, but you know who wasn’t invited to the G-8 summit?  The Earth.

Something I have yet to hear come out of G-8 or any other summit is alternatives.  Tangible alternatives.  Possible solutions.  No one has said a word.  No one.  All they have done is bitch and complain about how this is affecting them economically, they’ve lost jobs, etc., etc.  Adaptation to new jobs?  Impossible.  No one is willing to support that.  Adaptation in policies that could, in the end, not only create new and better jobs, but also bring about environmental change?  Impossible.  Again, no one is willing to support that.

Least of all, apparently, the U.S. 

For instance, what’s one of the worst things we could do to the planet that increases the effects of our emissions?  The lack of something to suck them down and turn them into much-needed oxygen.  Do I mean trees?  Yes, trees.

We have overlogged our forests, and in our attempt to rectify this situation, it comes down to the fact we still think we need all that wood. 

One of the big issues is our love affair with paper.  Will that ever stop?  Oh, I’m sure not.  I’ll agree that our recycled paper consumption has increased, and while that’s a good thing, there seems to be no such thing as “100% recycled”.  I can understand this, to a certain degree.

What I cannot understand is the complete ignorance surrounding one of the most phenomenal ways we could make a change, still use recycled paper, and add a product which used to be a part of our existence…until the government and certain big corporations forced it off the market in the 1950s.

It takes 2 cords of wood (plus myriad chemicals that I’ll be happy to list, if you are interested) to make 1 ton of paper.

  • An average of 85 million tons of paper and paperboard is used each year.
  • More than 2 billion books, 350 million magazines, and 24 billion newspapers are printed each year.
  • The average American uses approximately one 100-foot tall Douglas fir tree in paper and wood products each year.

(Information from the US EPA)

That’s 8.5 million acres of trees.

(Information from Portland State University)

A year.

It takes 20 years to grow a tree.

This should boggle your mind.

Now, let’s look at the facts surrounding the production of hemp.

Basic knowledge:

  • Hemp is grown close together for its stalks, not its leaves, and is usually harvested before it goes to seed.
  • Hemp’s long fibers create a better quality, more easily and frequently recycled paper product.
  • Hemp requires far less chemicals to process and, because of its natural brightness, does not need chlorine bleach to whiten the paper.

(Information from North American Industrial Hemp Council)

In one season, enough hemp could be grown in one acre to replace the need for 4 acres of trees.  That’s a replacement factor of actually 80 to 1, when considering it takes 20 years to grow a tree.  It also would take just 2.125 million acres to grow enough paper product to cover U.S. usage each year.

So without going into much further mathematical detail – or the detail on reduction in chemical residuals from the processing of wood paper, compared to hemp paper, tell me again…

…why is it we aren’t interested in replanting 6.375 million acres in trees, leave them alone, allow them to assist in cooling the Earth through its natural process of photosynthesis – and process hemp for paper – the same paper on which the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were written?

I think the Earth would be thrilled, and maybe, just maybe, 20 years from now, we could actually see a difference in emissions.  We’d certainly be doing our part FAR better than the rest of the G-8.

It seems sometimes you have to go the long way around to come back the short way correctly.  Think of where we’d be today if we hadn’t cut off our noses politically to spite our faces environmentally.



1. Deb aka St Colette - 13 July 2009


So many things could be solved with Hemp. We must do something.

theinimitablem1 - 13 July 2009

I was going to mention other things, but I need to do the backup research on them. The next one I am researching is replacing the formula for ethanol. If I have this right, it’s more economical to process, plus it doesn’t take food out of the mouths of starving people in developing nations, or spike the price of feed for cattle. Again, it has to do with chemicals, amount of space it takes to grow, etc., etc.

2. Origami Momi - 13 July 2009

Doesn’t it just seem so obvious it hurts? It’s another case of greed screwing the whole world in the long run.

theinimitablem1 - 13 July 2009

Wait until I finish the research on fuel alternatives. Some people may know this, but I was astounded when I saw what we are doing now compared to what could have been done for the last 50 years, and it’s not due to ignorance. Not at all.

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