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Future Energy

Here’s an interesting item: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-05/asfm-swt051409.php

New ideas for using “lignocellulosic biomass” as fuel. Lots of research on figuring out which poplar trees are the exact correct species to use.

Am I the only one thinking this situation might be just a little hypocritical when there’s this: http://www.hemp4fuel.com/news.php?item.204.11 ?

I did a quick survey of the Internet to find the reason we’re not looking at using hemp – a naturally occurring substance that doesn’t need trillions of research dollars to develop because god/evolution already did that – for at least part of our energy needs. Upshot: I couldn’t find much anti-hemp information.

I’ve been watching this hemp controversy for about ten years. It’s been going on a lot longer than that, but that’s how long I’ve been watching it. The pro-hemp arguments have pretty much been the same all along: it’s cheap to grow, environmentally safer than anything else, there’s a million things you can do with it including using it as a fuel source. Strong arguments you’ll agree and in fact tons of industrialized countries are already using it. The U.S. is lagging. Through all these ten years of my watching the arguments for hemp not changing, the argument against hemp hasn’t changed either. It remains this: the cops can’t tell the difference between industrial hemp and marijuana.

So that’s the reason. The question you ask then is why is marijuana illegal in the first place? The pro-hemp sites offer up a diabolical and bizarre Dupont/Carnegie/Hearst conspiracy that started way back on the 1930s. It’s a long story but the result is that today marijuana is illegal even though almost everybody has either tried it at least once or uses it regularly with fewer ill effects than alcohol usage. Personally I think the people with power don’t like the way pot makes people at peace with the world. Who would fight the wars if everybody was stoned?

At any rate, because the cops can’t tell the difference between THC-free industrial hemp and THC-laced marijuana we can’t grow the miracle substance of the century.

Whether or not the hemp advocates are right or wrong is not the issue here. The issue is that we don’t know if they’re right or wrong because there’s no research dollars to find out. The reason there’s no research dollars is because nobody wants to do research on something that might never be available because of illegality. So.

How do we make cultivation of cannabis legal? Answer: change the law. How do we change the law? People demand the law be changed. By “people” I mean the bulk of Americans, the middle class. Unfortunately these are the people that have a dread fear of their children growing up to be drug addicts. And they’re convinced a straight line between recreational marijuana and full blown heroin addiction exists. That is a whole other argument and not the issue here either.

The point is, if industrial hemp provides a source of cheaper fuel, people (American middle class) will get behind legalization in a heart beat. The price of fuel determines American middle class politics. It got us a regime change didn’t it?

Our future lies in our energy resources. Isn’t it hypocritical to pretend we’re working fervently on solving our energy needs using long drawn-out procedures when some real quick answers are right around the corner?

I’m not a pot-smoker, but I am an energy user and a tree-hugger. Let’s leave the trees for the birds and termites. Get a cannabis field going.

Sue Lange
Visit Sue Lange’s Bookshelf at BookViewCafe.com

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8 thoughts on “Future Energy

  1. Yes, Sue! We grow hemp in Granada, Spain and sell the seed heads, seeds for food and legal seeds for planting. We make hemp milk and promote its cultivation worldwide. We had a few run-ins with the police at first but they are all now converted. Please stay in touch ans see our Hemp Plantation photo at http://www.alsativa.es. That’s us there harvesting

  2. Hi, Sue.
    I just came across your post after doing a search for “hemp” on twitter. I enjoyed reading your perspectives on Industrial Hemp, and I appreciate your sharing this with others.
    I agree with your point that, “Isn’t it hypocritical to pretend we’re working fervently on solving our energy needs using long drawn-out procedures when some real quick answers are right around the corner?”
    Over a year ago I wrote a song called Hemp Anthem and I wanted to share with you a couple of the lines from this, “We’ve got to put all our options on the table as we try to chart a course to help our planet grow more stable. Hemp’s a crop you’ve all heard about before, the last time we could grow it here was during the Second War. Since that time Congress has chosen to ignore it, a course of action that we can not afford.
    It seems to me that we are getting closer to achieving the critical mass of Educated and passionate people to push real hemp reform forward. Given the 70+ years of deliberate misinformation, seems this requires a mass mobilization of citizens from all walks of life circulating petitions, engaging in marches, etc…
    If you would like to learn more about my efforts to faciitate this and possibly collaborate with me, please check out the website I entered with my comment.

    In Solidarity for a Sustainable Future-
    David Piller

  3. Hi Sue,
    I stumbled upon your article while myself searching for a counter argument to the pro-hemp fuel debate (sic).
    I haven’t had much success in tracking down an opposing point of view. Probably because any drawbacks (I can’t really see any) seem to be far outweighed by the benefits.
    I recently watched an excellent documentary – ‘The Union – The Business Behind Getting High’ .
    http://www.megavideo.com/?v=3CJWJIRV
    Worth checking out and a useful tool for spreading the word.
    The situation with Hemp is farcical as far as I can see.
    I have heard arguments for harnessing the diverse properties of hemp for about 20 years and they get more relevant as time goes by.
    Not once have I heard a coherent argument against.
    It’s actually insane that we have this amazing sustainable raw material that has a myriad of uses, yet we do not fully exploit it.
    Millions, billions is spent exploring inhospitable parts of the planet in the search for oil when we could be growing fuel in our back yards. While at the same time helping to arrest the green house build up from the burning of fossil fuels.
    Is there any real argument against? It seems to good to be true.
    That’s why I’d like to see a bit more discussion. What are the logistics of hemp fuel, are there any down sides/by-products?
    It’s high (sorry) time this was debated on a larger stage.
    Best of luck to you

    Kenneth

  4. I agree. There may indeed be drawbacks, but who knows what they are when we’re not looking at this seriously. That nutty conspiracy theory starts to look plausible when you think how many people are pushing for this and how long they’ve been doing it. And who exactly is against it? Who is the face of the anti-hemp contingent? The drug czars come and go. They have no real opinion on it; they just do their job. Who really cares? And why?

  5. Yes, boys, hemp was usefull. But I hear it is not even in the same league as algae as far as energy potential. Remember algae is responsible for most of the oil we’ve been using thus far and it’s already legal and no one wants to smoke it. Further, synthetic plastics that replaced hemp rope can also be made from it: so why promote hemp at all????????

  6. Hey Mark, thanks for stopping by. Maybe hemp isn’t in the same league as algae, maybe it is. Why have restrictions on anything that can potentially be helpful? If there’s no potential for hemp then that should be the argument. But is anyone putting forth that argument? Algae should definitely be studied. As far as I know people are doing that. Until we have a solution, nothing should be overlooked. The problem is hemp is not being taken seriously. It’s incredibly difficult to get a permit to grow it for research purposes. Maybe hemp isn’t the solution, but how do we know if we can’t seriously study it?

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