Did you know that we are spewing out 90,000,000 metric tons of manmade CO2 emissions worldwide daily? Again and again, since attending the Climate Leaders training last August I am amazed at how the majority of people aren’t aware of this or it’s drastic importance. Is it because CO2 is invisible that people don’t understand the urgency of this statistic?

I expressed this concern to the Climate Reality directors and they responded that they’d come up with the same conclusion and even had a video made to illustrate how much CO2 was emitted daily in a household using black balloons. Each balloon represented 2 oz. of CO2. The average per capita emissions in the US are 20 metric tons per year. 16,000 balloons would represent one ton of CO2, multiply that by 20 tons and you would see 320,000 black balloons floating for every person in the United States. One family would come close to a million black balloons, does this now give you an idea of the blanket of CO2 we have and continue to lay upon our Earth?

There are 3 factors to climate change

  • Population
  • Technology
  • Our way of thinking

Of course, population is at the root of it all and our technology of fossil fuel driven transportation and electrical usage is compounded by more people taking advantage of that technology. But for me the number one factor is the way we think or better put, how we’ve come to think. Bottom line, if we could change the way we think, what we think we need, the way we think we’re supposed to live, together WE could solve the climate crisis that is upon us now. But how do we do that? How do we use our worldwide massive technology toward renewable and alternative energy rather than the continued exploitation of the Earth’s finite resources?

Did you know that over 20% of all CO2 emissions in the world come from deforestation and the subsequent burning of the downed trees? The majority of the deforestation is happening to provide more cattle pastures for beef farming not for the wood contained in the forest. And so when the trees are cut it’s easier and less labor intensive to just slash burn the downed trees releasing all the carbon they have stored over hundreds of years into the atmosphere

Climate change is also affecting forests in a negative way. With that “blanket” of CO2 covering us the Earth’s hydrologic cycle becomes more intense because of the inability of the heat to escape our immediate atmosphere. This causes more moisture to evaporate from the ocean and other water bodies BUT also even more from the soil causing longer and deeper droughts. That’s one of the crazy paradoxes about climate change, more rain and flooding in some places and harder droughts in others.

The Brazilian Amazon lost about 965,000 square miles of vegetative greenness during the drought of 2010. It was the driest year since records began being kept 109 years ago. During the drought were terrible fires in Brasilia National Park. The examples could keep flowing at you but you get the picture. Less forest, less carbon sinks, less shade, less water and less habitat for ALL the life depending upon them. One way to understand this is to stand in the full shade of a primary forest and then immediately go stand out in a roadway without the benefit of trees and feel the difference in the temperature. How can we save our forests, what is the answer?


The Dress

Here is one very important solution. The dress I’m wearing in the above photo is over 100 years old and made of hemp.  Industrial hemp was a regular crop on family farms in the US up until 1934 when Cannabis sativa was classified as a drug and subsequently outlawed, not only in the US but was pushed around the world. Families used hemp to make cloth, rope, canvas, medicine and even a type of building block can be made from hemp and used to construct houses. It is stronger than wood, is more durable and has over 50,000. If we could again promote the cultivation of hemp it has the potential to save our world’s forests. One-fourth acre of hemp is equal to 4 acres of trees and can be harvested every six months. It takes many decades for a forest to return after harvest.

The world’s forests have been exploited for their timber and now are being destroyed to “make room” for more cattle to produce more Big Mac’s. They are now being affected by the same climate change they have the ability to prevent and mitigate. It’s time for us to wake up to their importance, preserve and restore them and use an amazing plant that is a gift to man from our Earth, hemp.

Let’s Get Planting!!

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  1. Peter Firth says:

    Well said !!

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