Climate change is a concerning phenomenon that needs to be addressed with urgency. One of the ways of stopping the intense extreme weather events and loss of biodiversity to come might be through cultivating certain species of plants that can relieve the atmosphere from the carbon dioxide. Cannabis, a plant that has been with humanity for over 5000 years might be a good candidate for that purpose.
What is climate change?
The excessive accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that comes from human activities such as burning fossil fuels and deforestation, traps the heat from the sun and increases the Earth’s temperature leading to an effect called greenhouse effect and consequently to global warming. This warming disrupts ecosystems, causes catastrophic natural events, threatens species of animals and plants, raises sea levels, and poses risks to human health, food security, and water resources.
How can plants stop Climate Change?
Through photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, store carbon in their biomass and soil and release oxygen. Increasing the number of trees and plants through reforestation and afforestation efforts enhances this process called carbon sequestration and reduces the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
How can cannabis help?
- Fast growth.
Cannabis is known for its relatively fast growth compared to some other plant species. Its growth rate can vary depending on various factors such as genetics, cultivation practices, and environmental conditions, but overall, faster growth means that the plant has the potential to uptake carbon dioxide from the atmosphere at a higher rate during their active growth phase.
- Sustainable Agriculture Practices
Another environmental benefit of cannabis cultivation lies in its potential to promote sustainable agricultural practices. With the growing demand for organic and environmentally friendly products, cannabis farming provides an opportunity to embrace ecologically conscious approaches. Organic cannabis farming methods avoid synthetic fertilizers and harmful pesticides, reducing the release of pollutants into the environment. Additionally, sustainable cultivation practices, such as companion planting and water conservation techniques, can further minimize the ecological footprint of cannabis production.
- Alternative to Resource-Intensive Industries
Cannabis can also serve as a substitute for resource-intensive industries that contribute to climate change. For instance, hemp, a variety of cannabis, offers an eco-friendly alternative to traditional textile production. Hemp fibers are strong and versatile, requiring fewer chemicals and water compared to cotton. By shifting towards hemp-based textiles, we can reduce deforestation, water consumption, and pesticide use.
- Renewable Energy Integration
The cannabis industry has shown promising signs of embracing renewable energy sources. Indoor cannabis cultivation often relies on artificial lighting and climate control systems, resulting in significant energy consumption. However, many forward-thinking cannabis businesses are now adopting solar, wind, and other renewable energy technologies to power their operations. By reducing their carbon footprint and dependence on fossil fuels, these initiatives contribute to climate change mitigation while promoting the transition to a sustainable energy future.
There is a lot of potential for the cultivation of marijuana. Sadly, most countries of the world still prohibit the commercialization of this plant. Here in Barcelona, though we have the possibility of consuming legal cannabis in the privacy of our homes or in dispensaries and weed clubs, the large-scale cultivation of cannabis is not legal and it is up to each individual to grow their own plant.
To effectively combat climate change it requires the whole society to have a change of mind, and business to start acting on it. Carbon footprints need to be reduced and serious reforestation measures taken only to delay the global warmth. While many fear that we are already over the point of no return, it’s good to know every year more and more companies make commitments to reduce gas emissions and do business in a more sustainable way.