Climate change is a worrying phenomenon that needs to be addressed urgently. One of the ways to stop intense extreme weather events and the loss of biodiversity could be through the cultivation of certain plant species that can relieve the atmosphere of carbon dioxide. Cannabis, a plant that has been with mankind for over 5000 years, could be a good candidate for that purpose.
What is climate change?
The excessive accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, resulting from human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation, traps the sun's heat and increases the Earth's temperature, leading to an effect called the greenhouse effect and, consequently, to global warming. This warming disrupts ecosystems, causes catastrophic natural events, threatens animal and plant species, 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 enhances this process called carbon sequestration and reduces carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.
How can cannabis help?
- Rapid growth.
Cannabis is known for its relatively rapid growth compared to other plant species. Its growth rate can vary depending on various factors such as genetics, cultivation practices and environmental conditions, but in general, faster growth means that the plant has the potential to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere at a higher rate during its active growth phase.
- Sustainable agricultural 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 cultivation provides an opportunity to adopt ecologically conscious approaches. Organic cannabis cultivation methods avoid the use of synthetic fertilizers and harmful pesticides, reducing the release of pollutants into the environment. In addition, 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 example, hemp, a variety of cannabis, offers an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional textile production. Hemp fibers are strong and versatile, requiring fewer chemicals and water compared to cotton. By switching to 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 visionary cannabis companies are adopting solar, wind and other renewable energy technologies to power their operations. By reducing their carbon footprint and relying less on fossil fuels, these initiatives contribute to climate change mitigation and promote the transition to a sustainable energy future.
There is a lot of potential for cannabis cultivation. Unfortunately, most countries in the world still prohibit the commercialization of this plant. Here in Barcelona, although we have the possibility of consuming legal cannabis in the privacy of our homes or in cannabis associations and weed clubs, 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, a change of mentality throughout society and corporate action is required. We need to reduce our carbon footprint and take serious reforestation measures to mitigate global warming. While many fear that we are past the point of no return, it is good to know that every year more and more companies are committing to reducing emissions and doing business in a more sustainable way.