Environmental Justice: What it is and how Hempoffset will deliver it

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Environmental Justice must be delivered to the world

Centuries of (mostly) European exploitative colonialism have given us our broken world today. While the brutal exploitation of colonised peoples has been given a PR makeover, the exploitation continues, under the guises of commodities markets and globalisation. We believe that Europe needs to collectively step up and right the wrongs. The slave trade, the conquest and eradication of civilisations, the marginalisation of native peoples, and the trading of trinkets for valuable resources, these are just some of our shames. And many people are being unfairly impacted by the climate crisis, when they had literally nothing to do with it. This isn’t right.

Neocon capitalism is the cause of most of today’s problems

While the rich West struggles to escape from the Reagan-Thatcher neocon exploitative capitalism model which has led the world from one crisis to another, we need a new model of restorative, collaborative economics. So that’s what we are building. By making it easy, and compelling, for people in rich Western countries to fund hemp growers in the developing world, we will help to right the wrongs of recent and current history.

Here are our positions on key Environmental Justice issues:

Negative environmental impacts

The use of diesel to power the farm machinery needed to prepare, plant, harvest and process the hemp crops. Hemp is a tough plant, so machinery use is essential. Our vision is to have self-contained growing groups with the infrastructure required to harvest the crop and making hemp biodiesel to power the operation. As we offer fully-considered carbon offsets, all fossil fuels used to process our partner crops are measured and deducted from the carbon sequestered, resulting in net gains.

Positive environmental impacts, aside from CO2 removal itself

Hemp’s positive environmental benefits include:

  1. Breaking the cycle of diseases: hemp helps to break the cycle of diseases when used in crop rotation. In addition, weeds are not able to grow due to the fast growth and shading capacity of hemp plants.
  2. Soil erosion prevention: dense leaves of hemp become a natural soil cover, reducing water loss and protecting against soil erosion. Hemp covers the ground just three weeks after germination.
  3. Biodiversity: flowering cycle usually occurs between July and September (northern hemisphere), coinciding with a lack of pollen production from other crops. Hemp produces large amounts of pollen. It also provides shelter for birds and hemp seeds are a food for animals.
  4. Low or no use of pesticides: hemp is susceptible to few pests because of the lack of natural predators, which means that the use of insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides can be avoided in most cases.
  5. Reduced water demand: hemp does not typically need irrigation. In a country like Ireland, certainly! In countries with less rainfall, hemp requires about 50% of the water of most other crops.

The steps we will take to ensure that voices from the communities in which we are building projects are represented in a way that ensures their concerns are being met

We will use multiple communications channels to connect with the communities in which we are active. We will use a roadshow to bring our story to local networks and community groups, and we will use local and national media to tell our story at scale. Targeting farmers in our designated activity area will be essential to us so that we achieve our Grower Cell targets. More importantly, we will continue our ongoing general education activities about industrial hemp and how it can help end the climate crisis. For example, in talking with Irish farmers, we understand that it is very difficult to make ends meet by growing cereals or raising livestock. We’ll make it easy for farmers to improve their lives while improving the health of the planet.

Moral hazard

Moral hazard is the perception that the development of our carbon removal solution lessens or eliminates the urgency and need to reduce current GHG emissions

Moral hazard is a cause of concern because hemp is so effective at removing GHG emissions from the air. However, hemp has the potential to replace fossil fuels, which means that we can erase our carbon footprint and bring atmospheric CO2 levels back to the normal range, while providing the fossil-free fuels (ethanol, biodiesel and biochar) and essential goods (including bioplastics and construction materials) that will allow us to quickly achieve net-zero activities.

Involvement of the oil and gas industry

Any investments or ties to companies that participate in oil and gas

We have zero ties to oil and gas and no appetite for such, unless they want to work with us to produce hemp biodiesel at scale or to offset their carbon emissions at gigatonne scale. We are aware that oil and gas funding to politicians and academics is designed to confuse the issues around the benefits of hemp offsets in delivering a carbon neutral world.

Expansion of infrastructure

Such as transportation pipelines or truck traffic

Hemp production is less intensive than almost any other kind of farming. There will be some contribution to traffic in the vicinity of our Processor Hubs, but this will be limited to around three weeks per growing season.

Land use competition

Such as growing food, siting renewable energy, preserving biodiversity, and timber harvesting, among others

Because hemp is so versatile, different strains will provide the outputs required by growers and markets, from construction materials to energy. Hemp seeds are a source of high quality nutrition, but hemp is currently not classified as a food crop. This means that hemp can be used to create biofuels, displacing the need for food crops such as corn for this application.

Environmental health

Such as groundwater contamination or seismic activity

Hemp requires no pesticides or herbicides, and just minimal fertiliser and water, so it has a net positive impact on the environment. Industrial hemp crops typically require just 50% of the water of most other crops. Hemp also actually cleans and rejuvenates the soil, making hemp the perfect rotation crop. Hemp also benefits bees and other wildlife, providing pollen late into the season when no other pollen sources are available.

Workforce development

Making sure good-paying, local jobs are readily available for community members

Hemp can be a very labour-intensive crop to grow, so jobs will be made along the hemp and carbon lifecycles, through to selling high-value end products. We’re looking at setting up cooperatives to manage local infrastructure hubs at scale.

Hempoffset’s Vision of Environmental Justice

We are on a journey to use hemp to make a better world for all. By sharing in the value created by growers, using transparency and innovation on our value exchange platform, we are enabling a future vision of a fairer, better world. We’re building a world where climate change is no longer an existential threat, and people are free to capture and trade the value of their activities fairly.

Let’s stop climate change and deliver Environmental Justice together

We want to hear from you, so we can learn how we can help. If you’d like to form a cooperative, or grow industrial hemp, or access the carbon offset investments being made by many of the world’s leading companies, please contact Hempoffset today.

Learn more

Wikipedia on Environmental Justice

The valuable Environmental Justice resources below were shared with Hempoffset as part of our ongoing participation in the XPRIZE Carbon Removal competition:

Removing Forward – Executive Summary
This 2021 report from Carbon180 provides policy recommendations for stronger dialogue and action on carbon removal and EJ. The report advocates for implementing justice-oriented policies that support the wide, safe, and fair development and deployment of carbon removal solutions that improve the well-being of communities. Full report here.

Environmental justice, explained
This 2016 video from Grist provides an overview of the inequitable harms caused and persisted by pollution and climate change.

Environmental Justice: A Changing Landscape for Virginia Developers
This 2020 article by Woods Rogers, a Virginia law firm, discusses how Virginia is changing the legal and regulatory landscape as it pertains to environmental justice. It specifically proposes ways real estate developers can prioritize EJ in their projects.

Environmental Justice, Just Transition, and a Low-Carbon Future for California
This 2020 article in the Environmental Law Reporter analyzes the challenges and opportunities of rapid decarbonization as surveyed through a community-informed research project. Interviews, case studies, and original data analysis establish a framework for just transition policy development separated into four pillars: strong
governmental support, dedicated funding streams, diverse and strong coalitions, and economic diversification.

Carbon removal can and must be part of the climate justice agenda
This 2021 op-ed in The Hill from Carbon180 policy advisor Vanessa Suarez discusses environmental justice concerns around carbon removal and how to integrate them into the scale-up of solutions.

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Founder and CEO at Hempoffset.com and TaoClimate.com.

Hempoffset works with hemp growers and makers worldwide, to capture and sequester CO2 at scale, while building a sustainable world.

Tao Climate works with companies and individuals that want to measure, minimise and manage their carbon footprints. Tao Climate is the way to carbon neutral.

We are proud members of the Google Startups for Sustainable Development program.

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By Gary Byrnes

Founder and CEO at Hempoffset.com and TaoClimate.com. Hempoffset works with hemp growers and makers worldwide, to capture and sequester CO2 at scale, while building a sustainable world. Tao Climate works with companies and individuals that want to measure, minimise and manage their carbon footprints. Tao Climate is the way to carbon neutral. We are proud members of the Google Startups for Sustainable Development program.

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