Sustainability

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New Zealand: Another Green Insulation Uses Hemp

By Susan Wilson, Blorge

One type of green insulation that you won’t find in the United States but will find in Europe and New Zealand is Hemp. Europe and New Zealand are allowing Hemp to be grown as a boost for local farmers since so many products can be made from it.

They allow what is called “industrial hemp” to be grown. This is a type “of low-narcotic hemp“.

We can’t grow it in the United States because too many government organizations get money from our “War on Drugs” which spends an inordinate amount of time catching small time marijuana growers. This is a shame since hemp is such a productive crop for farmers. This is an excellent crop that can be used for a myriad of legal purposes like making durable cloth, rope and now insulation.

Like sheep’s wool insulation, hemp insulation comes from a renewable resource. Just like sheep’s wool insulation, hemp insulation is biodegradable. It is also breathable - absorbing and releasing air moisture. It has excellent sound absorption and repels mold and insects.

Some hemp insulation is a combination of hemp and sheep’s wool. Other types have bi-component fibers, and soda for fire retardation. Still other kinds of hemp insulation use polyolefin or some other thermoplastic binder to keep the fiber together.

Asia: Eco Concerns Slowly Turning Asia Textiles Green

Green-friendly fabrics may be expensive, but increasing consumer demand for the environmentally-correct now is forcing Asia's textile giants to go the extra mile to produce clean cloth.

In a sign of the times, at Paris' twice-yearly Texworld textile trade fair this week, around 60 of the 660 firms exhibiting from around the world flew the green flag, a sharp increase on previous sessions, organisers said.

In China, Bangladesh and India, the world's top textile producers, as well as in Pakistan, South Korea and Taiwan, natural fibres, organic yarns, fair trade practices and clean processing are creeping into an industry often chided for polluting soils, wasting water and employing child labour.

"We will be starting organic and fair trade by next year," said Sajedur Rahman Talukder, a marketing manager for Bangladesh's biggest textile-maker, Norman Group of Industries, whose tens of thousands of workers supply western firms such as Ikea.

"It is a market demand."

Eco-friendly fabrics, added South Korean firm Ludia, might currently be a niche product around 15 percent more expensive than run-of-the-mill textile, "but in two or three years the consumers will pay the difference."

"Eco-friendly is our key item, the market has changed," said a company manager.

Philippines: Ancient Fabrics Weave Hope for the Poor

By The Manila Times

NATURAL fibers ease the pain of poverty.

In many developing countries, proceeds from the sale and export of natural fibers contribute significantly to the income and the food security of poor farmers and those working in fiber processing and marketing.

Worldwide, some 30 million tons of natural fibers are produced annually. But they have lost market share to synthetic fibers.

The International Year of Natural Fibers raises the profile of these fibers and emphasizes their value to consumers while helping to sustain farmers’ income.

Plant fibers

Abaca, once a favored source of rope, is known as Manila hemp. It shows promise as an energy-saving replacement for glass fibers in automobiles and is now pulped and processed into tea bags, casing for sausages, banknotes, cigarette papers and high-quality writing paper.

Coir, a coarse, short fiber extracted from the outer shell of coconuts, is found in ropes, mattresses, brushes, geotextiles and automobile seats.

Globally, around 500,000 tons of coir is produced every year, mainly in India and Sri Lanka. The value of coir production has been put at around US$100 million annually. India and Sri Lanka are the main exporters of coir, followed by Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia.

A Peaceful Solution

There is a truth that must be heard! A Peaceful Solution written by Willie & Amy Nelson on April 29th, 2007 at 3:03am on the bus in California, on the way to Coachella.

Farm Aid: Neil Young - Family Farmers

Neil Young discusses Good food, family farms, and fighting factory farms.

http://www.farmaid.org

Massachusetts: 'This Old House' Project Earns 'Green' Certification

Wickedlocal.com

WESTON - The PBS home improvement series "This Old House" recently built a home in Weston that was awarded LEED Silver Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for achievement in green homebuilding.

LEED for Homes is a national third-party certification system for energy efficient "green" homes. LEED-certified homes complete a technically rigorous process that includes a home energy (HERS) rating and onsite inspections to verify the home is built to be energy and water efficient, environmentally sound and a healthier place to live.

The house is one of 61 Massachusetts homes that have been certified using LEED.
The home was built by the Emmy-winning PBS television series "This Old House" and Bensonwood, a New England-based custom homebuilding company.

Green homes have substantially lower utility bills and may qualify for advantageous financing, lower insurance rates and government incentives. Through their commitment to green homebuilding, "This Old House" and Bensonwood are helping to keep homeownership affordable through long-term energy savings.

"Their leadership – demonstrated with the Weston project house – is at the national forefront of quality, and their example can help us all to live better by reducing our environmental footprint, cutting our utility bills, and coming home to a healthier place to live," said Michelle Moore, U.S. Green Building Council senior vice president of policy and market development.

United States: Embrace the Possibilities of Hemp

By Sylence Dogood, Hemp News Staff

There is one thing that we all have in common: this tiny planet we share. Today the world is throwing around terms like "sustainability" and "green living" but what does that really mean? Cannabis sativa, also known as Hemp, is one of the most diverse plants on the planet, and could literally supply most of humankinds needs for fuel, food, clothing, building products, and medicine.

Despite its usefulness, hemp is illegal to grow in the United States. This simple plant, Cannabis, can be put to use in many ways. It would fill so many needs and put our country on a path toward sustainability. A forward-thinking attitude toward hemp and cannabis would create jobs, revitalize our farming communities, boost tourism, and create millions of dollars in revenue for the country.

US agriculture will thrive; the potential is too great to ignore any longer. It is my goal as a writer for Hemp News to participate in the great Hemp discussion and possibly help to educate our readers. Please take the time to examine the benefits of the Cannabis plant, and it's potential influence in all aspects of our society.

It is my hope that one day this plant will be free to grow and use as each individual desires. Whether it be building fiber for a house, yarn fiber for a shirt, pressed seed oil for energy, delicious hemp flour for food, or the beautiful flowers full of medicine and relaxation. Cannabis sativa is a blessing to this planet and we must embrace the possibilities.

Canada: Industries turning to soy, fibres

By Becky Rynor, Canwest News Service

It was Henry Ford, the American founder of the Ford Motor Company and a prolific inventor, who did some of the earliest work in developing biocomposites -- products that combine organic fibres from agriculture and forestry waste with petroleum-based materials such as plastic.

"He was at the forefront," says Ed Trueman, with JER Envirotech of Delta, B.C.

"If you go back to the early days of Henry Ford, in the late teens and early 1920s, he did an awful lot of development work with soy-based products -- soy-based plastics, soy-based polymers that actually ended up in auto body panels. He was brought up on a farm and he was very concerned about the environment."

Ford was stymied in getting biocomposites widely developed and accepted, Trueman says, by the technological limitations of the time and the ready availability of cheap petroleum.

But recent advances in technology, combined with industry's desire to reduce costs and be environmentally conscious, is moving the field forward,says christian Belanger with the National Research Council.

Belanger says this has a growing number of industries looking at biocomposites for everything from food packaging to car and airplane components.

UK: Tackling the global issues

By ThisisBathco.uk

Hybrid electric cars and straw houses are just some of the solutions to global warming on show at the University of Bath.

The Sustainable Energy and the Environment showcase yesterday highlighted the latest research on reducing carbon emissions and saving the planet.

Researchers at the university have been looking into the use of hemp, timber and straw as building materials to help reduce the carbon footprint of the construction industry.

Director of the BRE centre for innovative construction materials, Professor Peter Walker, said: "The environmental impact of the construction industry is huge. For example, it is estimated that worldwide the manufacture of cement contributes up to 10 per cent of all industrial carbon dioxide emissions.

"We are looking at a variety of low-carbon building materials, including crop-based materials, innovative uses of traditional materials and developing low carbon cements and concretes to reduce impact of new infrastructure."

Another group of researchers is hoping to develop rechargeable batteries to improve hybrid cars.

Professor Saiful Islam, of the chemistry department, is researching new lighter, safer and more efficient alternatives.

His research recently won the Fuel Cell Science and Technology Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Professor Islam said: "Developing new materials holds the key to lighter and more efficient rechargeable batteries for hybrid electric cars, reducing our use of fossil fuels and cutting carbon emissions."

Europe: University of Bath to showcase cutting edge environmental research

By Science Centric

The global problem of climate change will hit the spotlight on Wednesday 17 September as researchers from across the region meet for a showcase on environmental sustainability.

Experts in engineering, chemistry, architecture, physics and economics will join forces at the University of Bath to discuss the climate change challenge. They will host an exhibition of some of the region's cutting edge research in the fields of sustainable energy and the environment.

Wednesday's event will also see the launch of the new Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment (I-SEE) by David Willetts MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

Mitigating the effects of climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing science today due to the complex nature of the problem. The University of Bath's I-SEE will combine the expertise of world-class researchers from diverse disciplines of science, engineering, economics, management and social science to address the problem.

It will also study the socio-economic impacts of climate change, inform policy and provide technological solutions to mitigate the effects of global warming, helping the UK to achieve its target of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 60% by 2050.

Some of the institute's ground-breaking research will feature at the showcase.

Key research areas of the exhibition include:

- Future sources of energy including improved energy storage, low cost solar cells and hydrogen fuel production and storage.

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