Something Old, Something Renewed

If we got in our “way back” machine and visited Henry Ford, we’d find out some pretty remarkable things. Amongst those would be the material and fuel he wanted his cars to run on. It wasn’t any of DuPont’s new fangled plastics derived from petroleum or oil based gasoline. Henry Ford saw a better path. He preferred Hemp.

Ford sought to both build and fuel his cars using raw and refined materials from this fiber rich plant. He saw the cost effectiveness both in production and for the consumer in regards to reliability and dependability. He made plastic panels from Hemp, that could be molded to be any part of a car, just as heavier and less dent / scratch resistant steel. And not only did they look just as good in the showroom, but they would look new, or almost new for years to come well after their metal counterparts had rusted through.

He used the oil from the seeds to make a highly efficient (some cars run on 50 miles to the pint! and more …) clean burning fuel from a renewable source that he or anyone else needn’t go a mile into the ground for.

And Ford’s ideas worked, and worked really well. Looking back, maybe too well.

In the 1930’s, when Ford was working on this car and its new and improved fuel, the folks at the DuPont and Hearst corporation caught wind of this research. The DuPont’s were working on their own plastic revolution at the time along with an experimental new synthetic material called “nylon.” Hearst may have not been very interested in stopping the upstart Ford except for two things. 1st, Hearst was wrongfully convinced that Hemp and marijuana are the same thing. They aren’t. And we’ll get back to that later.

The other reason tho was that Hearst was a heavy investor of the material that his newspapers were printed on, Timber. And Hearst learned about how Hemp could be made into paper faster and cheaper than it took the time to grow his forests.

So the DuPont’s and the Hearst people decided that Hemp must go. And through their “methods of pursuasion” which included propoganda campaigns in all mediums from print to movies, lobbying so aggressive and corrupt it would make Jack Abramoff blush…well, maybe not, but you get the idea…. And by 1937 they successfully got rid of the competition. The clean, non petroleum based, feasible, renewable and cheap product that threatened their fortunes.

And we have been paying for it ever since.

We pay for it in the money we de facto or even directly send to despotic leaders and countries to fuel their wars, attacks and propoganda campaigns on us. We pay for it by killing countless species in our oceans and on land every year. We pay for it every time a coal miner is trapped a mile below the surface. And we paid for it recently when an earthquake followed by a tsunami sent Japanese nuclear reactors into meltdowns before anyone really even knew what was going on.

Ford kept working on his ideas and by 1941 had perfected both the material building and fuel for his cars and began both trying to build them and petition the government to reconsider their hasty (bought and paid for by the DuPonts and Hearsts) decision in 1937. But despite his successes and the clear evidence, Ford failed and was forced to be a slave to DuPont plastic and foreign oil like the rest of us. His “new money” was no match for these entrentched interests.

But despite the corporate strongarming and corrupt politics, one fact is as true today as it was then.

Hemp is, without a doubt, our BEST chance at energy independence. Let me repeat. Hemp is our BEST chance at energy independence. And that’s both in the short term and the long term.

Let’s review the benefits again and tell me if ANY other fuel source matches up:

1) Renewable, and at a pace that can be utilized on a large scale TODAY, with existing technology.
2) Cleaner burning than any fossil fuel
3) Cheap
4) Safe
5) Crops can be grown almost anywhere at least the majority of the year
6) Purely domestic, no foreign countries needed

But what about the downside? Surely we can’t have this conversation without talking about marijuana, right? Right…

1st off, Marijuana and hemp are not the same thing. Hemp is an industrially grown plant that won’t get you any higher than smoking the clippings from your lawn. Really. The grass in your yard is about as potent as the hemp grown for industrial use. Not to mention, it’s just too seedy. And it’s grown to be seedy as the seeds are what the fuel and many other products come from where the stalk and so forth is used for other ‘fiberous” ventures like making plastics, paper and hundreds of other things.

The one thing it is not used for though, is smoking. So just get that out of your head. In fact, if someone grows hemp on a large scale, it will, in fact, destroy all the marijuana being grown within a certain radius. Why? because when the hemp pollenates it sends that pollen all over, causing all those marijuana plants to seed, and seed heavily. And in case you aren’t familiar with modern pot growning, it’s ALL based on growing seedless strains and removing male plants to prevent pollenating. This anihilates that idea, and therefore, that pot, making it too, quite unsmokable. Get it?

And other alternative energy sources? Well, let’s be real folks. Solar isn’t feasible. We’ve all seen the acres of glass covered lands collecting sunlight for energy. The only problem is that those fields couldn’t power much more than a few light bulbs and whatnot. And wind? same problem. And both share the issue that weather changes and neither can be relied on as a constant source.

Different battery and fuel cells are being developed, but let’s face it, we’re still a long way off with those too and I don’t see a family of 5 climbing in the Volt to drive cross country, unless they are a family of midgets or clowns. And what does a hybrid prove? That someone is only giving the terrorists some of the money?

We have other biodesiels, but none can match hemp’s efficiency, renewablility or cost effectiveness. Not to mention, it just smells better than most of the other bio diesels.

In fact, the “alternative energy” project has become a shell game. Politicians make speeches proclaiming bright futures if only we’d throw more money at the issue. Energy companies make sure we hear how hard they are woking on bringing these panacea energies to the market… but not today, and not tomorrow … in fact, they will need to get back to us on that… We need to face some facts and realize that some of these technologies might not come to fruition for decades, or never at all. Today, they serve as more of a springboard for votes and subsidies than anything tangible.

When it comes to exploiting resources and making money, no one can touch an American. Let’s face it. If any of these technologies, which have been around for a long time (i remember when my local bank went solar in the late 70’s and windmills are hardly a product of the 21st, or even 20th century) had the potential to make anyone “be a hero” and make money, it would be happening. Investors would be falling all over themselves to get in on the ground floor or even just tag along to make a few bucks, but they aren’t. They aren’t because the reality is none of these expensive, pipe dream technologies are even close to being ready for market.

And until we move to a FEASIBLE alternative that can be actually used in a large scale with existing technologies, we will be stuck “picking our poison.” We can do dirty and dangerous coal and beat the crap out of our planet and our workers. We can do oil and deal with despotic nations and money flowing to terrorists to be used back against us. Or we can do nuclear where we can blow ourselves up before we even blink should we make the wrong move and deal with toxic waste that lasts a millenium.

Or we can sit in a state of perpetual denial and hope our wishes that one of these unfeasible technologies will revolutionize itself overnight. they won’t.

Or we can begin to see what Henry Ford saw almost 80 years ago and choose hemp.