Sunny Nevada Just Killed the Solar Industry with 40% Tax Hike, Derailing the Off-Grid Movement

By Justin Gardner on January 15, 2016  (READ THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE)

Nevada regulators and NV Energy are conspiring to push solar energy competition out of their state.

While Nevadans were celebrating the holidays under solar-powered lights, the Nevada Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted unanimously to increase a monthly fee on solar customers by 40% while reducing the amount they get paid for excess power sold to the grid. Adding insult to injury, they made the rate changes retroactive, sabotaging consumer investments in solar energy.

This single move by government regulators will effectively kill the solar industry in Nevada and put an end to the surge of people seeking to detach from the grid by harnessing their own energy from the sun. Just as importantly, it serves to protect the profits of Nevada’s public utility company, NV Energy.

“It will destroy the rooftop solar industry in one of the states with the most sunshine…There is so much wrong with the decision,” said SolarCity CEO Lydon Rive. “The one beneficiary of this decision would be NV Energy, whose monopoly will have been protected.”

Two major solar companies, SolarCity and Sunrun, have already left the state, causing upwards of a thousand job cuts. Many more renewable energy jobs are at stake. Solar industry supporters and workers are planning to protest the new rates at a rally in Carson City and Las Vegas, as industry and public outcry may force regulators to reconsider their decision.

One Nevada resident wrote in the Las Vegas Sun that she feels “financially ambushed” after tapping into their retirement savings to become a solar household. Before the rate change, the system would have paid for itself in 14 years, but now that will never happen.

“With the new pricing for [net metering] customers, the value or price of the energy they produce will be vastly reduced. In addition, the flat service charge for NEM customers will rise to three times that charged to nonsolar residential customers, a kind of penalty for producing much of our own electricity. The people with solar on their homes feel cheated; solar businesses are closing or leaving.”

NV Energy—a regulated monopoly with an “authorized rate of return”—is unabashed in saying that the surge in renewable energy is cutting into their profits. Last year the company, owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, got Sen. Patricia Farley to draft the amendment that shifted the state’s net metering over to the PUC. In their view, solar customers “don’t pay their fair share to maintain the grid.”

With the rate changes, Nevada regulators are demonstrating the willingness and ease with which government can neutralize the “off-grid” movement while protecting their favorite utilities. Rooftop solar, along with innovations such as Tesla’s Powerwall, represents a huge opportunity for people to free themselves from an energy structure ruled by corporations and state co-conspirators.

Residential solar customers are not the only threat to the profits of NV Energy.

“A consortium of casinos and businesses is looking to leave NV Energy’s grid and start generating their own power, saying they’re being placed at a competitive disadvantage because they’re paying more for energy than their business rivals in nearby states. The state Public Utilities Commission has said it would charge hefty fees — $27 million in the case of Las Vegas data center Switch — to let industrial ratepayers leave the system.”

The fight between NV Energy and the solar industry may be a microcosm of a larger struggle involving the fossil fuel industry. The American Energy Alliance, a fossil fuel advocacy organization backed by the infamous Koch brothers,applauded the Nevada decision as a matter of national policy. They are pushing efforts in other states to curtail the rise of solar energy.

In this vein, the outcome of Nevada’s situation could have implications far beyond that state.

“Nevada could set a precedent for other states, Hugh Wynne, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., wrote in note Tuesday. Regulators across the country are grappling with how to spur the development of clean energy sources while ensuring operators can collect enough money to maintain and update their grids. – Bloomberg News

The question must be asked, why does government protect the status quo? Why is it assumed that existing utility operators must be preserved in this rapidly changing energy landscape? Instead, consider that old utility grids are no longer applicable in the 21st century.

This is a pivotal moment in the evolution of the energy paradigm. We have the ability to leave behind the dirty, corrupt legacy of fossil fuels and enter an era of localized, renewable energy. As The Free Thought Project reported in November, within 25 years we could have a complete energy transformation, as the cost of renewables declines and technology advances exponentially. Rooftop solar and localized systems will lead the revolution.

In order to achieve this, we must break from the grip of those who would keep us in the dark ages to satiate their thirst for power and wealth.


Sweden To Become The World’s First Fossil Fuel-Free Nation In History


From this article featured on Collective Evolution Collective Evolution.

The Swedish government recently announced that their aim is to become one of the world’s first nations to end its dependence on fossil fuels. They will be investing an extra 4.5 billion kronor (US$546 million) into renewable energy and climate change action in their 2016 budget.(source)

Not long ago, UBS, the world’s largest private bank, began urging its investors to join the clean, renewable energy movement. Their analysts are predicting that power plants in Europe might become completely extinct within the next 10 to 20 years, and it seems they are correct. The dream of a ‘nuclear free’ Europe might become a reality sooner than expected, which explains why trillions of dollars are being divested from old ways of generating energy into more renewable sources. (source)

“Sweden will become one of the first fossil-free welfare states in the world.” – Prime Minister Stefan Löfven (source)

Considering that they already get two-thirds of their electricity from non-fossil fuel energy sources, this is great news. The government also announced that it will be spending money on smart grids, renewable energy storage technology, an electric bus fleet, subsidies for green cars, and climate adaptation strategies. They will also be renovating residential buildings to make them more energy efficient.

“2015 is our opportunity, a chance to, in dialogue with all the countries of the world, change course towards a new development path where we can succeed in generating welfare for all, not at the planet’s cost but in cooperation with it.” – Johan Rockström, one of the Prime Minister’s key advisors (source)

Sweden is just one of many nations around the world that is getting behind renewable energy. Hawaii, for example, recently announced its plans to become the first US state completely powered by renewable energy. Earlier this year, Costa Rica was powered with 100 percent renewable energy for 75 days, and Denmark successfully produced 140 percent of its electricity demand from wind power alone during the month of July.

The solutions are plentiful, and as we are now seeing, can be implemented and utilized for the greater good. We’ve known about and possessed this technology for decades, why is it that this process (which is so desperately needed) is taking so long?

Letter to Alaina Lockhart (Liberal Elect Fundy Royal)


Dear Alaina,

I am in your Liberal riding and old enough to have asked Pierre Elliot Trudeau for his lapel rose at a rally at the Chateau Laurier a few decades back now. You see, I’d worked as a youth in his campaign. I recall a couple things about his character that still resonate with me at present. He was a man of the people, for the people and a sound representative for human rights and the Canadian Constitution. He was the Charter of Rights and Freedoms incarnate. He stayed out of our bedrooms and would never have supported insidious Bills like C-51. He did not want our sovereignty occluded by the illusions proffered by a Queen that God had already saved. It was a time for us to swell with autonomy and self-governance. We were a big nation of small population, but we were ready. With Trudeau at the helm, we could trust him as our representative and statesman to move forward into a bright future.

When he looked in my eyes, smiling into my face, that fateful moment, unabashedly proffering his rose to me, I felt a pure love and ethical centre that I’ve known in few people since; let alone in the heart of a politician! He was full of life, a natural born leader. He was opinionated, charismatic, and ballsy, protective and a true Canuck. He shone with knowledge, brilliance, character and discernment; a rare thing indeed in any human being. It is fair to say that I loved him. All of Canada did. In that moment when I gazed into his eyes, I peered into his ethical centre. I waved to him like a friend every time I drove past 24 Sussex.

Conversely, our country has taken a perilous journey since that time. It is true that I abhor big governments. Majorities in the hands of a few make me even more nervous. Since my fateful meetings with P.E. Trudeau, I’ve known few men with the integrity, genius and knowledge of economics that truly represent their people until Ron Paul, the Libertarian, a true historian and economic luminary from Texas of all places! His emergence has completely caught my breath. The concept of auditing the Fed and giving the integral power back to the people and enabling them to drive the economy naturally burgeons my hope. We all know that the debt-based Fiat economy is a sham; an abomination of each individuals creativity.

In this North American climate of change, my more feminine faith remains broken knowing that the people haven’t the health to wholly hold the charge of Libertarianism, self-governance and autonomy at this time. I’m thinking, that it will have to take a grass roots revolution in the States to provoke any real change. Perhaps read anything Ayn Rand wrote and also “The Creature of Jekyll Island” (it’s a free pdf) if you want some history behind the impulse to enslave North Americans. However, I digress.

As a result of the last decade in Canada under Steven Harper (spoken seething between clenched teeth), I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not sure I want to identify as a Canadian anymore. In fact, I’ve not voted FOR anyone since Trudeau, just strategically against the worst possible candidates. I did the same this time too. Seriously, what was the point?! If Harper got back in, this election, my plan (which is already in motion) was to repatriate to Central America setting up offshore, get my tax money and investments out of this corrupt nation being sold off to China in unethical chunks. I beyond tired of Bills being passed behind our backs, corrupt leanings, bipartisan politics and dirty back room deals. It disgusts me beyond measure. (Did I mention that I used to work for the feds years ago? Dark years for me indeed.) I hate that our peace keeping grace, internationally, is now tarnished beyond recognition. I am deeply ashamed. When I travel, I no longer where my Canadian flag as an insignia of pride on my knapsack. That makes me feel sad.

Yes, it is come to this, even though my family has been in Sussex (and Grand Lake), New Brunswick since 1789 since the Elliotts/McQuinns first landed on these shores. I kept my name through two marriages out of a sense of pride. Although I grew up and was educated in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto, I came back “home” to work with and for my beloved brethren. I’ve hired a small slew of local New Brunswick women to help run our international natural health clinic, publishing house and natural building collective ( over the last 6 years since I’ve been back. We’re thriving here! We’ve promoted lots of natural home births, helped folks with their chronic ills and provided many jobs. Heck we’ve even helped other want-to-be local authors publish their own books.

I attributed it all to the fact that my husband and I are self-starting, self-governing individuals who abhor hand outs. My kids are brilliant, self-educated homeschoolers. We’ve written 13 books, some best-sellers, and consult with our patients worldwide. Because of the passing of that fateful, rose, I learned to become an emblem of integrity and true Canadian grit. I am the essence of myself! I could have easily taken my family to BC and Alberta, a much more progressive climate, but we came east, against a tide of escaping Maritimers, to see what we were made of. Pierre Elliott taught me to grab your inner gumption and git ‘er done in the face of tradition and social adversity.

My husband is from Laval, QC, but he and I both love the people and landscape here. We also LOVE a challenge. Living out West, for us, would have been WAY too easy given our state of mind and work. We love being agents of change! Also, rush hour, here, is laughable. I also love to hike by the ocean. NB is an untapped jewel of beauty and charm. Grand Manan my go to place for healing, writing and self-reflection. We own acreage over on the Kingston Peninsula where we are starting a teaching centre for people (mostly women) to come learn how to build off-grid solar/wind homes out of hempcrete and strawbale.

We’re not about sustainability, we’re about permaculture and rejuvenation! That is the impulse that we bring to all that we hold sacred. The petro-chemical giants, around these parts, will phase out, naturally, it is not sustainable and it is NOT the way of the future. Every home in Germany is now powered off-grid by the sun! Pipelines and fracking (change 2 letters and you’re closer to the truth) are unethical practices of old-boys networks that marginalize our crown land and native holdings and their (our) peoples. It is not ethical to destroy our water table, our health or steal aboriginal peoples lands. I am “idle no more!” It also isn’t ethical to leave 1,000 murdered native women, and their bereft families, devoid of love, care, compassion or answers. I will not live in a land of seeming unethical cleansing especially where world health organizations know more about our dirty business, demanding a full investigation while we sit “Conservatively” and idly by. I am deeply ashamed.

There is little in the way of international vision in New Brunswick. Many folks outside this province think of it as the land that time forgot. Friends who’ve left to go to Alberta and Ontario tell me that New Brunswick feels like one big “Kings Landing” sucking on the teat of what ever Ottawa throws down east in the way of bones and benefits. We’ve been in this hobbled state of mind since the fishing/local farmers industries collapsed. We’re pathetically a province of hand-out recipients who abhor change with undertones of bigotry and racism. I’m not proud, and I’m not like my ancestors. I have changed and I will follow Gandhi’s maxim to “be the change you want to see in the world” just like Pierre Elliott did.

The trouble is that many Gandhi-like folk land on these shores, now, flavouring our traditional Maritime landscape with change, great food, self-motivation and education. Sadly, the bigotry and unfriendliness often drives these innovators away, up, into the more accepting urban, upper Canadian cities with the capacity to blend in racially and culturally. I detest that we only wave to white, fleshy people with Scotch red hair and Irish blue eyes. I am ashamed. Pierre Elliott mentored me differently.

In a couple of weeks, I leave Canada longterm for the first time in my life. Now that my children have grown and have left home, I can be a digital nomad working remotely to run my business via Internet and Skype. From a distance, I will ruminate on my choices. Do I resonate with Canada and her majority government? Likely not. Will the past wreckage and carnage be undone? Perhaps. Will I feel empowered to continue the work we’ve begun in the last 6 years in NB? Is this the right geography for me to fully become my essential self, to be fully actualized as an ethical and righteous human being within the construct of a Canadian identity? The answer 4 days out of this past election, is … I simply just don’t know.

Right now the more easy beach breezes, solar off-grid home, and high speed internet calls to my more than mid-life bones. I’ve worked full-time since I was 16 (orphaned tragically by both parents), completing an honours BA, a medical degree and post graduate study. For the first time in 52 years I’m solvent without student loans crushing my spirit even though this country was supposed to be built on the mandate of FREE education to all (reference to Natural Persons and the serial number on the back of each and every Birth Certificate). I’ve tirelessly researched, written and published 13 books as an Indie writer with not a cent of support from outside sources. Perhaps it is time to hand over the reigns/reins to my own beloved children while I live offshore. You see, I just don’t know. I’m not feeling it.

As you go forward, please think of me. Although, we come from the same town we are different and yet the same. We are entrepreneurial women who love our children, husbands, our Province, our Country, integrity and the truth. Please do not forget that I am who you represent … in the name of God and the essence of the rose.

Allyson McQuinn
DHHP, Diploma Homeopathy Heilkunst Program, JAOH, Post Graduate Journeyman in Anthroposophical Orgonomic Physical and Medical Heilkunst
Arcanum Wholistic Clinic Inc.
Heilkunst * Neuroscenar * Bioresonance * Professional Bowtech Bowen Practitioner * Author * Publisher
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Senior Staff Writer for Wholistic Family Health

Art and Nature Centre, Knowlesville, New Brunswick

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I had the wonderful pleasure of taking my daughter away with me for 2 days to Knowlesville, New Brunswick this past weekend.  The Fall colours were mind-blowing and at times when we crossed a ridge, my driving knees would go weak with awe at the gradation of colours. Nature gets very showy at this time of year and I feel so blessed to be able to enjoy it in one of the most magnificent places in the world.




There is nothing so awesome to me than hitting the top of a ridge and seeing nothing but trees, trees and more trees.  Central New Brunswick has little to clutter up it’s beauty but a few choice farms and fields of harvested food peppered with livestock on it’s landscape. There is no industry, few gas stations and fewer factory farms.  It feels like Vermont, only about 200 years ago!

Our chosen destination had a few purposes.  I’d chosen to take my daughter away before my husband and I leave Canada for a warmer climate for the next 6 months.  I also wanted to visit the Knowlesville Art and Nature Centre and my new friends Tegan and Leland, educators, natural builders and off-grid homesteaders.  I wanted to connect with the people that I’m working to become.


When we arrived at the straw-bale constructed home, our hosts had let us know that they would be attending a birthday party nearby and that we should just go on in, settle ourselves and then go in search of children’s voices to join them at the bon fire celebration.  Once I entered their magnificent home and cozied in next to the fire after the 3.5 hour drive, from Saint John, it took a lot to tear myself back outside into the brisk Fall air.


I felt myself take in the walls with awe and wonder.  Most of the walls were finished with a white lime wash, while others still had their “rough coat” only where some bits of straw were visible in the corners.  I was very thankful that I got to observe the living phases of a natural building on these more exposed walls.  It was like observing everything that I had studied about natural building thus far.

The walls felt warm, insulating, enveloping and they seem to lower my more churned up city psyche and bring it down several notches.  My gut was smiling into the roots of my being.  It confirmed how much I’ve craved this feeling full time in my own home.  The post and beam construction spoke to a solidity and master craftsmanship that made me almost weep with the detail and care.  My woman’s heart felt love and beauty carved in each male and female joinery.  This home was an artful rending.  My soul rejoiced!


Each window provided a seat for one of the four children that I later observed reading or napping in the warmth of the sunlight.  The lights were few and remained off much of the time due to the desire to conserve the solar power stored in the bank of batteries and so often you’d feel drawn to the deeply magnificent linseed oil sealed windows to see or read something more clearly.  Beauty and activity abounded by the portals of light.

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I loved how each wall curved in the most feminine way from the surrounding straw bale shape making the window that much more accentuated.  The ledges so wide and inviting that a bowl of fresh picked Quince, a Russian Doll, the ingredients to make sourdough bread and necessary travel books, lanterns and a hat all graced the ample surfaces.  Posies from a day gone bye dropped the seeds of potential for next year’s planting.

I was truly besotted by every detail.  So much love, meaning and tenderness went into this more than 3,500 square foot dwelling.  I was captivated to such a degree that it was like falling deeply in love.  I could not wait to meet my hosts!

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Tegan and Leland were both the most generous, talented and loving individuals that I might ever have had the pleasure to meet.  Their home was a tapestry of muted children’s voices, the straw bale walls seemed to absorb and then exhale their calls for their mother or the 8 month-old baby’s mewling in the early morning shortly after the near light of dawn.

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Both Leland and Tegan chose to build their house on a 4 foot poured concrete foundation given the height of this buxom timber frame structure.  Each floor above rose in a slightly smaller proportion allowing for the slope of the roof and the load bearing posts and beams.  My daughter and I were on the top floor in the loft, just below the ladder to the pinnacle which is “tree-house” sweet spot of the home.  What an awesome place to play, sleep and marvel at the world from above the surrounding treetops.

The bath had a traditional four claw tub and a humanure toilet.  I’d read extensively the practice of bucket pooping, but I’d never personally sprinkled sawdust onto urine or excrement until this weekend.  I was sure that my olfactory senses would balk, however, I only noticed a mild earthy-like odour that smelled very much like an early day in Spring,  just alive and healthy without wasting precious drinking water.  Leland let me know that the compost from this culmination of organic materials created the richest of soils about every 3 years.  I was so excited to have lived everything I’d studied in books and watched hours of Youtube videos about natural/off-grid building.

We chatted for hours over freshly pressed apple cider from the apples in their yard, or warm milk from their family’s jersey cow with a dash of organic molasses. Yum!  Tegan and Leland informed me that their house is powered by 30 year old solar panels that the Reagan administration had done away with during the oil and gas boon in support of the petrochemical giants.  Some unassuming fellow in Maine had the foresight to buy them up and sell them to other off-grid-ers for a reasonable cost.

Tegan mentioned that they did have back up wind power for November and December when sunlight is in short supply, however, one day after stepping out of the bath, during an ungodly storm, she heard the wind rip into hollow beside their house and watched with horror as all the blades of her windmill got blown to smithereens, scattering like toothpicks across the gnarly landscape.  She said that someone had kindly donated a new kit, but that they’d been so busy, of recent, to have gotten around to installing it yet.

As we got into the territory of She-Bear Construction, Leland said that he was blown away by the recent surge of women builders.  He said that women were adding a real artistry to their homes with coloured glass bottles in transoms over the door to river stones in the shower or hand-made tiles for back splashes.  He said that they all seem to want round homes!  In fact, he’d just finished building a permanent round yurt out of straw bale for a hospital nurse neighbour up the road, “The cedar shakes for the roof was the biggest challenge.  She’ll have to apply Linseed oil on them every 5 years on a hot day during the summer to maintain it’s durability.”

After a pause, Leland spoke, further ruminating, “With all our traditional supplies designed to build square structures, I sometimes wonder if there will be a place in future for a male builder like me.  Natural building is evolving so quickly that I’m unsure how I might fit in to serve this burgeoning evolution.”  When I looked around his home, I could see no reason for him not to be served by an apprenticing natural builder like me.  I’d do just about anything to spend a summer working for him.  Also, he could build me a square, triangle or round house for me any day … his craftsmanship was superb!

After Leland had provided me with about 5 different female builders from Nova Scotia to Oregon, I decided to go for a walk to clear my head and check out the area.  I walked down the road to get a good look at the round house he’d built from the outside.  900 square feet with a naturally peaked cap of the roofline over the doorway, lent an artistry that was awe inspiring.  The chimney was blowing smoke rings from the height of the central peak.  What a masterful feat of thought and engineering!  Would I ever be able to pull off something as beautiful as this?

I continued my walk while being passed by periodically by trucks with men and women wearing camouflage gear and bright orange vests.  I waved to them, as all New Brunswickers wave to each other on country roads.  It is buried courtesy in our culture.  I got down quite a piece when I heard the hunter’s shots not too far off in the distance.  Even though I was wearing a bright yellow rain jacket, I decided to turn back.  I hadn’t slept well the night before due to the excitement and so I had the desire to take an afternoon nap in the loft next to my teenage daughter who still wasn’t out of bed yet.


The snowflakes on this late October day fell in giant clusters as I reached the front porch. Several laying hens, and their accompanying roosters, had hopped up on the wrap around deck in an attempt to stay warm and dry as the early snowfall must have also accosted them.  I found them hiding behind several cords of wood stove wood.  The hammock hanging at one end spoke of summertime’s passing and Tegan’s work in Mexico and Central America as a biologist, propagating orchids, before marriage and children.  She now spends her days studying and applying the principles of holistic and inspirational education from the inside out.


The next morning, on Sunday when we departed, full of wonderful, dynamic conversations about Waldorf education and natural building, I stopped by the church cum school that they’d had moved from the village of Knowlesville a few years prior.  The sunlight dappling it’s mustard walls with the early tree figures from the sun on the rise.  Our bellies also full of homemade oatmeal peppered with raisins and fresh apples from this years bumper crop.  The local maple syrup, the chai tea made with fresh cream skimmed from their Jersey milk still churned with pleasure in my mind and belly.  I’d enjoyed a little slice of heaven on earth.  I had embodied my model of excellence in natural living for myself.  The key for me will be to hold this ideal in my mind while I work to become it for myself.


To find our more about Tegan and Leland Wong-Daugherty’s Natural Building, Land Trust and Intentional Community, you can find them here:






Silent Rooftop Wind Turbines Could Generate Half Of A Household’s Energy Needs

Small wind turbines scaled to the right size for residential and urban areas have so far lived in the shadows of their larger wind-farm-sized counterparts. The power output has been too low for a reasonable return on investment through energy savings and the noise they produce is louder than most homeowners can deal with.

A Dutch renewable energy start-up called The Archimedes is working to solve both of those problems in a new class of small-scale wind turbine — one that is almost silent and is far more efficient at converting wind into energy. The company states that the Liam F1 turbine could generate 1,500 kWh of energy per year at wind speeds of 5m/s, enough to cover half of an average household’s energy use.

When used in combination with rooftop solar panels, a house could run off grid. “When there is wind you use the energy produced by the wind turbine; when the sun is shining you use the solar cells to produce the energy,” The ArchimedesCEO Richard Ruijtenbeek said.

The Liam’s blades are shaped like a Nautilus shell. The design allows it to point into the wind to capture the most amount of energy, while also producing very little sound. The inventor of the turbine Marinus Mieremet says that the power output is 80 percent of the theoretical maximum energy that could be harnessed from the wind.

“Generally speaking, there is a difference in pressure in front and behind of the rotor blades of a windmill. However, this is not the case with the Liam F1. The difference in pressure is created by the spatial figure in the spiral blade. This results in a much better performance. Even when the wind is blowing at an angle of 60 degrees into the rotor, it will start to spin. We do not require expensive software: because of its conical shape, the wind turbine yaws itself automatically into the optimal wind direction. Just like a wind vane. And because the wind turbine encounters minimal resistance, he is virtually silent,” said Mieremet.

The company is also working on even smaller wind turbine designs that could fit on LED lampposts to power them, on boats or in smaller bodies of water.

You can watch a video about the history of the Liam turbine from invention to field tests below.

by Megan Treacy / via TreeHugger

What Does Natural Hemp Building, Tiny Houses and Permaculture All Have In Common?



Andrew Martin is the author of the book Rethink: …Your world, Your future ( After waking up to the worlds sustainability crisis, Andrew left the high flying world of finance to move to New Zealand and start a permaculture farm where he now lives with his wife Beth. In this interview, we hear about his research, permaculture and how the tiny house movement provides insight into potential models of sustainable living.  Perhaps you, too, will intuit the link between sustainable living, economy of scale, natural building and permaculture.


Checkout this video of him below, giving some great insight onto which direction we need to go in terms of sustainability and how tiny houses fit into that realm.


Tiny Houses And Permaculture For A Resilient And Sustainable Future

Move Over Cotton, Say Hello to Hemp – The ‘Forbidden’ Crop That’s Taking the World by Storm



(Click on the image (above) for the original article.)

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

The Declaration of Independence was drafted on it. The American Founding Fathers urged the fledgling country to grow it. And the first paper was made from it 1,900 years ago. Hemp. It’s one of the most versatile and sustainable cash crops on the planet. For all it’s merits, however, the plant has also been on a “no-grow” list for over seventy years in the United States, due to draconian laws established by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Thankfully, that’s all about to change.

A Modern-Day Gold Rush

As one of the oldest cultivated crops, hemp has a rich and colorful history. Cloth, paper, food, building materials, fuel, plastic — you name it, and there’s a good chance it can be made from the plant.

Canada has fully embraced the recent demand for hemp and subsequently grows it to the tune of almost $1 billion a year, which equates to $250 net profit for each acre. Compare this with soy, the United States version of a major crop, which averaged around $71 per acre in 2014.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

“Canada’s windfall has been largely due to the American demand for omega-balanced hempseed oil. But hemp is also a go-to material for dozens of applications all over the world. In a Dutch factory recently, I held the stronger-than-steel hemp fiber that’s used in Mercedes door panels, and Britain’s Marks and Spencer department store chain used hemp fiber insulation in a new flagship outlet. “Hempcrete” outperforms fiberglass insulation.”


While Canada reaps the financial benefits of the plant, the U.S. still lags behind. In a step towards legalizing hemp for industrial uses, President Obama removed it from the Controlled Substances Act in 2014 — as long as it was used for agricultural research. All the same, a number of states are weary of the snail-like pace of the Feds and are taking matters into their own hands — by passing legislation to import hemp seed for pilot programs. But the DEA has been slow in reading the memo.

In May 2014, the agency seized a 286-pound shipment of Italian hemp seed bound for Kentucky’s state agriculture department. “After a weeklong standoff, a federal agency had to be reminded by the federal courts that the law had changed and Kentucky’s seed imports were legal,” writes the Times.

Cotton vs. Hemp

Political shenanigans aside, one of the most desperately needed uses for the plant involves the creation of durable and eco-friendly fabric — especially considering the damaging effects of conventional cotton production. Plainly put: pesticide-riddled cotton is an ecological and health nightmare. The crop requires massive amounts of irrigation, and is largely grown in dry regions of the world where water is scarce, like Egypt, China’s Xinjiang province, California and Texas.


The devastating effects of the crop are seen in places like the Aral Sea in Central Asia. Formerly the world’s fourth largest inland lake with a robust ecosystem, the sea has been reduced to a meager 15% of its previous size — largely due to irrigation required by the cotton industry. Compounding the problem, farmers are using increasingly more water on their fields in an attempt to combat the rising level of water and soil salinity in the area.

On average, it takes 1,800 gallons of water to grow enough cotton for one pair of blue jeans.

Water consumption isn’t the only issue with conventional cotton, pesticide use on the crop is notoriously high too. As the most pesticide intensive crop on the planet, cotton agriculture harms and kills countless farmworkers around the world every year. One pesticide, aldicarb, is particularly dangerous. It’s deemed “extremely hazardous” by the World Health Organization and a single drop absorbed through the skin is sufficient to kill an adult. And yet, aldicarb remains a popular choice in cotton production. Herbicides and chemical defoliants add to the toxic nature of the plant — all of which typically stay within the finished fabric for the lifespan of the clothing, and are assimilated through the skin. The same is true for bedding and furniture.

The Pesticide Action Network paints a bleak ecological picture of the crop:

  • Nearly $2.6 billion worth of pesticides are sprayed on cotton fields each year — accounting for more than 10% of total pesticide use and nearly 25% of insecticides use worldwide.
  • A 1997 Danish television documentary showed methyl parathion being sprayed on cotton fields in Nicaragua and Guatemala while children played in and beside the fields. It also documented numerous cases of methyl parathion poisonings in cotton production.
  • Fish in Alabama: In 1995, pesticide-contaminated runoff from cotton fields killed at least 240,000 fish in Alabama. Shortly after farmers had applied pesticides containing endosulfan and methyl parathion to cotton fields, heavy rains washed them into the water. The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries stated that there was no indication that the pesticides were applied in an illegal manner.
  • Australian Livestock: Australian beef was found to be contaminated with the cotton insecticide Helix® (chlorfluazuron) in 1994, most likely because cattle had been fed contaminated cotton straw. In response, several countries suspended beef imports from Australia. One year later, farmers were alarmed to discover that newborn calves were also contaminated with Helix, apparently because it passed through their mother’s milk.
  • Birds in Texas: A breeding colony of laughing gulls near Corpus Christi, Texas, was devastated when methyl parathion was applied to cotton three miles away. More than 100 dead adults were found and 25% of the colony’s chicks perished.



A Better Way

When we examine the environmental and health impacts of cotton, hemp stands out as a winner for a number of reasons.

  • Hemp produces up to three times the amount of usable plant material per acre than cotton.
  • Requiring very little pesticide or fertilizer, hemp is a robust crop that can grow in a variety of conditions/soils.
  • Water use for hemp is about half of what is required for cotton.
  • Unlike cotton, hemp actually enhances the soil. With long roots up to 6 feet deep, the plant aerates and breaks up soil. It also helps to clean soil contaminated with heavy metals, solvents, pesticides and gasoline.
  • With 3-8 times the tensile strength of cotton, and 4 times the warmth and absorbency, hemp is an exceptionally durable fabric.
  • Hemp breathes and wicks moisture away from the skin more efficiently than cotton.

Even with all the ecological advantages of hemp, the motivating force for industrial change always comes down to profitability. Happily, hemp covers that aspect too. Says Doug Fine in theLos Angeles Times:

“We’re down to 1% of Americans farming; it was 30% when our world-leading hemp industry was stymied in 1937. The crop is more valuable today than it was then. We should be waving flags and holding parades for the farmers ready to plant the crop that Thomas Jefferson called “vastly desirable.” I know I’m ready. To cheer, and to plant.”

Article sources

Previous articles by Carolanne Wright:

About the author:


Carolanne enthusiastically believes if we want to see change in the world, we need to be the change. As a nutritionist, natural foods chef and wellness coach, Carolanne has encouraged others to embrace a healthy lifestyle of organic living, gratefulness and joyful orientation for over 13 years

Through her website she looks forward to connecting with other like-minded people from around the world who share a similar vision. Follow Carolanne on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Lime Plaster; Making My Hempcrete Build Feel Finished

I love talking about hempcrete building.  However, it is a little leap for most, including me, to think of eliminating all the layers in a traditional build.  I get lots of comments like, how will you keep the moisture out without a vapour barrier?  Will the walls look industrial-like when we’re all done?  And my personal favourite, can you paint the exterior and interior walls different colours?

First of all, you want the walls of your hempcrete home to breath.  This is really important for the insulation factor of the building.  This counterintuitive measure is what actually increases the R-factor so you don’t want to seal off the building with a traditional vapour barrier or you actually compromise the efficacy of the hempcrete.


Also, if you take a look and traditional homes in England, where the climate is very wet, you’ll see post and beam construction with lime finishes everywhere.  Lime is actually a calcium based slake that can be crushed to a powder and applied as the smoothest of finishes with a little water and a fine trowel.  And yes, with some stunning milk paint, you’ve got a gorgeous finish.  Take a look here:

Lime Plaster 101: the basics

by Sigi Koko

Lime is a confusing term, because it can refer to various chemically different (but related) materials.  (Not to mention the citrus fruit!)

For example, cured lime plaster, chemically speaking, iscalcium carbonate…basically limestone.  But theuncured material that goes on the wall, is also called “lime plaster”…but it is calcium hydroxide to a chemist.  Yikes!

So let’s go through some of the basics of lime to give you a great understanding of the ins and outs of how to use it.

What’s the big deal about lime plaster?

Lime has been used for thousands of years as a fabulous binder in mortars, plasters, and paints.  It wasn’t until the post-World War II housing boom that quick-setting cement products eclipsed lime in construction.  Lime cures more slowly than cement, but it holds many advantages because it is a workable, self-healing, breathable, nearly carbon neutral material…making it a great choice for natural building.

Why is lime plaster aligned with natural building?

First, lime-based products have a smaller carbon footprint than their ubiquitous cement counterparts.  Cement production creates 1.25 pounds of CO2 for each pound of cement produced, whereas lime is nearly carbon neutral.

Second, and perhaps most importantly, lime is what’s called “breathable”.  Breathability refers to a material’s ability to allow air-borne vapor, ie humidity, to pass through it.  Think Gortex…water-repellent and vapor permeable.  The breathability ensures that moisture will not build up inside the wall system.  In turn, this ensures that any biodegradable materials, such as wood or straw, are protected from decomposing.


How is lime made?
(a little chemistry…)

  1. Limestone, shells, or other material that is high in Calcium Carbonate is burned in a kiln.  The heat drives off Carbon Dioxide, leaving Calcium Oxide. This is also called Quicklime.
  2. Quicklime (Calcium Oxide) reacts with water in an extremely heat-producing reaction, a process called “slaking”.  The result is Hydrated Lime, or Calcium Hydroxide (since hydrogen from the water bonds to the Calcium Oxide molecule). This reaction can be quite dangerous, so it is common to purchase Hydrated Lime (Calcium Hydroxide) instead of Quicklime (Calcium Oxide).
  3. Once Calcium Hydroxide is exposed to air (whether it’s in powder or putty form), the lime reacts with Carbon Dioxide in the air and ends up where it started…as Calcium CarbonateSo except for the energy of the kiln, the lime is carbon neutral.

Because lime plasters react with carbon dioxide from the air in order to harden, you can easily keep the calcium hydroxide form of lime in its putty form indefinitely by storing it with an inch or so of water on top of it (or in a completely air-tight container).  This effectively prevents the lime from getting into contact with air and thus prevents curing until you are ready to use it.


How is plaster made?
(tips for mixing, & applying)


For general lime plasters (especially on the exterior), I use 3 parts sand to 1 part lime (calcium hydroxide).  This is a great all-around mix that is sticky enough to work and cure strongly, yet with enough sand to prevent lots of cracking.  If you intend to work your finish to tighten and smooth it out, you can use a more “lime rich” ratio of 1:2 (lime:sand) or even 1:1 for very very finely worked plasters.


Lime putty increases plasticity and workability the longer it is mixed.  So the longer you mix it, the creamier and easier to spread it gets.  (Magic, right?)  I mix in a mortar mixer (not a cement mixer!) for at least 20-30 minutes.  Only add water (a small amount!) if your mix is extremely thick.  The plaster should be stiff but should spread easily, like cream cheese.  Allowing the mixed lime plaster to sit overnight improves workability, but remember to remix the plaster again before using.



To prepare strawbale walls for lime plaster, first shape your walls exactly how you would like them to look once plastered.  It is time-consuming to build up the lime plaster to fill in large voids (since it must be applied in thin coats).  Next, install expanded lath (not chicken wire!!) to cover any slick surfaces, such as wood…anything that is too smooth for plaster to hold onto.  Make sure your lath bridges across the wood and at least 6″ into the straw so you don’t get a crack right where the lath ends.  I do NOT recommend using lath over all of the strawbale, unless you live in a seismic region and your code requires this.


Be sure to dampen your walls down well before applying each coat of lime plaster.  For the first coat, this means soaking the strawbales until they are damp and the straw is pliable.  For each subsequent coat, soak the wall down the day before you will plaster, again the morning of plastering, and throughout the day keep the wall damp as you work.  Otherwise the wall steals moisture out of your plaster quickly, and can pop the bond that holds your plaster on the wall.



I generally use 3 coats of lime plaster for exterior walls or showers.  You can use 1 or 2 coats for decorative interior finishes.  The first coat can be up to 5/8″ thick if it is applied to strawbale, otherwise each coat should be a maximum of 3/8″ thick.  Any thicker and the lime cannot absorb carbon dioxide adequately for curing to fully take place.


I apply the plaster with a wooden float to create a well-shaped wall that has decent texture.  For the finish coat, I smooth the final surface using a flexible pool float.  You can continue to buff or polish the lime as it is curing for a very smooth sheen.  There are many highly refined finishes that can be achieved with simple lime plaster.


Score the surface of each coat (except the finish plaster) to create lots of surface area for the next coat of plaster to key into.  And allow at least 7 to 10 days between coats to give each ample time to cure.  (Also see the next section for curing tips.)


NOTE: I do NOT recommend lime plaster over clay plasters for exteriors in wet climates.  The clay substrate shrinks and swells depending on moisture content.  The cured lime cannot shrink and swell with the clay and so it will be more susceptible to cracking when used over clay plaster in a wet climate.  Lime can be used over solid clay walls, such as cob & adobe, because there is so much more clay present to absorb ambient air moisture without measurable swelling.




You want the lime to cure…NOT dry out.  That means it needs to react with carbon dioxide from the air before all of the moisture evaporates.  If it dries out before it has cured (and converted into calcium carbonate), the resulting plaster will be weak and possibly crumbly.  So protect the plaster from wind and sun until it has cured, and it helps to dampen the wall daily as it is curing.


Do not apply exterior lime stucco if there is any risk of freezing, otherwise moisture in the plaster can freeze, expand, and cause critical failure of the plaster.  The temperature needs to be above 40 F for at least a week to keep the curing process going.



Some nitty gritty details
(and where to find materials…)


Note that lime is highly alkaline, and can severely burn your skin.  Unlike acid burns, you generally do not feel an alkali burn until the damage has been done.  So please use full protective gear whenever working with lime, including elbow-length rubber gloves, long sleeves, eye protection, etc.  If your clothes get lime putty or lime water on them, change, so the lime is not in contact with your skin through your clothing.  I always keep a bucket of water & vinegar nearby to neutralize my tools, gloves, and hands as I’m working.



I use fresh hydrated powdered lime and then soak it on site from the very beginning of construction (ideally several months).  The longer you soak it, the creamier and easier to trowel your plaster will be.  I have had most consistent results with vertical kiln products fromMississippi Lime.  The vertical kiln operates at a lower temperature and so there is less inert material in these products, meaning they are very high in purity and total calcium content.


I ask for bags that are date-stamped less than 6 months prior to purchase.  This ensures the lime is fresh.  If it has been in the bag for a long time, it gets exposed to CO2 in the air and begins to carbonate and become inert.  Powdered lime that has converted to calcium carbonate looks identical to calcium hydroxide (hydrated lime), but when you soak it, it will not get very thick and when you put it on the wall it will dust or crumble.

Choosing the sand for your plaster can seem mundane and unimportant.  But that is not the case!!  The key variable is that the sand must be “angular”, which means it has a lot of surface area to bond with the lime.  I use “toothy” or “angular” mason’s sand for all three coats of lime plaster.  You can also use concrete sand (which is larger)…just remember that your plaster needs to be thicker than the largest particle in your mix (otherwise the pieces will drag around with your trowel).  Note that the color of the sand will impact the final color of your finish coat of lime.  If you want very white plaster, experiment with white sand.


Yes!!  Any pigment that can be used in concrete will work with lime.  The pigments must be able to handle the alkalinity of the lime.  Mineral pigments generally are fine, plant-based pigments generally will not work (they change color and fade due to the alkalinity).  In any case, do several test patches to confirm how much pigment to add to achieve your desired color.


To follow Sigi Koko at “Down To Earth Designs” and perhaps take with her in Maryland or Pennsylvania, follow her offerings at Sigi Koko at Down To Earth Designs.


Hemp Could Free Us From Oil, Prevent Deforestation, Cure Cancer and It’s Environmentally Friendly – So Why Is It Illegal?

This blog is actually an article by Marco Torres already published by “Truth Theory; Keep Your Mind Open”.  Click on the Image for the original article here:



Hemp is a tall, beautiful and gracious looking annual plant that can reach heights over twelve feet. Although hemp (cannabis sativa) and marijuana (cannabis sativa var. indica) come from a similar species of plant, they are very different and confusion has been caused by deliberate misinformation with far reaching effects on socioeconomics as well as on environmental matters. The reason hemp is illegal is not because of any negative impact to the environment or human health, but exactly the opposite. It is so environmentally friendly, nutritionally and medicinally beneficial, that it provides too many abundant resources which would make it impossible for powerful corporations to compete.

Historical Use 

Hemp is the most universally useful plant we have at our disposal. The history of mankind’s use of hemp can be traced way back in time to between about 5000 – 7000 BC. Remains of seed husks have been found at Neolithic burial sites in central Europe, which indicate that they were used in funeral rites and shamanic ceremonies. It is probable that at that time the distinctions between various strains were not as pronounced as they are today.

Up until and even during WWII, hemp was a widely grown crop, which provided the world with an excellent and most durable source of fibre. Since it is an annual with a growing cycle of only 120 days it can be harvested several times a year, depending on local weather conditions. Its biomass is considerable, which means that it absorbs large quantities of the greenhouse gas CO2. It is resistant to bugs and requires little agrochemical treatment. It is extremely undemanding and can be grown in very poor conditions and depleted soils and will actually improve the soil structure over a period of years. For many centuries hemp was one of the most important industrial crops which provided the fibres for rope and tough, durable canvass without which the age of exploration could never have set sail.

In the US too, there have long been numerous rules and regulation in place regarding the cultivation of hemp. But unlike today’s regulations that strongly prohibit any cultivation of hemp, less than a century ago hemp cultivation was not just encouraged, but mandatory, with hefty fines being levied against farmers who refused. ‘Hemp for Victory’ was the government coined slogan that fuelled the last big bout of legal hemp cultivation during WWII, promoting hemp cultivation as a patriotic cause.

Delierate Misinformation About THC 

Hemp is a variety of cannabis sativa that has a long history of use in the United States. However, since the 1950s it has been lumped into the same category of marijuana, and thus the extremely versatile crop was doomed in the United States. Hemp is technically from the same species of plant that psychoactive marijuana comes from. However, it is from a different variety, or subspecies that contains many important differences.

Industrial hemp has very low Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels, which is the principal psychoactive constituent. Compared to marijuana which is specifically cultivated for personal psychoactive use, it is nearly impossible to “get high” on hemp. Marijuana that can be smoked usually contains between 5-10%t THC, industrial hemp contains about one-tenth of that. In order to get a psychoactive effect, one would need to smoke more than a dozen hemp cigarettes over a very short period of time to achieve any kind of psychoactive effect. The reason for the low THC content in hemp is that most THC is formed in resin glands on the buds and flowers of the female cannabis plant. Industrial hemp is not cultivated to produce buds, and therefore lacks the primary component that forms the marijuana high. Furthermore, industrial hemp has higher concentrations of a chemical called Cannabidiol (CBD) that has a negative effect on THC and lessens its psychoactive effects when smoked in conjunction.

Industrial hemp also grows differently than THC-containing cannabis. Hemp is typically grown up, not out, because the focus is not on producing buds but on producing length of stalk. In this way, hemp is a very similar crop to bamboo. The stalk contains the fiber and hard, woody core material that can be used for a variety of purposes, even carpentry.

The two also differ in the areas that they can be effectively grown. THC-producing Marijuana must be grown in generally warm and humid environments in order to produce the desired quantity and quality of THC-containing buds. However, since industrial hemp does not contain these buds, and the hardy parts of the plant are the more desired, it can be grown in a wider range of areas. Generally, industrial hemp grows best on fields that provide high yields for corn crops, which includes most of the Southwest, Southeast, and Northeast United States. Furthermore, since industrial hemp can use male plants as well as female plants (since the object is not THC production), higher crop yields can result.

While there is virtually no THC in the varieties grown for industrial uses such as oil and fibre, governments have cooperated with powerful corporate lobbyists the ensure that hemp is lumped into the same category as marijuana. The primary reason is that hemp has too many abundant resources for fuel, housing, food, medicine that corporations cannot exploit. Think about how many polluting conglomerates would go down if hemp was permitted as a resource. The oil, pharmaceutical, supplement and constructions industry would need to radically shift their business model to survive.

Abundant Resources 

Hemp provides the fibre to make a durable paper – a far more sensible solution than the wasteful method of clear cutting old growth forests, or even the cultivation pine plantations that are ecologically speaking dead zones that take 20 years to mature before they can be harvested. Cannabis produces 4 times more fibre per acre and can be harvested several times per year. The first dollar bills were printed on hemp paper, your old family bible is probably printed on hemp paper and even the constitution itself was drafted on hemp paper.

Hemp has the strongest natural fibres, which can be used not just to produce rough cloth, such as sails or canvass, but also durable work clothes, like the original jeans. When the plants are grown closer together the fibre becomes shorter and finer, which allows for finer textiles. Today, there are some fashion designers that are experimenting with a wide range of textiles made from hemp for their stylish, trendy hemp lines, shirts, suits, bags, jeans and more. And, no- you can’t smoke them to get high!

Hemp fibres are also finding application as a modern building material, an application that has been spearheaded and exploited successfully in France. Hemp fibres can be blended with water and limestone to create an extremely tough, light-weight, natural cement that has not only excellent insulating properties, but also shows more flexibility than conventional concrete, which makes it particularly useful as a building material in earthquake prone areas.

Back in 1941, Henry Ford built a car that was not only entirely built from ‘hemp plastic’, but also ran on hemp fuel. Hemp oil, pressed from the seeds is also extremely versatile. It can be polymerized to create a solid plastic-like material, which is extremely durable, yet nevertheless is completely natural and biodegradable, which could replace plastics in numerous industrial processes.

Car manufacturers are again turning to hemp as a resource to provide light-weight, yet shock absorbent and environmentally friendly material for their cars. Due to the high biomass hemp would also make an ideal source of ethanol, the best bio-fuel alternative to gasoline, which is capable of fuelling engines without producing all those evil gases that are destroying our atmosphere and poisoning the air. At long last, some of the top car manufacturers are beginning to follow in Ford’s steps.


Some Facts on Hemp 

– Farming 6% of the continental U.S. acreage with biomass crops would provide all of America’s energy needs.

– Hemp is Earth’s number-one biomass resource; it is capable of producing 10 tons per acre in four months.
– Biomass can be converted to methane, methanol, or gasoline at a cost comparable to petroleum, and hemp is much better for the environment. Pyrolysis (charcoalizing), or biochemical composting are two methods of turning hemp into fuel.
– Hemp can produce 10 times more methanol than corn.
– Hemp fuel burns clean. Petroleum causes acid rain due to sulfur pollution.
– The use of hemp fuel does not contribute to global warming.

Hemp oil is of a very high quality and industry is using it in paints, inks and varnishes. In recent years the food industry is also discovering its virtues. Hempseed oil is one of the richest sources of essential amino acids and essential fatty acids, providing an excellent balance between omega-3, -6 and -9 fatty acids. All of these substances are currently being discussed, not only in the alternative health scene, but also by the food industry, which is searching for suitable ingredients to create so called ‘functional foods’. Essential fatty acids are extremely important to the proper functioning of cells. They play a role in reducing bad cholesterol and plaque, which is responsible for arteriosclerosis. Healthfood companies are beginning to experiment with hemp as a basis for a large range of products- from hemp seed bars, to gummi bears, to beer, to hemp cheese and many more.

Studies have been released that show people suffering from cancer have low levels of melatonin in their bodies. Also studies have shown that just smoking hemp can raise the melatonin levels in our bodies. So one can only imagine what hemp oil that is in a concentrated state can do to increase melatonin levels. Hemp oil promotes full body healing and raises melatonin levels thousands of times higher than normal. When the pineal gland produces vast amounts of melatonin, it causes no harm to the body but it is very hard on the condition you are suffering from and indeed can eliminate it. For almost a decade, Rick Simpson has been showing people how to cure cancer with hemp oil.

Both the commercial legal type of hemp oil and the illegal THC laden hemp oil are one of the most power-packed protein sources available in the plant kingdom. Its oil can be used in many nutritional and transdermal applications. In other chapters in my Winning the War on Cancer book we will discuss in-depth about GLA and cancer and also the interesting work of Dr. Johanna Budwig. She uses flax seed oil instead of hemp oil to cure cancer — through effecting changes in cell walls — using these omega3 and omega6 laden medicinal oils.

Hemp Oil Uses 

Every application that uses petroleum for it’s skin and hair products can use hemp oil as it is more beneficial and herbal. It can be used in many health issues as either a pain reducer or even as the cure for it.

– Since hemp oil is natural, it is used as a moisturizing oil which can be applied after a shower or a bath. When you massage your body with it, it nourishes the skin and increases the blood circulation. More on facial skin care.
– Hemp oil is used in cooking as well, though it is not suitable for high heat cooking. Along with giving a slightly nutty and crispy taste to food, it can be the perfect salad oil just in case you’re out of olive oil.
– Another application of hemp oil is it’s use as biodiesel in the same manner like other vegetable oils. It is a safe replacement for petroleum as it is non-toxic and doesn’t harm the environment.
– Almost all the forms of plastics can be made by using hemp oil instead of using petroleum as a base. As those made from petroleum, release harmful chemicals while decomposition, but those from hemp oil, don’t.
– Hemp oil can also be used in the production of paints as it doesn’t cause any armful releases when washed down from the drain and has very low emissions than the petroleum paints which are currently being used.
– Hemp oil prevents skin disorders like psoriasis, eczema, acne and dry skin. It is highly nutritious for the skin and makes a wonderful addition to homemade moisturizing blends and rejuvenating creams. (Read Andrew Weil’s article on hemp oil

The list of beneficial uses of hemp goes on and on.

So why is non-psychoactive Hemp illegal?

There is an old saying: if you want to get to the root of a problem, follow the money. This holds true for hemp. In this case we have to ask the question ‘who benefits from hemp being illegal?’ The logical answer is: the oil companies- and their share holders, of course. Hemp became illegalized at the time when oil was beginning to make an impact on the economy as a base material for many things that hemp could also be used for, including textiles and fibres (plastics), cosmetics and fuel. Obviously, a resource is more profitable if access to it is restricted and not every farmer can grow it himself. In an exceedingly clever PR move psychoactive marijuana and hemp have been ‘thrown in the same pot’ as it were, and a massive campaign has been launched to convince people of the dangers of marijuana alias hemp – a highly questionable assertion.

Although technically hemp is not illegal to grow in some states, it requires obtaining a special permit from the drug enforcement agency (DEA) to restrict mass production. These permits are rarely given out and require that the crop be surrounded by security measures such as fences, razor wire, security guards, or dogs. For a crop that has little-to-no potential to get people high, the current attitude is both irresponsible and draconian.

Hemp is the most useful plant ally we have – a sustainable resource par excellence, as some might like to call it. Instead of cursing it we should be grateful to its deva and use all its ample gifts to turn the ecological demise of our planet around.

It is not hard to see how immensely valuable hemp is and how it has the potential of solving many of our environmental problems, not to mention our health problems. Yet, we are continuously deprived of its benefits because farmers are prohibited from cultivating this crop. Obviously importing it or products made from it is very expensive and the high expense is a prohibitive factor to choosing hemp as an environmentally friendly alternative even where it is available. It makes no sense to import a crop like hemp, when it can be, should be and used to be grown in all temperate and hot regions of the world.

Industrial hemp could transform the economy of the world States in a positive and beneficial way, and therefore should be exploited to its full potential.

Marco Torres
 is a research specialist, writer and consumer advocate for healthy lifestyles. He holds degrees in Public Health and Environmental Science and is a professional speaker on topics such as disease prevention, environmental toxins and health policy. 


Prevent Disease


Hemp Bound … With Humour and Enthusiasm


Click on the image to learn more about the author and his exposé on the crop of the future

I’m having a right ‘ol romp.  It would seem that goat farmers from the mid-west are as  much fun to hang out with than an Anthroposophist discussing “The Philosophy Of Freedom.”  The latter describes my beloved husband, the former describes hemp philosopher and journalist, Doug Fine, also bound for the philosophy of freedom in a whole other way.

There’s nothing more delicious than a well-spoken individual who wholly embodies the “love of sophia” (literally the roots of the Greek “Philosophy”) in order to be the change you want to see in the world.  Modern day Gandhis are the kind of folk that jazz my world to the very nth degree.  His writing style is infectious.

As a Canadian, it rocks my boat tremendously to realize, through his words, that we Canucks actually outdid the States in a monumental way in an industry legalized here since 1998.  As of his writing in 2013 the bill was still not passed through congress to make industrial hemp legal to grow in the U.S.  It feels great to be mentor to our compatriots south of the border.

As Fine finds out over a journalistic adventure encompassing 2 years, industrial hemp holds so much raw potential.  We’ve actually become seasoned in Manitoba through hemp oil magnate Shaun Crew of Fortune 500 repute with his company Hemp Oil Canada.  Crew has taken a food loved by conscious health foodies and made a couple billion dollars from it by selling 50% of it’s oil and seed to a hungry American market.  Sadly, while dust bowl conditions literally plague the mid-western U.S., (totally unnecessarily as Fine sees it) due to a war on drugs where this innocent almost non-THC producing version of cannibis got totally marginalized over the last 70 years; only if the plant’s mother had been astute enough to give her seeming twin a different latin name.

If you read Fine’s book, you’ll find yourself laughing out loud as his philosophical hemp pundits run head-long into outdated political dogma as he tries to figure out how to free this plant, along with his truck from a Manitoba snowbank in minus 17 degrees Celsius in February.  His truck bed full of hemp paste for Anndrea Hermann’s hogs, a Missouri transplant herself with dual citizenship who obviously loves hemp enough to live in this crazy climate year round.  Meanwhile south of the border, Obama, needs to recollect some of his campaign promises towards sustainability.

In his interview with Hermann, amongst many Hemp-ites, Fine cites the fact that she’s teaching about Hemp at a Colorado University, checking THC levels in Canadian fields and also distributing Shiv for Hemp-Technologies just getting it’s footing.  Clearly, we’re going to have to be jacks of many trades until multiple players take the reins on the steep learning curve of this virginal industry.  Hemp building is just one other aspect of this remarkable plants love at second site relationship with humanity.

You’ll meet other key players who are also so hell-bent on creating an agricultural revolution with hemp, they will not only feed their hogs and chicken hemp paste (a by-product of agricultural hemp oil production) this EFA elixir from the Gods, but will wear the fibre so strong that their clothes may outlive them!  Their hemp bound posture to get this fibre to market as quickly and easily as possible to save a declining Ag. business while also save our depleted GMO raped soils. We’re all sending out tap roots to see who’s awake!

Fine takes a ride in a Mercedes Limo once owned by the Ferdinand Marcos (No, Imelda’s Shoes are not in the trunk) powered by Hemp Biofuel that needs to be specially mixed as the infrastructure for it’s full use was still at the virginal stage at the time of writing in 2013.  Did you know that you can feed 12 men for a year on one acre of hemp seed?  Did you know that the farmer who grows this voracious “weed” can generate $250,000 per acre with half the water needed by corn or soybeans?  Did you know that you can do this without any herbicides and pesticides?

I’m so excited to find out the philosophy and success we Canadians are already proving to have with this true cash crop that gives back to the environment out of an innate gesture beyond sustainability into rejuvenation.  It’s leaves sucking up a ton of CO2 (even after it’s become the wall of a home) and releasing it back as nitrogen to the soil, with it’s finger-like leaves, and its foot long taproots restoring stability to topsoil deplete fields.  This “Nebraska ditch weed” is what the declaration of independence was written on and the first US flag made from, never mind that it was grown by multiple U.S. presidents practically on the White House lawn.  No need to mow useless grass (pun intended)!

Doug Fine is a game changer with his book and his innocent awestruck path to know the true benefits of hemp as the beacon for salvation of poverty and strife for many North American farming families.  It promises to be the crop of our true salvation on so many levels.  Heck, its R-value for homebuilding, alone, blows my mind as it is ideally suited to this damp maritime climate we live in.  The capacity for multi-uses like fuelling the family shake to making the safest BMW door panels (naturally stronger than any polymer material) to lighter farm machinery that saves on bio-fuel hands down continues to leave me gobsmacked.  I can tell Fine is also more than a little blown away too.

The harder costlier part is getting in place the infrastructure to process this miracle fibre that frighteningly sets the duller blades on traditional combines on fire if one underestimates it’s strength,  This ropey twine of the future of ethical agriculture is beyond what most farm machinery can handle.  Fine’s book speaks to the how farmers will once, again, have to rally around each other to pool resources for making this May to August five foot wunderkind into a viable business like Europe, Australian and Canada already has.  We’re here for you brother.

Personally, I can already see the clear air above the petrochemical plants gasping in delight.  You combine this perfect, healthy breathable material called hemp shiv with some lime and water and you’ve got a whole happy off-grid home that lasts hundreds of years without even having to fire up the boiler to heat concrete to 300 degrees on either the Fahrenheit or Celsius scale. The shiv is just the stuff they through away, burn or use as bedding for farm animals.  Egads … please throw it this way on the next nor’wester!

The industrial age is clearly on a whole new footing, we’re “Hemp Bound” my friends, this philosophical goat farmer holds the keys to our freedom.  I’m right behind him holding the mixer.


Post Note Got Me Twitterpated two days later … as Doug Fine spreads the word about this article on Twitter.  Check it out!


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