As appeared in Independent Media Center 12/19/00 & Kuro5hin 12/26/00 Author: Hempcar Crew
Hemp Activism Hits the Streets
If you're driving on the interstate this summer and you smell a
strange odor don't worry: You're not having a flashback and that isn't
a "doobie" you smell, it's Hempcar! The exhaust won't "catch you a
buzz" but the car is creating one amongst hemp activists and
environmentalists. It's a car powered by hemp seed oil and it will be
touring the country to promote drug-law reform and environmental fuel
Grayson Sigler and Kellie Ogilvie created the project to demonstrate
the utility of hemp to car crazy Americans. They are embarking on a
10,000 mile journey around the continent beginning in Washington D.C.
on July 4, 2001. "We've been pleasantly surprised by the attention the
car is getting," says Ogilvie. "The website is starting to take off
and we're getting a lot of support from the hemp industry."
The hemp movement has been gaining ground in fits and starts. Since
Canada legalized production of industrial hemp, entrepreneurial
Americans have created a $100 million per year industry manufacturing
hemp products. Americans can now buy hemp paper, clothes, bags, shoes,
and even hemp "tofu". However, the DEA hasn't exactly looked on all
of this with magnanimity. Just last year the DEA instructed U.S.
customs to seize a shipment of sterilized hemp birdseed from Canada,
apparently in the "interest" of national security.
Currently, hemp fuels are not one of the hemp industry's products.
There is not enough hemp being grown to make hemp fuels a profitable
industry. "If hemp were legal to grow in the U.S., technologies such
as pyrolysis would make hemp fuels economically competitive with
petrol fuels," says Sigler. "The emissions associated with the use of
hemp fuels are far less toxic than for fossil fuels, and hemp helps
remediate global warming by absorbing CO2 from the air while it is
Hemp and other plant based fuels are not a new idea. Prior to
prohibition in 1937, hemp had been humankinds' fuel and fiber
mainstay. "Hemp fuels have been used for over 10,000 years," says
Ogilvie. "Evidence suggests that hemp prohibition was foisted on us by
an industrial cabal who were intent on dominating the emerging fuel
and fiber markets. There is no reasonable argument for the prohibition
of hemp." The use of biological engine fuels is gaining momentum in
this country. Recently Joshua and Kaia Tickell made national
headlines with the "Veggie Van", a fryer-grease powered Winnebago that
logged over 25,000 miles promoting the "biodiesel" concept in the U.S.
With so many plant oils that could be used for fuel, why hemp? "Hemp
has been shown to be our number one renewable resource," says Sigler.
"Hemp out-produces virtually every other biomass crop that can be
widely grown. Most of America's energy needs could be met if hemp
were grown for fuel on the land used to grow grain for cattle."
So, can we look forward to filling up our tanks with hemp oil? "Not
in the next decade," says Sigler. "Prohibition has made hemp oil
quite expensive, and the glut of petroleum fuels exacerbates the
problem." All of that may change though, as many estimates predict
that fossil fuel reserves may be depleted in as little as twenty
years. "All of the research needed to implement these environmental
fuels has been done, what's needed now is consumer demand," says
Ogilvie. "We need to educate the public and develop an infrastructure
that begins with farmers and ends at the fuel tank." Considering the
American farm crisis and our dependence on foreign oil one thing is
for sure, this is a car you'll want to get behind.
[For the hempcar intinerary or more information about ecological fuels visit the hempcar website. http://www.hempcar.org ]
by The Hempcar Crew