Wednesday, May 29, 2013

HEMP: The Other Side of Pot

CC Liu, Seven, Wisdom Quarterly 2013; Anya Vaverko ECS Nepal ( 2004)
Forest of green: fast-growing hemp field/plantation, Côtes-d'Armor, Bretagne, France. Labyrinthe de chanvre au château de la Roche-Jagu (wiki)
ECS Nepal (current issue)
Hemp. Ganja, Cannabis, illegal, Bob Marley, adolescence. That is the image of pot in the West. But many people involved in Buddhist and Hindu Nepal’s natural fibers industry know, this word has a much better image. It is the basis of a thriving textile industry, which is playing a significant role in boosting Nepal’s economy. 
In a nation with few natural, export-quality resources and many unemployed people (as part of the design of any industrialized society), particularly in villages where no practical source of outside income exists, hemp and other natural fibers are becoming big.

Longer fibers make stronger strands of yarn
But the use of hemp for textiles is far from new. Humans have been cultivating hemp longer than any other textile fiber.
Its recorded textile use dates back to 8000 BCE when its long fibers were woven into fabric, eventually providing 80% of the world’s textiles. By 2,700 BCE hemp as a fabric and a medicinal herb were incorporated into a majority of the cultures in what we now call the Middle East, Asia Minor, India, China, Japan, and Africa. 
Within the next thousand years, hemp grew to be the world’s largest agricultural crop. It was the basis of many important industries -- fiber for textiles and ropes, lamp oil, paper, medicine, and food for humans and domesticated animals.
A superfood, cancer cure, and all around medicinal herb (
All of this should come as no surprise considering the fact that hemp is the longest and strongest plant fiber, twice as strong as cotton. Because it is extremely abrasion and rot resistant, it became the primary source for canvas, boat sails, rope, as well as clothing, military uniforms, shoes, and baggage until inferior and dangerous man-made petrochemical fabrics (e.g., polyester) were sold to the world as a replacement. It fell out of popularity in the west as man-made materials... More

Nepal is a magical Buddhist land of snow peaks, virgin forests, and spiritual seekers. While it may not be the land of the Buddha's birth as advertised, it is now very Buddhist.

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