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‘Hemp surging as an environmental alternative to other fibers’


Lawrence Serbin, Hemp Traders

INTERVIEW: A 31-year veteran of the hemp industry, Lawrence Serbin is president of California-based Hemp Traders, which he founded in 1994. He started Cannagrove, a producer of engineered hemp “wood” particleboard in 2018 after having researched such material since 2005. Serbin is past national director of the Business Alliance for Commerce in Hemp and past president and director at the national Hemp Industries Association. He served as chair of the California Hemp Advisory Board for the California Department of Food and Agriculture from 2017–2020. He is currently working to bring decortication, processing, and spinning facilities online to support the U.S. hemp construction and textile sectors.

HempToday: You have a wide, wide assortment of hemp products at Hemp Traders. What kind of products are trending now?

Lawrence Serbin: We have always sold hemp textiles, but at this moment, there is definitely a surge in the interest to use hemp as an environmental alternative to other fibers in textiles.

HT: You’ve mentioned that Hemp Traders now imports yarns from China since the machines don’t exist in the U.S. Won’t yarn from China always be less expensive?

LS: Perhaps. China has lower production costs due to a lower standard of living, so there is going to be a cost-benefit to working with China. And it is fairly inexpensive and environmental to ship things to and from China by boat. But we do have an opportunity to grow hemp in the United States.

HT: How is your work going with respect to bringing farmers and processors online to support the development of a U.S. supply chain for textiles and building materials? How do you see the investment picture shaping up there?

LS: Very well. We are growing our first farm size test crop in California’s Central Valley. The information we are getting this year will allow us to grow on a commercial scale in 2022. We have also set up a fiber processing facility near to where the hemp is grown.

HT: What are the economics of the hemp particle board you developed at Cannagrove? Is it even fair to ask, at this point, for price comparison with conventional wood-chip particle board?

LS: The first boards we made were more expensive than regular particleboard mainly due to having to ship the raw materials around the country to the factory that could produce it. The shipping costs were half of the cost of making the board. But when the hemp is made at a facility that is near to where the hemp is grown, it becomes much less expensive. And now with the higher costs of regular wood particleboard, hemp is going to be a less expensive alternative.

HT: What’s happening with hemp building materials in general? Do you see any significant movement in that market?

LS: One main problem with the hemp building market has been a lack of raw materials. Mostly we have had to import them. As we begin to grow more hemp in the United States for fiber, there will be much more material available at a lower cost. This will be what kick starts the hemp building industry.

HT: How do you see the arc of production for such biocomposite products going forward the next five years?

LS: I think we will see 2021 and 2022 begin to establish the markets for hemp fiber products and grain. After that, there will be a huge increase in demand with farmers increasing acres devoted to fiber and grain.

HT: Some parts of California don’t seem very friendly to hemp. What’s up with that in your state?

LS: There are two things going on. Some areas of the state have a history of marijuana production. Those areas are concerned that high CBD hemp flower varieties might cross-pollinate with their crop and lower the value. In other areas where people have grown for CBD, a pungent odor of cannabis around harvest time has had people complain. Overall there is overregulation of the hemp industry, especially when it comes to fiber crops, which don’t even produce a flower.

HT: When you started in hemp three decades ago, did you think the industry would develop faster than it has?

LS: In the beginning in the early 1990’s I thought we would first see industrial hemp legalized, followed by medical cannabis and then recreational cannabis. I thought this would all happen by the end of the decade. In reality we first saw medical marijuana legalized, followed by recreational, and then industrial. And it took over 25 years.

HT: Thirty-one years is a long time in hemp. You must have one or two heroes.

LS: There are a few people I admire. Canada legalized industrial hemp in the late 1990’s and two companies emerged to fill the demand for hemp foods. Hemp Oil Canada founded by Shawn Crew and Manitoba Harvest founded by Mike Fata. Those are good examples of what a professional hemp company should look like.

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EPA Awards $100K Grant To Support Production Of Hemp-Based Bricks For Sustainable Construction

on April 9, 2021

ByKyle Jaeger

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced this week that it is awarding a Washington State-based company a $100,000 grant to support the development of sustainable bricks made from industrial hemp.

Earth Merchant was one of 24 grant recipients under EPA’s small business innovation research program. The company’s hemp-based OlogyBricks are seen as a “durable, lightweight, carbon-negative” alternative to traditional construction bricks made of concrete or other materials.

EPA said in a notice that the hempcrete product “will improve energy efficiency and indoor air quality in single family homes and other architectural applications.”

Photo by Brendan Cleak 2017

“Industrial Hemp can be grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers, requires less water than crops like cotton or corn, and reaches maturity one hundred days from planting,” the federal agency said. “Hemp photosynthesizes carbon dioxide with greater efficiency than trees and can be harvested twice per year, doubling the rate of carbon sequestration.”

Further, the hemp blocks can “improve health outcomes for residents” because they contain components that are “antifungal and antimicrobial, reducing the risks of airborne bacteria while also being vapor permeable.”

OlogyBricks also fully produced in the U.S., “where the industrial hemp supply has blossomed following passage of the 2018 Farm Bill” legalizing the crop, EPA said.

This isn’t the first time the agency has expressed interest in the environmental impact of hemp. In 2019, EPA awarded a roughly $12,000 grant to a student-led research team at the University of California, Riverside, to support a study on the use of hemp as an “industrially relevant renewable fiber for construction.”

Also that year, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) introduced a bill that sought to modernize the hemp industry, develop specific guidelines and encourage federal research into a wide-range of potential applications for the crop, including as a concrete alternative.

On another related note, a coalition of former President Donald Trump’s allies had explored whether they could privately fund a wall along the Mexican border that would be constructed using hemp blocks. Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon said that the group was consulting with a Kansas-based hemp company about the possibility of erecting a hempcrete wall along the southern border.

Connecticut Governor Says Marijuana Legalization Will Be Decided By Voters If Lawmakers Fail To Enact Reform

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The Decentralized Human Organisation (DHO)

The Decentralized Human Organisation (DHO)

Welcoming Hypha’s Decentralized Human Organisation

It’s said that the next wave of enlightenment won’t be individuals but a group of people coming together with a deep, committed and purposeful vision.

We’re living through the modern day Renaissance, while simultaneously experiencing peaks of ecological, political, economic and social crises. Future societies will look back and say that the “Dark Ages” hadn’t quite ended yet.

The Dark Ages are almost over.

We’re at the dawn of welcoming in new systems of governance, thought and value distribution. Human awareness and consciousness is shifting from a local awareness to a global awareness.

“We’re not defending nature; we’re nature defending itself.” — Unknown

You are a part of this transition. Your awareness comes with the duty to bring your unique perspectives and gifts to this new paradigm.

It’s important not to have a revolution.

A revolution is merely a shift in power from one group of people to another within the same paradigm.

This isn’t a revolution for some. This is a Renaissance for all of humanity.

We’ll need to navigate this new terrain with impeccable integrity and dedication to this new paradigm.

Otherwise we may revert into old systems of exploitation and domination and merely walk away with a revolution.

The Decentralized Human Organisation (DHO)

The DHO is in many ways similar to a DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organisation) Except in that it places the humans that comprise it in the center. Opposed to trying to automate humans away, the DHO seeks to automate the majority of tasks to empower humans to more effectively and joyfully collaborate.

The old paradigm told us to show up, punch the ticket, appease the boss and generally do what we’re told.

In the DHO there are no bosses. You are accountable to your role and the other team members. But, most of all, you’re accountable to your purpose, your passion, your personal growth and your gifts.

It’s your responsibility (your ability to respond) to identify your gifts, create a role that best empowers you to share these gifts, then contribute to the creation of a new paradigm.

No one can tell you how to do this, what your gifts are, or how you’d like to receive value for your gifts. This is up to you to decide.

It is up to the other members of the DAO to decide whether or not to receive these gifts. But, it’s not up to them to tell you how to give, how to contribute, or what your purpose is.

This is going to be awkward at first as we learn to take our first steps in this new paradigm of self-empowerment and freedom.

We’ll need to exercise our atrophied communication and relationship skills.

Skills that we had as children when we — without hesitation — spoke truthfully, expressing our thoughts, concerns, opinions and emotions.

This new paradigm will require us to fully show up, wounds and all.

What you make of this structure is up you.

Success here isn’t just making (literally) money. Success is changing money. It’s changing how and what we value as a society.

Sure, there is enormous value to be made and shared. However, true success is a thriving planet, with a purpose driven society where people are deeply and truly nourished.
Welcome to the dawn of of these new systems. We’re building them now and Hypha DHO is a live experiment.

DHO = Decentralised Human/Holacratic/Holonic Organism/Organization

The DHO scales using nested (holonic) circles and breaks down decision making and role patterns that emerged from the practices and organisational patterns of Holacracy.
We use the term organism because the DHO is a structure that allows human collaboration to behave as the cells of our bodies do. Our bodies have no rigid hierarchy, no top-down control mechanisms but are able to coordinate actives on a massive scale to create an entirely new being — a human. The same is true for the DHO. What this new being looks like us up to us.

Are You Ready?

Overview of the DHO

The DHO: dho.hypha.earth (site)
Rieki Cordon

August 13, 2019

 
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From Globalization To A Planetary Mindset

It’s time for new cooperative platforms that address irreducible interdependence.

 

Globalization as we have known it is over. Kaput. As John Gray summarily puts it in his contribution to Noema, “forget it.” For the British philosopher, we are returning to the pluralism that existed before the post-Cold War neoliberal expansion and even the recent centuries of Western hegemony. This is the fragmentation that Chinese thinker Yuk Hui also talks about in Noema. For him, that means any new order will arise at multiple starting points, or bifurcations, that depart from the course we were on.

 

There will be many possible permutations, from Cold War and economic decoupling between the two great powers, protectionist trade policies and immigration curbs. We will see a patchwork of industrial policies aimed at strengthening national resilience instead of global integration. So-called “robust” supply chains that are partly global and partly domestic to build in redundancy as a hedge against political or natural disruptions are already appearing. While the populist revolt dealt the death blow to globalization, alternative political dispositions waiting in the wings have also so far shown little interest in resuscitating it.

 

What remains, and is irreducible, is the planetary. Obviously, the global ecosystem, including climate and pandemics that cross borders, qualify as planetary. The challenges here are recognized as common and convergent for all.

 

Thus, reconciling the centrifugal pull of ingathering with the centripetal imperative of planetary cooperation is the so-called “primary contradiction” going forward.

 

This contradiction will play out across a global communications web that has spun a synchronized planetary consciousness in which all are aware of what everyone else is doing, or not doing, in more or less real time. Inexorably, a kind of global mind, or “noosphere” as Teilhard de Chardin envisioned it, is emerging. But it is today as much a terrain of contestation rooted in divergent political and cultural tempers, including an ever more differentiating splinternet, as a space of common ground.  

 

The “noopolitik” of the coming era could not be more different than the realpolitik of the last century. Rather than solid nation-states in which elites calculate balances of power, noopolitik is a transparent endeavor open to all manner of connected players in a now gaseous global realm in which nations are attempting to reclaim sovereignty even as the solidity they once assumed diminishes with every passing day.

 

The ultimate project of a planetary approach, therefore, is to forge a shared narrative for the noosphere. This doesn’t imply some one-size-fits-all Leviathan-like order that sets solutions to whatever ails the world, but a prevalent normative awareness that a cooperative approach is the only way to make irreducible interdependence work for each of us instead of against all of us.

 

That shared consciousness, or “noorative,” will only take hold in the first instance if its foundation rests not on wooly abstractions but on the existential imperative of cooperation in such clear and present realities as climate and pandemics. In effect, this noorative would combine the Chinese strategist Zheng Bijian’s idea of “building on a convergence of interests to establish a community of interests” with the German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk’s notion of “planetary co-immunism,” as he explains in an interview with Noema.

 

This new order of cooperation, and the evolved consciousness that arises out of its concrete actions, can only be built one brick at a time through new planetary platforms. A “partnership of rivals” among nation-states and the “civilization-states” that are in conflict in some realms, but nonetheless have cross interests in others, is one such way. It can also be built through “networks of the willing” among both civil society and states so disposed. In other words, alternative, parallel practices and institutions will have to be built on another foundation than a U.N.-style “trade union for nations-states” in order to ultimately go beyond the lessening but still weighty pull of their inertia.

 

One example of this approach was embodied in the Berggruen Institute’s 21stCentury Council presentation to former Mexican President Felipe Calderón when he hosted the G20 in 2012 — the first time that supranational body tackled climate change. We proposed that while G20 summitry could set broad goals, it lacked the legitimacy to implement them across different jurisdictions. To that end we recommended that “a web of national and subnational networks should be fostered to provide global public goods, such as low-carbon growth, from below through ‘coalitions of the willing’ working together to build up a threshold of global change.”

 

Only once the trust- and legitimacy-building experience of new platforms that address climate and pandemics gain traction can that cooperative spirit meaningfully address other imminent planetary challenges — bioengineering, AI and the creation of inorganic life.

 

The time has arrived to stop regretting the lost illusions of globalization and start thinking of how to construct a new order grounded in the undeniable realities of interdependence.


Jonathan Zawada for Noema Magazine BY NATHAN GARDELS AUGUST 7, 2020