PRIME Minister Gordon Brown yesterday told millions of families hit by the soaring costs of running a car in the United Kingdom, or running a domestic heating or cooking system in rural regions, that high oil prices were a long-term global issue that could not be tackled by Britain alone, but some disagree.
Chancellor Alistair Darling has once again assured voters he will "take another look" at a proposed 2p fuel price rise which is set to come into being from October 2008, but seriously is 2p enough? Is NOT increasing the price of fuel the bait needed to win back a million (or two) voters? Hardly.
Only a couple of days ago, members of the UK road haulage industry threatened to blockade oil refinery's and ports unless the government managed to find a 20p-25p essential user rebate for the transport sector, in 7 days. An industry which has borne the brunt of the last decade + of Labour rule has decided clearly, enough is enough.
Isn't it about time we as a nation looked to break our dependency on the petroleum industry, by investigating the other alternatives? There are a few.
Around the world and the price of oil, which has hit an all time high of almost $140 dollars a barrel, (up from $70 a barrel only 18 months ago) is a major political talking point. Not least of which within the walls of our own Home Office.
At a time when Gordon Brown is said to be "cold-calling" Labour voters in their homes to "discuss policy", he needs to come up with a solution which is going to turn heads, in a bid to win back some of the millions of voters, fickle beasts that they are, who have changed allegiances recently, and given the Conservative party a 40 point lead in the polls.
A margin not seen since John Major lost the tories power to a Labour landslide at the start of this current term of power.
But what goes around comes around and the Conservatives have turned the tide, aided no doubt by Gordon Brown's personal popularity, which is lower than any other Prime Minister in the history of Prime Ministers.
Mr Darling said: “If you look at the problems we face now, the big effort must be, firstly, trying to get oil prices down and secondly – and I’ve made this clear before – I intend to come back to the issue of the fuel tax increase that will be due this October."
We're listening Mr Darling, but try as we may, we simply do not see how a struggling Labour party who it seems, are unable to save themselves, is going to cure the oil price, which as you have already mentioned is set at a global level? So whilst it appears you're saying all the right things, the effectiveness; the actual possibility of anything constructive happening as a result of your comments, is less than "no chance".
So whats the alternative?
Hemp, or "cannabis hemp" to give it its proper title.
Hemp as a Fuel Alternative
Biofuels such as biodiesel and alcohol fuel can be made from the oils in hemp seeds and stalks, and the fermentation of the plant as a whole, respectively. The energy from hemp may be high based on acreage or weight, but can be low based on the volume of the light weight harvested hemp. It does, however, produce more energy per acre per year than corn, sugar, flax, or any other crop currently grown for ethanol or biodiesel.
Henry Ford grew industrial hemp on his estate after 1937, possibly to prove the cheapness of methanol production at Iron Mountain. He made plastic cars with wheat straw, hemp and sisal. (Popular Mechanics, Dec. 1941, "Pinch Hitters for Defense.") In 1892, Rudolph Diesel invented the diesel engine, which he intended to fuel "by a variety of fuels, especially vegetable and seed oils.
Hemp was outlawed early in the 20th century, as a by-product of cannabis prohibition. Its said the DuPont Petroleum Company was at the forefront of the movement to outlaw cannabis, in a bid to protect its new investments in the United States newly established oil fields.
The technology existed even then, which made it possible to run a motor car using the hemp plant as fuel, and Olivier DuPont knew hemp would become a viable alternative to petrol (gasoline). So the die was cast and along with a number of other prominent industrialists of the time, representing the timber industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the Press as well as the petroleum industry and the US Treasury, they threw their collective weight (and financial clout) into outlawing hemp and cannabis together.
Make no bones about it. There was no talk of "public health" when cannabis was outlawed!
Today we're picking up the pieces of that public lie, with global warming as a result of greenhouse gases. With higher oil prices, which the oil industry has carte blanche to set as it see's fit. And with every country in the world losing more of its citizens to alcohol related deaths than they do to the entire illicit drugs catalog put together.
In short, the situation we find ourselves in today, is as a result of the greed of a few industrialists, and perhaps one of the most surprising reasons cannabis remains illegal today, is as a result of the Petroleum Industry that so desperately seeks the public's "understanding" today.
The petroleum by-products market is one of the few which could give the alcohol and tobacco industry's a run for their money or even exceed them.
Every single man-made fibre we wear, or walk on, or sit on, we drive in, we fly in, we eat from, we cook with etc, is a by-product of the petroleum industry, and as such, has a nett "worth" for every barrel of crude oil used to produce it.
Ever since man made fibre's and plastic were invented a little over 80-90 years ago, (around the time of cannabis prohibition, surprisingly enough) they've taken over in our homes, offices and factories.
But here's a fact you probably didn't realise. Almost every piece of plastic ever manufactured, still exists in one form or another, apart from a very small amount which has been incinerated.
Sure a lot of it is in a hole in the ground somewhere.
Bulking up landfill sites it may be, but it still "exists".
A huge percentage of it is floating around the Pacific Ocean in phenomena called "The Eastern Garbage patch" or the "North Pacific Gyre".
"The North Pacific Gyre (also known as the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre) is a swirling vortex of ocean currents comprising most of the northern Pacific Ocean.
It is located between the equator and 50º N latitude and occupies an area of approximately ten million square miles (34 million km²)."
The centre of the North Pacific Gyre is relatively stationary region of the Pacific Ocean (the area it occupies is often referred to as the horse latitudes) and the circular rotation around it draws waste material in.
This has led to the accumulation of flotsam and other debris in huge floating 'clouds' of waste which have taken on informal names, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the Eastern Garbage Patch or the Pacific Trash Vortex.
While historically this debris has biodegraded, the gyre is now accumulating vast quantities of plastic and marine debris.
Rather than biodegrading, plastic photodegrades, disintegrating in the ocean into smaller and smaller pieces. These pieces, still polymers, eventually become individual molecules, which are still not easily digested.
Some plastics photodegrade into other pollutants.
The floating particles also resemble zooplankton, which can lead to them being consumed by jellyfish, thus entering the ocean food chain.
In samples taken from the gyre in 2001, the mass of plastic exceeded that of zooplankton (the dominant animalian life in the area) by a factor of six. Many of these long-lasting pieces end up in the stomachs of marine birds and animals."
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is said to cover an area twice the size of Texas and every single one of us, no matter where we live on the planet, add's to this when we dispose of our plastic products.
Its an ecological disaster, quite literally "fuelled" by the petroleum industry, and one which never needed to happen in the first place, but for the fact hemp was outlawed at the same time as cannabis.
Hemp is a hugely useful commodity which we are not allowed to grow because it is a distant cousin to the much maligned cannabis plant.
Yet in countries around the world such as The Phillipines and Canada, hemp is grown, and sold to the UK and the United States under cannabis prohibition.
Hemp is a multi-billion dollar global industry which we are not allowed to take part in by law. But by planting hemp crops on available farm land which is otherwise left to pasture, by growing it alongside existing crops, we could not only solve our addiction to petroleum products, but also reduce carbon dioxide levels, whilst setting up an entire new multi-billion pound British industry which as yet, doesn't exist. So whats the hold-up?
Hemp has many uses to us as a civilisation. Not least of which is the inherent strength the hemp fibre maintains, making it ideal for many different applications including rope, twine, clothing, fabrics of all descriptions including being built into the interior of luxury motor cars including Mercedes and BMW.
As a food source the hemp seed contains the fullest spectrum of essential omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids which the body needs to function properly but don't take my word for it.
If you are looking for a complete food supplement to feed your children, ask at your local health food shop about the benefits of whole, shelled hemp seed.
Running through the centre of the hemp stalk is a material which is composed of 100% cellulose, or plastic, in its naturally occurring raw form.
With an absolute minimum of processing this cellulose core can be harvested and turned into any plastic object you can think of, or that you may use today, without the need for oil derricks or platforms and as a result the hemp plant is the only real alternative to our addiction to fossil fuels.
As if that wasn't reason enough to demand the UK grows hemp wholesale and as soon as possible, there's another reason you should know about.
Carbon Dioxide - Primary "Greenhouse" Gas
When it grows, hemp sequesters literally hundreds of tonnes of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, per hectare of hemp grown.
Here's the science;
Plants grow by using the process of photo-synthesis.
That is, active radiation (sunlight) falls upon the leaves of the plant, and the nutrients which are transported up from the routes via the internal distribution system, "photo-synthesize" these nutrients into sugars and starch's, which the plant uses to feed itself, but there's one important feature ingredient missing at this stage.
As you will no doubt be aware, everything which exists, does so as a result of carbon, and hemp loves carbon, which it uses as the building blocks to actually build itself. Lots of it too.
If we as a planet were to undertake a 10 year program of growing hemp we could reduce the rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere drastically, bringing our impending ecological disaster firmly into check, and all as a result of growing a single species of plant. FACT!
All of which begs the question, why does cannabis (and hemp) remain illegal in the United Kingdom?
With the reclassification of cannabis back to a Class B substance, many thousands of British citizens will be imprisoned, and suffer the stigma of having a criminal record to contend with for the rest of their lives, and on what grounds?
Certainly not on the grounds of public health! The current policies concerning alcohol and tobacco, and the millions of deaths which have resulted to date disprove that theory once and for all.
The fact is, cannabis and hemp are illegal as a result of industry. At the whim of a few once powerful men.
Big business, which is set to lose trillions of pounds sterling as a result of people shifting over to more ecologically sound living and working practices and with support of the public, we can bring pressure to bear on governments around the world, to do away with ecologically unsound practices of drilling holes in the earth's crust and extracting the black stinking mess that is crude oil, because the fact is we don't need it anymore.
Whats this got to do with the legal status of cannabis in the UK?
It has everything to do with it and any politician, or high ranking police officer who stands in the way of this, whilst lying about "public health" or "social issues", should be removed from office at the earliest possible convenience, as for the sake of a few large industrialists they are commiting crimes against humanity.
Crimes which could be stopped today, but for having the balls to make a few tough decisions.
Taxi for Mr Brown?