Top Predators, Desertification, Hemp and Food Security
Continuing on the themes of permaculture and holistic management, I’d like to recommend for your consideration the fairly new film, “Lords of Nature: Life in a Land of Great Predators.” Here is an except of the film (clips of other great pieces Green Fire Productions has created are here and more scientific journal articles on the subject are here). This film includes information from the break-through studies of Oregon bio-scientists showing the necessity of wolves and other predators to the sustainability of an ecosystem. As humans presently function, we acts as profound disruptors of the natural chain of life and destroy that which must flourish to support us:
We have affected ecosystems in almost every way imaginable! Every time we walk out in the wilderness or bulldoze land for a new parking lot we are drastically altering an ecosystem. We have disrupted the food chain, the carbon cycle, the nitrogen cycle, and the water cycle. Mining minerals also takes its toll on an ecosystem. We need to do our best to not interfere in these ecosystems and let nature take its toll.
(from “Save Our Earth and Make a Difference (1997): Ecosystems,” accessed Nov. 10, 2010)
Our present way of living, our military campaigns and our continued oil and mineral extraction activities typically on Reservations, settlements of indigenous people and in the already delicate desert ecosystems of the Middle East, are causing and increasing desertification which leads to global climate change:
Because of our carelessness, deserts are spreading over regions where there was once green, fertile land. This is mainly due to misuse of the planet. However, the desert expansion can be stopped through anti-desertification projects, and better land and agricultural management. This will turn the deserts back, by making the soil stronger with the roots of plants embedded into them, and replenishing the soil with nutrients and minerals.
(from “Save Our Earth and Make a Difference (1997): Desert,” accessed Nov. 10, 2010)
In “Strategic implications of climate change: Water, desertification and weather” (Mar. 9, 2009), authors Theodore Karasik and Sabahat Khan observe:
The long-term impact of developments around the region is another story. It has been suggested that rising water levels in the Gulf, for example, are a result of global warming, but this effect depends on the extent to which sea level rises outside the Gulf. The Gulf is like a pond–at its deepest it is only 35 meters deep off the UAE’s coast–as evidenced by water circulatory patterns. If more water comes into the Gulf from the Indian Ocean via the Strait of Hormuz because of global warming, this may test how resilient ongoing land-reclamation projects are. Even a huge storm, such as Cyclone Gonu in Oman in June 2007, which caused a massive sea swell, might very well put these colossal projects under undue strain. But what may be a bigger problem is a change in rainfall, as Gonu demonstrated when there was considerable damage caused by rain run-off flows over land.
The thick dust clouds that engulfed the region a few weeks ago may be evidence of increased desertification combined with industrial pollution and six years of troop and vehicle movements in and around the region; they were not predicted despite all of the research and analysis conducted to date. Thus health security, as a direct result of climate change, is a strategic problem that will likely raise new challenges. This phenomenon also raises important questions regarding understanding the environment in a broader sense.
Alan Savory, winner of the 2010 Winner of the Buckminster Fuller Challenge, has helped author an effective approach to reversing desertification that is successfully being implemented in several areas including the US and Africa. You can read more here and here. Because of the properties of hemp, I would be interested to know how or when it could be used in a process to reverse desertification around the world. For instance, agricultural methods such as those of the Hopi Nation have depended upon maize, a domesticated grass or “American bamboo,” which appears to have spread North America in the pre-Columbian times and was cultivated because it was one of the few things known to grow in that climate. Given that hemp is not indigenous to North America and didn’t arrive until Christobol Colon made contact with the Taino nation in 1492, I could see how corn was the favored staple. However, apparently hemp can be grown in a variety of conditions as Arizona. Pest-resistant hemp, whose nutrition is next to the Salba seed from Peru, apparently can be cultivated like wheat but without fertilizers and produce a food with equivalent or better nutritional profile than either wheat or corn (“you’re no more likely to get high from eating the seeds than you are to become an opium addict from that poppyseed muffin you had for breakfast”). A lesser risk of food allergies exists as “hemp seed does NOT contain enzyme inhibitors that block protein digestion, such as those found in legumes (soybeans), grains (wheat) and nuts that cause food intolerances or allergies.”
About 30–35% of the weight of hempseed is hempseed oil or hemp oil, an edible oil that contains about 80% essential fatty acids (EFAs); i.e., linoleic acid, omega-6 (LA, 55%), alpha-linolenic acid, omega-3 (ALA, 22%), in addition to gamma-linolenic acid, omega-6 (GLA, 1–4%) and stearidonic acid, omega-3 (SDA, 0–2%). Whole hempseed also contains about 25% of a highly-digestible protein, where 1/3 is edestin and 2/3 are albumins. Its amino acid profile is close to “complete” when compared to more common sources of proteins such as meat, milk, eggs and soy. The proportions of linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid in one tablespoon (15 ml) per day of hemp oil easily provides human daily requirements for EFAs. Unlike flaxseed oil, hemp oil can be used continuously without developing a deficiency or other imbalance of EFAs. This has been demonstrated in a clinical study, where the daily ingestion of flaxseed oil decreased the endogenous production of GLA.
Hempseed is an adequate source of calcium and iron. Whole hempseeds are also a good source of phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, copper and manganese.
Hempseed contains no gluten and therefore would not trigger symptoms of celiac disease.
(from “Hemp: Nutrition)
In “Hemp Seed: The Most Nutritionally Complete Food Source in The World, Part One,” Lynn Osburn states (the bold is my emphasis):
One out of two Americans win die from the effects of cardiovascular disease (CVD). One out of four Americans will die from cancer. Researchers believe cancers erupt when immune system response is weakened. Pioneers in the fields of biochemistry and human nutrition now believe CVD and most cancers are really diseases of fatty degeneration caused by the continued over-consumption of saturated fats and refined vegetable oils that turn essential fatty acids into carcinogenic killers. And if this is not scary enough, more Americans are succumbing to immune deficiency diseases than ever before. Sadly it is ignorance of human nutritional needs that will cause this overwhelming majority of Americans to die slowly from these afflictions — the greatest killers in affluent nations. [..]
The best way to insure the body has enough amino acid material to make the globulins is to eat foods high in globulin proteins. Since hemp seed protein is 65% globulin edistin, and also includes quantities of albumin, its protein is readily available in a form quite similar to that found in blood plasma. Eating hemp seeds gives the body all the essential amino acids required to maintain health, and provides the necessary kinds and amounts of amino acids the body needs to make human serum albumin and serum globulins like the immune enhancing gamma globulins. Eating hemp seeds could aid, if not heal, people suffering from immune deficiency diseases.
Osborn goes on to state that this conclusion is supported by the fact that hemp seed was used to treat nutritional deficiencies caused by tuberculosis, a severe nutrition-blocking, body-wasting disease. Here’s what was determined in that 1955 study by The Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology and the Institute of Medical Chemistry of Palacky University, Olomouc, Czechoslovakia (the bold is my emphasis):
Inclusion of EDEZYM, oat flakes and other, more common dietary components, was tested on two groups of children suffering from tuberculosis in both prewar and war periods. Though no other medication was used and food was rather scarce, all children were considered successfully treated or improved at the end of treatment period. Dietary and/or medical properties of hemp seed deserve our full attention. [..]
As we have witnessed in conjunction with the other proteins, it is of great importance, particularly in the case of edestin, to maintain it in colloid state. From this point of view, our product EDEZYM (the name originated from two words: edestin and enzyme), was very suitable. It has been available on the market for a number of years, though was discontinued after the nationalization of the pharmaceutical industry, in 1948.
(from “Hemp as a Medicament (1955)“)
Please note that I have a glass of hemp milk in my hand and am sporting a milk mustache. !Salud!