Let's play a little word association for a minute. When you hear “global warming,” what do you think? How about when someone mentions “marijuana legalization?”
Maybe some of you thought about presidential debate topics. Maybe some of you instinctively thought the word “Millennial” and proudly smiled to yourself. And, maybe some of you just thought about how high you wish you were.
Whatever you associate those terms with, there is no denying they are hot-button topics. Whether you agree with the existence of global warming, or you're for or against marijuana legalization, both issues are prolific in our society.
These are two topics that will help decide the next leader of our country, determine the fate of our economy and shape the future of our medical landscape. And that's not all.
While one could lead to the complete and utter destruction of life as we know it in a sort of Armageddon-esque, nightmarish, overnight deterioration of the world, the other might just save us.
Here's how global warming affects our climate overall.
According to a March 2014 Gallup poll, 65 percent of Americans believe they will see the effects of global warming in their lifetime. Whether or not you are among that 65 percent, here are six facts according to NASA:
- The global sea level rose 17 centimeters in the last century. The rate in the last 10 years, however, is almost double that of last century.
- Ten of the warmest years on record have occurred in the past 12 years.
- Greenland lost 150-250 cubic kilometers of ice per year between 2002 and 2006, and Antarctica lost about 152 cubic kilometers of ice between 2002-2005.
- Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the acidity of the surface ocean waters has increased by a staggering 30 percent.
- The amount of CO2 absorbed by the upper layer of the oceans is increasing by about 2 billion tons per year.
- July 2015 was the warmest month on record.
All of this is due to CO2 trapping heat, which causes the Earth to warm because greenhouse gas emissions from human indulgence have caused an imbalance in the atmosphere.
Here's how global warming is making pot stronger.
Before we can understand how marijuana is going to be our savior, it's important to understand exactly how climate change is changing pot.
Weed is, well, a weed. That being said, marijuana is actually thriving in our drought-ridden, CO2 enhanced environment. Marijuana actually doesn't need a ton of water to grow, as anyone who has been fortunate enough to smoke ditchweed knows.
Also, the active ingredient in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is actually produced as a pest repellent. In other words, when the plant is stressed, it produces more THC.
Marijuana can survive in the dry environment we humans have created, and because the plant is stressed, it will produce more THC, making the potency of the plant, and you, higher.
So, what about the CO2? Plants feed off that sh*t, right? Well, to find out, let's go back -- like, way back.
Most plants evolved during a time when the standard CO2 concentration was much higher, at 1,000 parts per million. We as people, however, evolved when CO2 levels were about 280 parts per million, an ideal level for human life.
We thrived, but the plants never really adapted to the lower CO2 levels.
Now, because humans have become accustomed to a lifestyle which necessitates cutting down all of the trees while simultaneously burning off our fossil fuels, we are pumping CO2 back into the atmosphere at unprecedented levels.
In fact, the current level of CO2 in the atmosphere is about 400 parts per million.
A whole lot of really smart people tested marijuana in this environment and came to the conclusion that weed does, in fact, thrive in this level of CO2. So, as the temperature of our world rises, so does our THC content.
Hey, at least we'll be super stoned when we are all living on the beaches of Minneapolis.
Here's how cannabis is helping change the world.
While marijuana growth will continue to thrive in our current bleak conditions, we humans will not.
The Earth's temperature is rising at a dangerous rate, and there will never again be a time when the phrase "climate change" won't evoke a "Mad Max"-type world where water is a delicacy people kill for, and we all have super cool, flame-throwing cars.
Hemp, however, might just save us from blinding sandstorms and pale, zombie-like bodies. Plus, we can probably still have those super cool cars; they will just run on hemp oil.
Hemp can be converted into biofuel, eliminating our reliance on gasoline in the future, which would, in turn, reduce our CO2 emissions drastically, as transportation is the second largest source of CO2 emissions. How drastically?
Well, according to the EPA, CO2 accounted for 82 percent of all US greenhouse gas emissions from human activities, and transportation accounted for 31 percent of that.
The average car emits about six tons of CO2 every year, and the United States gasoline and diesel emissions are about 6.5 million metric tons.
While it may not bring us back down to the 280 parts per million CO2 levels we used to be at, it's a great place to start.
Aside from transportation, according to NationOfChange.org, liquid petroleum gases (LPG) and natural gas liquids were used to make plastic products in 2010, all of which could be replaced by help oil, which would make these new hemp-plastics 100 percent recyclable and biodegradable.
So, what do we choose: being super high or living in a non-post-apocalyptic world?
For once, we can have our pot brownies and eat them too.
The nice thing about science, technology and botany is we've figured out a way to grow weed indoors. And, as someone wise once said,
I'd rather have my weed grown indoors than live my entire life indoors because global warming has caused us to live in a cave like mole people on our beach front property in the Midwest somewhere.
This post was originally written by Rebecca Hourselt for Stoned Girls.