I think I have made reference to this idea before, briefly, but I thought I would take a moment to expand upon it.
We all know that the world is facing a food crisis and, hopefully, an economic restructuring. Canada has also been trying to deal with several flagging export concerns, one of the largest being the lumber industry. Timber quality has been decreasing as well, since many forests being harvested are now second or third growth on land which has never had a chance to recuperate its nutrients. Thankfully, pulp requirements are decreasing rapidly as well, as paper becomes less and less used.
Since we also know of the plethora of uses for industrial hemp, including seeming to be the most dietary beneficial of grain seeds, it is my suggestion that we should be encouraging lumber workers into industrial hemp-based agri-permaculture. Many areas left open by forestry could have the soil replenished through organic hemp farming. This supply could fuel domestic and export manufacturing of numerous hemp based products, as with the growing Manitoba hemp food industry. Workers now out of work in the oil industry could provide seasonal labor as well, especially with a return to manual labor including draft animals (depletion is likely to make this necessary). Similar undertakings could be made in other areas as well, since hemp is such a resilient organism.
It is my belief that such an impetus might also spawn research (collegiate or localized) into areas such as carbon framed agricultural implements (carbon sequestration for the carbon fad), and small scale biofuel or gas production using any excess waste products. During slave times, for example, some slaves developed technologies which lessened the work required by their fellow slaves, as written about in "Uncle Tom's Cabin". In a free system, this should continue to be the case and is likely to increase, although perhaps in a limited fashion due to depletion.
Is climate change likely to reduce the amount of areas where this kind of agriculture can be accomplished? Perhaps, but there will also be another benefit of this sort of activity. Hemp is a very bushy plant with broad leaves, therefore processing great amounts of carbon dioxide and emitting large amounts of oxygen for us to breathe. If water conservation efforts are undertaken, transpiration can help to regulate rainfall activity as well.
The goal here is not to replace the economic activity of the flagging lumber industries. It is to develop a new kind of economic activity to replace that failing one. It is to develop sustainable industry balanced with life, using responsible planning and wealth/resource distribution. It is not likely remove much of the danger facing our world, but it is a large step in the right direction...one that should have been started 30 years ago. It may mean that more survive the coming struggles, with the proper balanced mindset.
Better late than never.
3 weeks ago