Warm and Fuzzy

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Dedicated to Digging for Truth, Blasting the Myths, and Etching Reality in Stone.

We recently came across a small magazine ad for an aggregate company.

It’s just an average “PR” piece that talks very briefly about the importance of gravel, and refers to what the company has done to accommodate a “resident Osprey” by erecting a “nesting platform.”

 It’s the kind of “blurb” that most, if not all readers scan, think “isn’t that nice” and then continue to read through the magazine with a slightly warm fuzzy feeling in the back of their brain.

 ospreyad

But perhaps we should look a little closer at this situation to see what it really stands for, and what was deliberately left out.

 1)      Do you think that that the employees at the open-pit mine site saw the Osprey circling in the air one day and decided that it would be “just peachy” if they built a platform to see if they could attract that wayward bird to nest on it? Or, do you believe that maybe this was the natural habitat for the Osprey that was obliterated by the gravel company when they decimated the land to make millions of dollars? Do you believe it was part of the MNR license agreement? Or do you believe it was done as a show of being a great corporate citizen? You decide.

2)      Were there any other considerations given to the habitat of any other bird that may have been calling this area their home? You know, Blue Jays, Robins, Blue Birds, Swallows, Sparrows, and the list goes on… Or were they not part of the license agreement?

3)      We’re not big fans of raccoons, but were there any provisions made for them? How about a fox? Maybe a porcupine? Squirrel? Chipmunk? Skunk? Deer? Pheasants? Did the oh-so-considerate operators build them any kind of accommodations, or just plough them under?

4)      We really do believe it’s awesome that there are fish in the “lake” as it is called.  But before it became a “lake” it was a “water table.” How many millions of gallons of fresh water is lost each year through evaporation due to the water table being exposed so gravel can be mined and the company can make as much money as possible in their operation? Did the company do any kind of studies to show what happens when hundreds of acres of water table are permanently disturbed? Is this exposure causing massive damage to the aquifer? We don’t see any of this in the ad.

5)      And speaking of accommodations and “building homes for all of us”, how many residential properties do aggregate companies devalue in their quest for profits? How many homeowners have lost their life savings due to a pit or quarry moving in next to them? Why was that not part of the ‘feel good’ ad?

 In conclusion, we really do believe that “when done properly” aggregate extraction can be beneficial to us all. But we have a long way to go before we reach that “platitude”

Read the ad one more time … are you still feeling warm and fuzzy?

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Getting Stoned … or Getting Out of the Stone Age?

Dedicated to Digging for Truth, Blasting the Myths, and Etching Reality in Stone.

Hempcrete Could Change The Way We Build …

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When it comes to new and sustainable housing ideas, it seems to always be about creating a more efficient home in terms of insulation, lighting, electricity etc. Mainstream belief on the subject would have you believe that top corporations and government projects are working with the best possible technology to bring forth solutions that work and are going to be great for the environment. If that was truly the case, we can guarantee you that the whole world would be using Hempcrete right now. Haven’t heard of it? … Not too surprised.

First off, what is Hempcrete? Hempcrete is a building material that incorporates hemp into its mixture. Hempcrete is very versatile as it can be used for wall insulation, flooring, walls, roofing and more. It’s fire-proof, water-proof, and rot-proof as long as it’s above ground. Hempcrete is made from the shive or inside stem of the hemp plant and is then mixed with a lime base binder to create the building material. This mixture creates a negative carbon footprint for those who are concerned with the carbon side of things. It is the worlds strongest building material and is much more versatile, easy to work with and pliable than concrete. In fact, earthquakes cannot crack these structures as they are 3 times more resistant than regular concrete.

Since lime is the binding material, and the lime does not need to be heated as much as is necessary in creating concrete, a lot of energy is saved when producing Hempcrete vs. concrete. Jumping back to the carbon aspect, Hempcrete sequesters (hides or puts away) carbon because it is very high in cellulose. During its growing cycle, it takes in large amounts of carbon, which is then built into the structure. This prevents the carbon from being released into the atmosphere. A Hempcrete home can save about 20,000lbs. of carbon.

Hempcrete is a superior building material due to the fact that it is a very strong, lightweight and breathable material. When used as exterior walls, it lets moisture in without rotting or damaging the material. In a practical sense, instead of needing to build homes with space between exterior walls, which are then filled with insulation, you can simply use a Hempcrete wall. As humidity is absorbed from the external environment, the Hempcrete holds that humidity until it is ready to be released again when the climate is less humid.

hempcreteblocks

Over time, the lime used in the matrix seeks to revert to rock, so the material becomes harder and harder until it petrifies completely. This means the wall will last thousands of years vs. 40 – 100 like normal building materials today.  Another great aspect to Hempcrete is that if too much is mixed during building, you can return it to the soil as a great fertilizer. Since hemp grows to maturity in just 14 weeks, it is a very powerful, versatile, cheap and sustainable solution.

Other notable factors are that hemp crops require no fertilizer, weed killer pesticide or fungicide. The hemp seed can be harvested as a nutritious food rich in Omega-3 oil, amino acids, protein and fiber. It is considered a “super food”. The outer fibers can be used for clothes, paper and numerous everyday items. This truly is a very powerful plant and should be a no-brainer when it comes to it being used in a very mainstream way.

You would think that if governments and corporations were truly concerned with resource conservation, ecology, and the massive effects they claim climate change is going to have, they would begin implementing this solution very quickly. They would most likely make hemp legal in the US and start producing this stuff like crazy. But this doesn’t seem to be the case. Are they exaggerating about climate change and how much OUR carbon is affecting it? Or are they so concerned with their massive-profit system that they fear changing things?

Either way, something is up here.