According to a report of the WWF the destruction of ecosystems highlights a very close relationship between the diseases terrorizing the Planet today and the nature loss

2020 is for the world of agriculture and of Hemp a very important year. Climate changes represent one of the main challenges which the modern societies is going to have to face.

For many companies the climate changes are a strategically relevant topic,  which they necessarily have got to deal with.

However, the beginning of the year has created a very demanding obstacle to be overcome, involving practically the whole of the Western World, COVID19, a virus causing both human and economic victims.

A battle mankind is fighting, of which the implications at the moment do not allow to make precise socio-economic analyses for the imminent future. 

Let’s proceed step by step to try and understand, in this article, which could be the possible links between the Coronavirus, the climate changes, the agricultural world and the challenges of the future.

What has changed for agriculture due to the Coronavirus?

The Italian Government, on 13th March this year, issued a Decree which reads at point 4 of Article 1 :“guaranteed, in compliance with the health and hygiene regulations, are banking, financial, insurance  services as well as the activities of the agricultural and the zoo-technical agro-food processing sectors, including the production chains, supplying goods and services. This means going to work, while observing the good practices”.

If you are an agricultural entrepreneur, an agricultural worker, also just seasonally, there are no limitations to your working activities, as long as you adopt the security regulations and common sense, so that the work activity can be executed in a totally secure manner.

Virus and climate change

In the past few days the WWF published a report with the headline ‘the boomerang effect of the destruction of ecosystems’ in which a very close relationship between diseases, terrorizing the Planet today, and nature loss is highlighted. ‘There is an extremely close bond between diseases terrorizing the Planet and the huge dimensions of nature loss’.

According to the WWF the destruction of the ecosystems is the true menace, because there is a relationship between what we do to nature and the outbreak of pandemics. The same alarm was already launched at the beginning of 2019 by a research carried out by the Department of Biology and Biotechnologies of the University La Sapienza in Roma.

The lack of ecological consciousness, in China alone, has produced a commercial deficit of 7 billion euros with a consequent collapse in export; hence, the safeguarding of the ecosystems should be an increasingly more present topic on the political agenda and on that of the decision-making bodies.

The pandemic caused by the Virus and climate changes are related elements?

In the past weeks we have seen publications of interviews, argumentations of authoritative physicians and representatives of the world of Science. They claim that the issue of the Virus and that of climate changes are more than ever related.  

“I grew up with the risk of a nuclear war – the scientific director of the San Gallicano Hospital of Roma Aldo Marrone comments in an interview – today humanity fails to understand that the attention to the planet must be the same as the one we, as physicians, have for the human body. After all, viruses have been present on our planet for millions of years”.

Also Avvenire‘, a Catholic newspaper, wrote in an article dated 18th March this year, how the western lifestyle would favour the spreading of these viruses.

The effect of the Anthropocene in the viral emergencies of today

When we reconstruct how it all began, adopting an overall picture and not just a single detail, it will be clear that the pandemic of the coronavirus was generated by the stress the Anthropocene (the current geological age, which is highly impacted by the effects of human activity) has inflicted on the planetary ecosystems. It will also be evident that this pressure, more than damaging the Earth itself, will harm the existence of the human community as we know it. Exactly as we are witnessing in the present days”.

Which future for humanity and the role of Hemp

In these days of Coronavirus we are witnessing how nature is regaining the spaces left behind by the humans ‘forced’ into quarantine.

In Italy, in Milan, wild hares repopulate the parks, in Cagliari, the water, cleaner without ferryboats services, has seen various dolphins approaching the coast. The contribution of Hemp to this environmental challenge could be enormous. 

Many are the projects in which Hemp demonstrates its capability to absorb heavy metals and pollutants, without devouring the soil. From the Hemp stalk it is possible to obtain resistant and biodegradable bioplastic, to fight the perennial problem of plastic suffocating the terrestrial globe.

Each year 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the oceans in addition to the 150 million tonnes estimated to already be present in the marine environments.  

These numbers demonstrate that if there is not going to be a drastic change of course in the use and production of plastic, in less than ten years we could find ourselves with 250 million tonnes of plastic dumped into the ocean.  

China which is dealing with great problems regarding the disposal of plastic waste, some years ago started a policy of substitution of plastic with materials realised with hemp fibres, among which also car components.  

For some years now, we have been witnessing a growing presence of vegetal materials  in the building sector, hemp bio-bricks made, in the major part of the processes, with moulds in which a mixture of hemp waste fibres and lime is inserted.  

Today, many companies offer products of ever higher quality. Which are the advantages of the use of bio-bricks?  The first is of environmental character; they offer a great performance in terms of thermal insulation with considerable advantages on energy consumption. The second one is technical.

In earthquake-prone countries it could reveal to be fundamental to have lightweight structures which follow the movements of the seism. In Modena, after the earthquake, which struck Emilia Romagna in 2012, the first house in Hemp was constructed.

These are just some examples of how we could face the challenges of the future, including viruses and climate changes, which impose mankind to revise the strategies adopted up to now.