In This Article

It has become abundantly clear by now that our planet is in crisis. But while the heads of state dither over who should do what, it seems that there is no one clear way out of this mess. And for the foreseeable future, it’s going to be all hands on deck to imagine and create a future that is liveable.

Say what you will of Elon Musk (and there’s much that could be said), the man isn’t one to wait on governmental entities for what he thinks industry can do just as well. His plan is to harness the collective forces of altruism, competition, and a little good old-fashioned money lust to help suck the carbon out of the atmosphere.

The vehicle for his plan is Xprize Carbon Removal. Launched on Earth Day 2021, this $100 million dollar global competition aims to spur innovators to create solutions that can pull carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere or oceans, and sequester it both durably and sustainably.

The competition is wide open to any carbon-negative solution, from nature-based, direct air capture, oceans, mineralization, to anything else that achieves the goal. However, to win the grand prize, teams must demonstrate a pathway to durable carbon sequestration at a scale of at least 1000 tonnes removed per year.

And the solution must be scalable – teams have to model their costs at a scale of 1 million tonnes per year and show a pathway to achieving a scale of gigatonnes per year in the future.

Utah’s Hemp Blockchain thinks that they, in cooperation with FFES Environmental, an indigenous-owned environmental contractor, have a shot at winning the Environmental Justice portion of the competition through the carbon sucking power of industrial hemp.

The Hemp Blockchain provides blockchain verification for hemp farmers and processors that want to be able to buy or sell high-quality carbon credits. The services they provide include the ability to track and trace hemp provenance and quality, linking all participants in the supply chain.

According to The Hemp Blockchain’s press release, by tokenizing carbon sequestration information, they will increase the amount – and quality – of carbon credits available for purchase (to companies needing to offset their production of CO2 to meet their CSR and ESG commitments).

Here’s Hemp Blockchain’s Chief Visionary Officer, Clayton Turner, explaining the plan:

“Our hemp will be used in products like cement, asphalt, building supplies, plastic, and batteries. These products can last a long time, in the case of cement, it is an excellent carbon sink. The pyramids, for example, are still standing, if that rock contains carbon it would still be holding it. Better than a 1000 year sink. This gives us a huge opportunity. With our technology, the carbon we grow as hemp can offset many carbon intensive products like cement, while also sequestering carbon in the growing of the plant below the soil with regenerative farming.”

The regenerative farming part of the equation will be taken on by FFES Environmental (Four Front Environmental Services), an indigenous-owned environmental contractor associated with the Sucker Creek First Nation in Alberta, Canada. The company has a commitment to “provide resources and lands for the creation of sustainable eco-friendly communities centered around the production and processing of hemp.”

Aaron Pritchard, Director of FFES Environmental explains how this project directly aligns with First Nations’ values:

“We have a duty to ourselves, families, communities, and nations to consider how our present-day decisions will impact our descendants. We need to build a culture that respects the world and is thankful to the Creator for their sustenance. The Seventh-Generation value takes into consideration those who are not yet born but who will inherit the world.”

Whether the partnership between The Hemp Blockchain and FFES Environmental will sequester enough carbon to win the prize remains to be seen. But it certainly represents a promising step in at least one of the right directions we desperately need to pursue. In the words of Pritchard:

“The land is a living organism, we need to be conscious of how we interact with the planet. The Hemp Blockchain naturally aligns with First Nations’ belief in investing in planet and people before profit.”