This weekend I trugged over to the Barbican Centre in East London to help man the hemp booth as Aware, a new festival which managed to attract a few of the converted. Naked cyclists, hot women for climate change, and some even hotter women selling incognito mosquito repellant, which they claim makes you invisible. Can't wait to try it on Monday when I pull a heist at the local bank. I can dispense with any attire, since I'll be invisible...
Overall the event was a disappointment, though there were highlights, such as the panelist from Moixa. Sharing the panel with him was Matilda Lee of the Ecologist, and I did get to question her as to why she completely ignored hemp in her monologue on textiles. She replied that hemp was a great idea and we all ought to take a look at it. But when pointed to the hemp booth, she made tracks the other way, and we did not see her for the rest of the conference. Maybe she had on that mosquito repellant. Her comrades from the magazine were more visible, and I visited their stand several time, taking Helen James of Innocent Oils along, who presented them with her latest skin care samples.
Also quite visible was a booth displaying solar power steam turbines, these are heated by giant mirrors which focus the light on a tower where water is heated to steam. This can also serve as a desalination plant. The claim is that these towers can supply all the world's electricity needs, and I hope they are right. Presently there are few up and running, the oldest being the one in Nevada, operating for 15 years. The one in Seville has been noted on this blog before. We need to get these and other forms of energy going as the lack of alternative energy means that the oil companies keep raisnig the price of a barrel, even though it still only costs $5 to excavate that barrel. Eric Pollit of Global Hemp just emailed me to say that the tripling of the price of a barrel has caused people to be much more on edge in the US, but they do not focus their anger on the people behind the energy crisis, they turn on each other, or blame corn for the rise in food prices. Part of the rise in corn prices has to do with the weak dollar he points out, as that means more countries buy foodstuffs from the US. Corn based ethanol does not take the food part of the plant, as I have pointed out so many times to the zealots in the left who are not bashing any form of biofuels, much to the delight of the oil companies who want a divided left that will argue and accomplish nothing. 40 years of talk about wind farms, solar energy, tidal turbines, electric cars, ethanol, biodiesel, etc. - and what have we to show for it? The development is rather invisible, and not due to the use of insect repellant.
Also invisible at Aware was any mention of hemp in all the vegan cook books, the gurus of that industry continue to promote soy based foods, even though this helps destroy the Amazon, an inconvenient fact they do not like to be reminded of. Even Nigel Winter of the Vegan Society does not seem to be too aware of hemp, but hopefully he will and they just might publish some of the information in their magazine.
While hemp was hardly to be seen, cotton was ubiquitous, Lee and others are happy to promote it, but not so happy to hear that a cotton T shirt uses 2,800 litres more water than a 50% hemp T shirt. My source for that, incidentally, is Jeremy Smith of the Ecologist. Lee could not argue with that!
So this show, if it is to go on, will need real promotion next year, I feel sorry for those who rented booths and ended up talking mainly to other exhibitors. They will also need some keynote speakers, not just frivolous cotton wearing trendies. Next week I will be speaking at another East London event, I'll be on at 2pm at the Fashion Made Fair, where I will hold forth on the cultivation of hemp. I hope that I will see more people and that some of them will actually be wearing hemp!