Bamboo Grows in our Communities
Bamboo’s Emerging Reputation Many countries claim to be concerned over their effect on the environment. Many countries and organizations claim to take interest in finding alternative resources – yet it does not seem to be the case. As far as bamboo is concerned, its popularity is the result of a bit of consumer obsession. Bamboo being made into bamboo rayon is providing one of the softest materials on earth. For a lot less resource, a sheet set softer than 1,000 thread counts of cotton can be made while using none of the pesticides. The benefits from this material are countless. Its other popular use is in flooring. It is seen as an exotic hardwood flooring option that is considerably less expensive and has a light and whitish color. It would seem that in the matter of saving our planet, the only people doing anything about it are the consumers. The Benefits of Bamboo Bamboo exceeds its rival resources in practically all areas. To name a few:
- It is the fastest growing plant in the world.
- It can provide 3 times as much wood per hectare as traditional trees.
- It produces 33% more oxygen than trees.
- It’s textile form is twice as soft as cotton.
- It requires no pesticides or herbicides during growth.
- It has a higher earthquake safety rating than traditional wood.
- It is vastly renewable and can grow in harsh climates and soils.
- The method in which it is harvested prevents soil erosion.
- It can be used for food
- It requires a lot less water in growth than does cotton.
And those are just ten reasons! Bamboo is extremely sustainable as well as renewable – able to provide resources for wood and textiles in as little as 2 1/2-3 years. It really could be the answer to all of our deforestation problems…worldwide. Some help on the private side of politics Some individuals and institutions are actually trying to make a difference. For example: John Naylor, an engineer, devised a plan to engender the use of bamboo in construction and growth across the nation of Haiti. His designs implemented bamboo as an earthquake resistant material to help counter the devastation that occurred as a result of the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti. His designs culminated in a low-cost construction system that would be able to be taught and used to the entire nation. And, since bamboo grows so quickly, large scale planting of bamboo around Haiti would allow the country to supply everyone with the bamboo needed in as little as 3 years. The economic and social benefits of his plan are abundant – now we just have to wait for the leaders to see if they will actually use it. An educational institution in California just took part in a Solar Decathlon, in which 20 schools from around the globe were competing to make a fully solar powered house. UC – Santa Clara entered a house that was structurally made from bamboo. Not only was their house a large step forward in bamboo engineering and construction, but it was done in front of many of our future engineers and leaders. Bamboo’s Future in North America A Chicago based company called EcoPlanet Bamboo has also taken an interest in the crop. It has started buying up old and rundown farms in Central America and South Africa for the purpose of creating bamboo plantations. With the high demand for bamboo products in the States, bamboo plantations will have lots of job opportunities for these poor countries. Further jobs will be created when the bamboo is fashioned into its specialized items. From flooring to paneling to siding to cabinetry to apparel to sheet sets, all of these products will require lots of jobs. With China shouldering the load of American demand, and the delay that getting products across the Pacific creates, it seems obvious that many companies will start to get their products from North America if it becomes possible. Bamboo Will be Cheaper in the Western Hemisphere With bamboo being grown and fashioned on this side of the world, a lot of tax breaks will attract the attention of retailers in the States. NAFTA and CBI regulations would give a great advantage to some of the poorer Latin American countries, and would bring a lot of wealth to their people. Conclusion It would seem that bamboo’s future really does depend on us. If you actually look at political acts against bamboo, you would see many cities and governing bodies trying to shut it down. With cotton being the long standing American crop – not many in power are receiving votes and campaign donations from organizations supporting this sustainable resource. But their supporters fall in the ranks of the cotton farmers and pesticides manufacturers. Indeed, 25% of all pesticides manufactured every year are used on cotton, but it is only grown on 3% of the total available farmland. The future is in our hands. The more decisions we make to choose bamboo and other sustainable and renewable resources over chemically overdosed cotton, the more we will change the world on our own. Bamboo is one of the most versatile crops in the world, able to be made into thousands of products, from the softest sheets in the world, to the sturdiest of buildings. It can be used as a good thread count for sheets because of how soft the material can be. Even though the sheets are usually around 250-300 thread count, it is still a good thread count, having a very soft hand and being very breathable. Bamboo can be the most luxurious of materials for us to use…let’s all choose bamboo.