Using Bamboo As A Natural Resource
At this point in history, just about everyone has some idea that humanity is consuming the world’s resources faster than Mother Nature can replenish them. Sustainability is something that is growing more and more popular. Some feel they should be good stewards of the Earth for religious or spiritual reasons; others wish to do it to be good examples for others or even their own kids. Regardless of someone’s individual motivations, making increased use of renewable resources is a kind thing to do for the world, and humanity.
Using bamboo as a renewable resource is a very common choice, and for good reason. Humanity has had a strong relationship with bamboo for thousands of years, as it has been used for everything from building bridges to providing food. Some people even make clothes out of it, but it’s getting a fresh look by many today who are hoping to save the world, or at least change it for the better.
A big part of the appeal of bamboo is the fact that bamboo is able to be harvested within a year to only half a decade. This depends a lot on the species, but that is far faster than most trees grow. Hardwood oaks need four decades to mature, and the world sees a million acres of forest lost each week thanks to deforestation. The versatility of bamboo makes for a powerful alternative.
Certain species of bamboo grow over three feet in one day. No other plant on the planet has been documented at a faster growth rate. Also, bamboo takes in greenhouse gases just like other plants, but also puts out a third more oxygen than hardwood trees. Finally, when harvested for a shoot, the extended root system can regrow a new one!
Once harvested, bamboo can be used for a tremendous number of purposes. A single bamboo plant can be turned into chopsticks, furniture, or even soil-enriching mulch. Manufacturers can make anything from charcoal to flooring to paper and even building materials from it. The fibers in bamboo are actually stronger than wood fibers, and they’re also less susceptible to warping from changes in the weather.
Bamboo grows everywhere from low-lying wetlands to arid climates suffering drought to high elevations. Bamboo’s versatility in planting locations, quick growth, and versatility in use has made it something war-torn, poverty stricken countries have used to stimulate economic activity after political turmoil or civil upheaval.