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The Grass is Greener, by David Campbell

Posted by: | May 5, 2014 Comments Off on The Grass is Greener, by David Campbell |

The myriad of products made from bamboo these days boggles the brain.  For starters, bamboo makes everything wood makes—only better.  Most folks have stumbled upon the ever-popular bamboo flooring at one point or another, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  From paper to cutting boards to every kind of building material wood supplies—like framing, support posts, roofing, rafters, walls, beams, and much, much more—bamboo delivers.  Bamboo is far stronger than wood, has a higher tensile and compression strength than steel and, thus, makes a superior structural material.  In fact, the U.S. Green Building Council recognizes bamboo’s unrivaled renewability by granting LEED certification credits when bamboo is used in construction and building applications.  Bamboo also serves as a greener alternative for many building materials not made from wood, like carpet and electrical wiring insulation.   Perhaps counter-intuitively, bamboo is softer than cotton at the fiber and microfiber levels and is ideal for all sorts of textiles and fabrics.  In addition, bamboo makes great furniture, fences, and off-the-wall products like charcoal, musical instruments, computer hardware, bicycles, biofuel, paint brushes, weapons, cooking utensils, sugar, beer, alcohol, and even electric cars and hair spray.  Bamboo also satisfies many agricultural needs, like functioning as a windbreak, providing soil erosion control, supplying shade and decor to a garden, and serving as a primary food source for cute and cuddly pandas.  This list is only a small sample of bamboo’s current uses, and there is still plenty of untapped potential.

Besides being amazingly versatile, bamboo is an environmentally ideal renewable resource.  A popular misconception is that bamboo is a type of wood, but it is actually a grass—and it grows like it!  Mow down a crop of bamboo and it will grow right back to full maturity within roughly four to six years.  Bamboo grows so rapidly and heartily that it generally thrives without the use of pesticides or fertilizers in almost any soil.  Thinning bamboo only makes it healthier, and 20% can be harvested annually without any crop reduction.  Trees take at least 25 to 70 years to regrow, depending on the species, so the regenerative properties of bamboo far exceed those of trees.  Using bamboo products instead of wood can stop and even reverse deforestation.  Bamboo also soaks up 40% more CO2 and emits 35% more oxygen than trees.  Nonprofits like BioBamboo and The American Bamboo Society (ABS) advocate bamboo as the global warming hero of the future.  It is believed that bamboo holds the power to completely reverse global warming in only six years’ time if planted on a mass scale.  BamBOOM.

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under: Business, Climate Change, International, Natural Resources
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