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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 |

There are, however, several myths regarding potentially negative consequences of promoting the use of bamboo on a large scale.  For instance, some claim that importing bamboo is unwise because of the environmental expense of massive oceanic freightliners belching pollutants into the atmosphere.  First, this myth assumes that bamboo must be imported, which is not the case.  Bamboo grows wild on every continent—including in the U.S.  There are over 1400 species of bamboo with varying levels of heartiness, so bamboo can be cultivated in nearly any climate.  To illustrate, Washington State University conducted a study of bamboo’s heartiness in the Pacific Northwest’s mild climate, planting several varieties and publishing annual reports on the progress of each.  The study found that around half of the species planted thrived, according to the WSU 2002 report.  WSU is now advertising the sale of its locally-grown bamboo shoots at local farmers’ markets.  Nonetheless, it is logical to assume that some countries will retain a comparative advantage in bamboo production well into the future.

In the meantime, the environmental impacts of importing bamboo can be internalized, and the benefits of bamboo are well worth the price of importation even if those costs are not internalized.  There are intermediaries like TransNeutral available to measure, value, and internalize the environmental impacts of transportation into the economic cost of the materials being shipped.  The added cost of reversing these environmental impacts is tacked onto the retail price participating businesses charge to consumers for the products.  TransNeutral allocates the extra funds to carbon offsetting projects like reforestation and renewable energy, thus meeting consumer demand for inclusively-responsible products.

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under: Business, Climate Change, International, Natural Resources
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