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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 |

Some also claim importing bamboo would exacerbate the poor labor practices involved with bamboo production in foreign countries.  This is also a myth, and the truth is the exact opposite.  Like many other products in the past, expansions in consumer demand and awareness will increase the ability of consumers to require that the bamboo products they consume are sourced from suppliers engaged in fair trade practices.  This will further encourage U.S. retailers to require fair trade practices as well to protect their own brand image, reinforcing the effect.  Thus, increasing U.S. imports of bamboo will not only bring needed jobs to desperate communities with comparative advantages in bamboo production, but will also foster better labor practices for those workers.

There are several other myths about bamboo as well.  These falsities include that bamboo cultivation may reduce biodiversity by invading native ecosystems, that imports may bring unwanted and potentially dangerous foreign pests, and that the finishes and adhesives used in construction applications of bamboo offset its environmental benefits.  First, most bamboos only flower and seed every 60 to 130 years, and the varieties of bamboo that can be invasive spread rather than reproduce.  Spreading bamboos can easily be controlled in domestic farms with the proper use of root barriers, but the varieties of bamboo used for commercial production are the “clumping” kind that do not spread and are not invasive.  Bamboo is also naturally termite resistant, and U.S. Customs requires all bamboo imports to be dried and, if used for gardening or nurseries, fumigated to ensure no insects or larvae hitch a ride.  Lastly, bamboo products can be designed for installation without any harmful finishes or adhesives, such as all-natural tongue-and-groove flooring.  Advancements in technology have also made finishes and adhesives with low-volatile organic compounds available, such as the products commonly used to satisfy the low-VOC requirements for LEED certification credits.  Not so coincidentally, these myths are usually claimed by businesses dealing in products that compete with bamboo.  Consumers who care can conduct internet research and discover that these competitors are simply trying to bamboozle them.  These claims are bogus.

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under: Business, Climate Change, International, Natural Resources
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