As the world looks to sustainable energy and products to reverse some of the devastating effects of global pollution and warming, our focus must be directed towards viable, long term solutions for production of goods. In a search to find materials that can continue to foster growth on the planet but not decimate the land of nutrients plants and animals need to survive, there is a viable solution. Time Magazine and Newsweek identified that planting of bamboo is one of the top things American’s can do to help fight global warming.
Bamboo is a plant of the grass family. It is evergreen, very hardy, has an excellent growth rate compared to cotton and is economically viable. Manufactured items from bamboo are known to last a long time. This is because of the natural properties the fibers contain. Bamboo is considered the most environmentally friendly plant on the planet. This plant replenishes the atmosphere through its leaves by manufacturing oxygen more than 35% of its counterparts of trees. One hectare of bamboo eliminates 60 tons of carbon-dioxide per year from the atmosphere in comparison to its same amount of forestry in trees which eliminates 15 tons per year. The rate of growth of the bamboo plant is up to 35 meters and is able to grow as many as 1 meter per day; comparing this to regular forestry, which one tree, takes years to develop. Once the plants mature, and new shoots are produced it takes 8-10 weeks to reach its full height and about 3 years to mature; bamboo can be harvested on a continuous basis and there is no damage or lack to the environment.
Bamboo is a very Earth friendly plant
o They can grow successfully without any fertilizers or pesticides and they grow extremely fast
o Bamboo plants release 35% more air than trees and refresh the oxygen we breathe
o Bamboo plants can be harvested in 3-5 years and since it is a grass can be harvested again and again from the same plant.
o Its wide-spreading root system helps prevent massive soil erosion and keeps twice as much water in the watershed.
In an age of increasing concern over the depletion of natural resources we need to be creative and intelligent about the materials and products we are using to continue sustainable growth on our planet. Bamboo could easily replace hard wood trees for flooring, building (bamboo’s tensile strength is 28,000 pounds per square inch versus 23,000 pounds per square inch for steel) and other products to help maintain a healthy environment.
It is estimated that around 1 billion people live in bamboo houses and that trend is expected to continue with the need to search for alternative materials. Currently the market for industrial bamboo only reaches $500 million a year, but it is estimated to grow to $4-5 billion in the next 10 years. For the bamboo industry to survive, however, it needs to find large export markets.
The environmental benefits of manufacturing bamboo products are just one step in the right direction of reversing the effects of global warming. It will take a large-scale effort from all nations to reduce the output of pollution and to begin respecting the earth and its renewable resources.
Irrigation is none as the plant is able to thrive in any climatic condition. Studies have shown that bamboo is able to grow under the harshest of conditions and survive. This is one reason it is used for construction in the housing sector in Indonesia. The plant is able to preserve the soil at an alarming rate, as during harvesting the root system remains intact. This helps to keep the soil in place and will regenerate new plants, as well. The roots also bind the soil together during weather conditions of storms or hurricanes.
Manufacturing clothing from bamboo is done by using the Moso bamboo found in China. This is one of the 1600 species of bamboo that is found worldwide. The Moso bamboo grows on 2% of China’s forest population and is where most of the timber and textile comes from. The product is viable for garment manufacturing because of its breathability, softness to the skin, easy care, insulating properties, wicking ability, bio-degradable characteristics, and it is also less expensive than cotton or the manmade fabrics. This product is also able to protect you from 99% of the sun’s harmful rays. How cool is that? The many advantages of using bamboo products can only enhance our lives, and we need to consider the planet and what we can do to save it. This is an exceptional way of doing so, and it is cheap also.