Saturday, March 13, 2010

Go green and switch to bamboo..

By Jamie Rockers
Everyone’s talking about going green these days and although I have always tried to reduce my carbon footprint, all this talk of going green has made me want to do even more. Some people help the environment in different ways, whether it’s trying to save water by cutting down the time you spend in the shower, recycling PET bottles and aluminium cans, using cloth bags instead of plastic ones at the supermarket, or eating less red meat. Everything counts these days in the face of global warming, pollution, and overcrowding at the dumps and finding sustainable energy sources has become more important than ever.

In the crisis surrounding the cutting down of the world’s forests, bamboo has come to the rescue. Bamboo is actually stronger than steel if you can believe it, its tensile strength 28,000 pounds per square inch versus 23,000 pounds per square inch for steel. It is estimated that one billion people live in bamboo housing and the number is expected to rise over the next ten years. So for those of you who invest in the stock market, it might be a good idea to invest in bamboo! Sometimes, money really does grow on trees, or in this case, grass.

Some other benefits of bamboo include:

• Bamboo plants are the fastest growing plants in the world and can grow successfully without any fertilizers or pesticides. Some species even grow a meter a day.
• Bamboo plants release 35% more air than trees and refresh the oxygen we breathe.
• 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.
• Its wide-spreading root system helps prevent massive soil erosion and it doesn’t require as much water as trees.

Bamboo can also be used to make clothing, paper, textiles, musical instruments, and even bicycles! In China, it is used in various medicines and it is a good source of potassium. In many Asian countries, it is eaten and served in a variety of ways. In Japan, a bamboo forest sometimes surrounds a Shinto shrine as a part of a sacred barrier against evil. It also makes an important appearance in the Japanese folktale, “Tale of the Bamboo Cutter,” in which a princess from the moon emerges from a shining bamboo section. In ancient times in Japan, bamboo was seen as having magical power and even today, many traditional products in Japan are made from bamboo.

So it is clear to see that with all its amazing qualities, bamboo is something we should definitely be seeing more in the future.

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