The modern world is on a precipice when it comes to our most valuable resources — how to get them, at what cost, and what the long term plan for usage will be. We are all keenly aware that many of these resources are non-renewable, and that lives are risked and lost by way of powerful entities clamoring to establish control over them. Despite all this, there are resources emerging that have been tested and proven to be capable of fulfilling the same needs that non-renewable resources are currently filling, and then some. One of these resources is considered lucky to some: bamboo.
Bamboo belongs to a group of perennial evergreen grass plants, and there are more than 1,400 species of the hardy plant. Although it is often associated with Asian locales, the bamboo plant thrives in many regions of the world with variable climates, including Australia, the Americas, and sub-Saharan Africa. Due to its dependence on a rhizome system, the humble and diverse bamboo plant can grow at rates of up to 40 inches in 24 hours. That’s right, nearly three feet in a day’s time! A single growing season of 3-4 months will produce a mature bamboo stalk at its full height.
Depending on the species, bamboo can be ready for harvest anywhere between 3-7 years from its planting, which is vastly superior to the maturation of trees that so many industries rely on today. In colder climates, a bamboo plant may defoliate at temperatures of freezing or below, but the rhizome will remain intact for regeneration in the spring. A bamboo plant is already at its full girth within the first year, so there is little room for change in the speculative uses for the plant.
As far as speculative uses go, the possibilities are not necessarily finite. Bamboo has already been used in construction by Asian countries for centuries; examples include housing, bridges, scaffolding, and public buildings. Bamboo is such a sturdy plant that it can be processed into planks for flooring, requiring only treatment for insect and rot resistance. Furniture has long been constructed from bamboo, and water desalinization has been accommodated through the use of the prolific bamboo plant. Even textiles are created from bamboo plants! Merchants are turning a open eye to suppliers of bamboo textiles as a way to offer an all-natural (as much as it can be) option to customers seeking a more sustainable product.
Bamboo is no secret to those who use any number of non-renewable resources for manufacturing purposes, but the layman’s attention to the source is rapidly growing. With some time, there is little doubt that bamboo will emerge as a truly sustainable resource that will carry a great deal of construction and manufacturing needs into the future.