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According to a Philippine creation myth, the first man and woman were made from a bamboo plant, which grew from the marriage between Sky and Ocean. Bamboo plays a central role in hundreds of myths and legends around the globe. And nearly all of them acknowledge the interdependence this most amazing and useful of plants enjoys with the air (Sky) and water (Ocean), two elements essential for life.

In this issue of Green Shoots, we’re highlighting bamboo’s ability to cleanse and purify air and water, and contribute to the renewed health of planet Earth.

Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on EARTH::

Bamboo forests cover nearly 35 million acres of the Earth’s surface. While the trees that make up deciduous and conifer forests can take 30 to 50 years to regenerate after harvesting, bamboo requires just six months to mature. And the root systems in a bamboo forest remain alive and vigilant against erosion, even while the young, tender shoots are first re-emerging.

CALI BAMBOO TIP: Accent the earth around your home with a renewable resource – a beautiful bamboo fence. Use a darker-colored bamboo around the edges of each panel to create a picture frame look. Many people are surprised to learn that bamboo fences can last 20 years or more, even in harsh climates. They’re strong, but as Cali Bamboo customers in Hurricane Alley have shown us, flexible enough to stand up to a fierce gale.

::Bamboo cleans the AIR:: 
All plants take in carbon dioxide (CO2) and emit oxygen (O2), which cleans the air and on a large enough scale, could reverse global warming. But bamboo, technically a grass, removes more carbon dioxide than most trees because of its exceptionally fast growth. Planting more bamboo around the globe is a viable tactic for slowing climate change.Botanists say bamboo absorbs 4 times more carbon dioxide than trees similar in size but can also produce 30%-40% more oxygen. By using bamboo as the basis for many new products, not only do we save traditional forests but we also promote vast planting of this wondrous grass.

::FIRE-proof bamboo:: 
People have flocked to Madrid for centuries for its hot climate and spicy food. While the city’s culture may be fiery and passionate, its airport is fire-resistant, thanks to a new 230,000-square-metre fireproof bamboo ceiling. Five-layered bamboo strips were specially designed for this unique application, then treated for fire and humidity resistance. Eco-friendly architecture at its most innovative, the structure is shaped like a wave, both for aesthetic appeal and to enhance the feeling of well-being. In the upcoming holiday travel season, a layover in Madrid could be just the thing to renew a traveler’s spirit. This multiple design award-winning airport was designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners.

As noted, “Not one fluorescent tube, ugly ceiling tile or cold metal sheet roofing can be found here. The result apart from saving energy is a beautiful play of changing daylight along the bamboo roof and the rest of the interiors (thin tree-like columns and glass walls). When there’s no daylight, pools of electric lighting illuminate the spaces.”

::The Cali Bamboo team hits the WATER::
Cali Bamboo donates a portion of its revenues to eco-activists like the Surfrider Foundation, through 1% for the Planet. In September, the Cali Bamboo team went a step further when we joined Surfrider’s 16th annual Paddle for Clean Water at the Ocean Beach Pier, the West Coast’s longest pier, here in San Diego.

The Paddle for Clean Water is an annual non competitive event that consists of hundreds of local beach goers paddling around the Ocean Beach Pier on surfboards to raise awareness of coastline pollution and change attitudes and behaviors. If you missed this event or are in another part of the country, log onto to learn how you can participate in clean water initiatives in your own community with a local Surfrider chapter.

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