Green Shoots Blog
Bamboo Provides Global Aid
As Earth’s population grows and world resources disappear, the humanitarian challenges we face only become more urgent. Believe it or not, bamboo may be the key to solving many current crises, from sky-rocketing housing demands to natural disaster preparedness and water purification. Read on to discover how this simple plant could become the #1 ally in saving our species.
Bamboo Houses a Growing Population
According to UN reports, the world population passed 6.1 billion in 2001 and is expected to reach almost 10 billion by 2050. Today, 1.1 billion people are living with inadequate housing and an additional 100 million live with no home at all. Although many factors contribute to this crisis, a key reason is the scarcity and cost of building materials.
Bamboo, however, is the exception. It has the strength and durability of traditional timber, but can be grown in nearly any climate and costs far less to process. Scientific testing shows that bamboo’s ability to withstand quakes (past 7 on the Richter scale!) and floods outperforms even concrete! Inspired architects and engineers experimenting with sturdy, low-cost bamboo housing have been doing so with great success.
Click here to learn more about the campaign for bamboo housing!
Visit www.calibamboo.com to outfit your own house with beautiful and durable bamboo!
Bamboo in the Face of Disaster
The need for adequate shelter is never so vital as during a natural disaster, where once again, bamboo has proved to be a saving resource. The Chinese government estimated after the recent catastrophic earthquake, that over one million temporary housing units were needed – prompting USC structural design professor Dr. Yan Xiao to get to work on a solution. The result of his effort is a building code-approved modular house made of bamboo veneer sheets which can be assembled in four hours by only four to six workers! The earthquake-proof home can comfortably shelter a family of four and costs less than $2000.
Xiao says, “Unlike tents, the bamboo quake relief house is insulated for heat and sound, is fireproof, allows residents to secure their possessions, and is more durable. Also, bamboo is a green and sustainable construction material, widely available in China and other Asian countries.”
Click here to learn more about earthquake relief homes!
Bamboo Bikes to Africa
In addition to giving aid, training people to support themselves makes a powerful, long-term impact. That’s the idea behind the work of the Columbia University-based Bamboo Bike Project, a non-profit group of scientists and engineers who design ultra-strong bamboo bicycles and send them to communities in Ghana.Taking their efforts one step further, the organization has established training programs wherein local people learn how to make the bikes themselves and earn a living.
Once made, the specially-designed utility bikes can carry up to four people, improving transportation and healthcare delivery. One rider was even able to deliver two 110 pound bags of cement to a man building a house in a neighboring village. And this is only the beginning! The “Bamboo Bike Project,” plans on expanding their work to include more communities and training programs in the future.
Click here to learn more about the Bamboo Bike Project!
Going Blue – Detoxifying Water with Bamboo Charcoal
Bamboo is improving lives right down to the water we drink! Scientists in Japan have recently discovered that bamboo charcoal powder is better at filtering nitrate-nitrogen out of drinking water than “commercial activated carbon,” the material normally used in the purification process. (Nitrate-nitrogen can enter groundwater from sewage disposal systems, farms with livestock, and fertilized land, and is especially harmful to infants.)
Researchers believe this bamboo product could be an attractive option for the treatment of contaminated underground and surface water here and in countries with an even more desperate need for clean water.