Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Wham Bam-boo!

I believe that solutions to our environmental crisis will not rely on just one source. That said, I am impressed by one particular plant: Bamboo.

Bamboo first caught my attention through its use as a renewable hardwood floor. Looks like our friend the bamboo is a lot more versatile than that.

What’s the Big Deal?
Bamboo grows like a weed and doesn’t need pesticides due to its resiliency. Once it’s harvested, another shoot takes its place. It grows to its maximum height in three months and reaches maturity in three to five years. Bamboo is the plant that keeps on giving. And taking! It gobbles up greenhouse gases, nearly five times that of an equivalent stand of trees.

Bamboo is extremely flexible. Bamboo is actually a plant, not a wood. However, once matured, bamboo hardens making it an alternative for hardwood floors and other uses, including support beams for buildings. While it’s able to hold up structures, bamboo supplies one of the softest fabrics around. That’s right, bamboo is used for clothing.

Bamboo Wear
Most clothing comes from pesticide produced cotton and petroleum-based acrylic. What a choice! Ay Vey!

Step aside acrylic, bamboo is the natural alternative to cotton. Apparently it feels more like silk or cashmere. It absorbs sweat quickly and keeps us two degrees cooler in hot weather and warmer in the cold. Bamboo is also antibacterial, keeping out nasty odours. And it’s breathable.

Don’t buy it? Buy it. Well that’s easier said than done isn’t it? Most stores don’t sell it. At this point bamboo is still relegated to Internet shopping.

Warning! Be sure you know where your bamboo comes from. Some companies are clear cutting forests and using fertilizers to grow bamboo. Moreover, bamboo harvesting isn’t guided by Fair Trade, not yet. For more, read Bamboo Flooring – Is it Really Treehugger Green?

For eco-friendly bamboo online stores:




In the News
The Oscars went green and Al won! How fun, eh? Now we just need Cate Blanchett showing up in a bamboo dress. That’s the next step.

Want to step it up a bit? Sign yourself on to to receive calls to action on climate change and pressing socio-political issues.

For those of you in Toronto, mark the following in your calendars:

Toronto Rally for Kyoto
Sunday March 11th at 12 noon at Nathan Phillips Square.
Show your concern about climate change and support strong government action including the implementation of Bill C-288 which gives the government 60 days to set forth a plan to meet Canada's Kyoto obligations. No government is going to act decisively on climate change unless Canadians show that they want it. Speakers: John Bennett, Climate Action Network, Keith Stewart, WWF Canada, Jose Etcheverry, David Suzuki Foundation, and Cameron Stiff, Canadian Youth Climate Coalition Musical entertainment including Madagascar Slim, Richard Underhill and a platinum selling guest artist. Rallies will take place in Halifax, Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge and London. For more information visit:

An Inconvenient Truth
Tuesday March 13, 2007; 7:30pm
Toronto City Hall (Queen Street West at Bay Street)Free. The planetary emergency of global warming and what we can do about it. This is a live presentation of Al Gore's famous slideshow about global warming. There will be a question and answer session following the presentation. See why the movie is the 3rd highest grossing documentary ever. This live slideshow presentation of An Inconvenient Truth will be narrated by Jim Harris.

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Grist Magazine

Tree Hugger

Zerofootprint Blog

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