Every year, in the midst of our hectic daily schedules, Earth Day approaches more quickly than we’re prepared for. It’s a time when we’re reminded to go the extra mile and make a new kind of effort beyond what we consider our daily eco-friendly habits. We’re caught scratching our heads, thinking “how can I do my part without sacrificing too much of my time?“
There are many small and large ways to keep the balance between responsible ecological action and keeping up with the demands of a modern lifestyle, and yet we can offer you two in one: plant some bamboo.
Yes, that dreaded homeowner’s bane that can grow at mythical speeds and lay tornado-like waste to landscaping. Not quite true, though. Yes, bamboo is one of the fastest growing plant on earth; some reports have claimed 39 inches in 24 hours in optimal conditions. This is actually a good thing, as it’s stalks, or culms, grow to desired height quickly and can be endlessly harvested; it’s the ultimate sustainable woody resource. But not all bamboo species are “runners,” those that grow out in lines from underground nodes and root balls, defying fences and delicate plants. It’s quite easy to find “clumping” species that have vertical primary growth like other plants and are non-invasive. It’s becoming evermore popular and easy to purchase at local nurseries(for those of you in CA’s Bay Area) and online .
Why bamboo for Earth Day?
1) As stated above, it is an absolutely sustainable resource.
2) It is an excellent C02 “fixer,” devouring the atmosphere-warming gas at incredible rates, and emits 35% more oxygen than the biomass equivalent of trees.
3) Although it thrives with ample water, its hardiness is epic and drought-resistant varieties are easily found. Frankly, it’s difficult to kill. It’s the Van Damme of plants, a real hard target.
4) It needs no fertilizer and usually no soil amendment, as long as it drains decently, which means very low energy cost.
5) The variety of uses exceed any other growing thing on Earth. That’s not an official statement, but seriously, find something else you can make healthy food, medicine, building materials (from bicycles and fishing rods to boats and houses), musical instruments, clothing, paper, fertilizing charcoal, beer and weapons out of. You will fail. To see just how versatile this miracle vegetation is, check out this gallery of bamboo products.
6) It’s tall, dark and handsome. That’s earthy.
And you don’t necessarily have to plant it in a pot or in your yard. Our cities and suburbs have a surprising amount of abandoned or unclaimed open space that some bamboo plants would take full and beneficial advantage of. And once it takes hold, the plant’s hardiness makes it easy to break apart root balls to form new clusters which can be harvested for new planting.
Planting bamboo is an easy favor you can do for yourself, your community and shared planet. It feels good! No, really; the internodes are smooth and silky to the touch. Sensual.