The global climate crisis has made it evidently clear that the way humans currently operate is unsustainable and harmful. Every day a new building is constructed, steel run-off enters into a body of fresh drinking water, or an acre of trees is cut down in one fell swoop. In fact, according to the EPA “The U.S. construction industry accounts for 160 million tons, or 25 percent, of non-industrial waste generation a year.” All of this can look pretty abysmal and make it seem as if there is little, to no hope, but one alternative material is shining a bit of light on this dark reality.
Researchers now look to Bamboo as a green alternative to many of the harmful construction materials we use today. Amitava Sil, scientist, and officer-in-charge at Indian Plywood Industries Research and Training Institute recently published their article BAMBOO – A GREEN CONSTRUCTION MATERIAL FOR HOUSING TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC GROWTH in the International Journal of Civil Engineering and Technology, where they had this to say in regards to Bamboo as an alternative solution to construction pollution and waste :
“Bamboo is a positive green option since it qualifies under many of the categories for eco-friendly building material viz low energy consumption, sustainability, fast-growing, environmentally friendly, high strength to weight ratio and reduction to soil erosion.”
10 Advantages to Using Bamboo
Along with these eco-friendly advantages to the material, Bamboo also presents many advantages simply in terms of construction. Sil provides an excellent list of ten perks here :
- It is stronger than steel because the fibers run axially.
- Bamboo has a characteristic physical form which gives them a high strength weight ratio.
- Bamboo is very elastic. The joints in the bamboo help prevent it from breaking.
- Bamboo has a high load-bearing capacity which may be considered one of the highly endorsed materials for tall structures.
- It is widely preferred in earthquake-prone regions due to its elastic features.
- Bamboo can easily be cut into the required size and split up into strips using simple tools and ordinary workers.
- Because they are lightweight, structures made of bamboo are safe in earthquake-prone areas. In case of collapse, houses can be re-erected very quickly at very little cost.
- Bamboos are easily displaced or installed making it very easier for transportation and construction.
- Unlike other building materials like cement and asbestos, bamboo poses no danger to health.
- It absorbs carbon dioxide and releases 35% more oxygen into the atmosphere than an equivalent stand of hardwood trees.
What Can We Do?
Every day the fight against the looming climate crisis endures and we have to look at how we can make changes to the things we do. Materials like Bamboo make these changes possible, and quite frankly, simple. The next time you have a home project, consider how you can use bamboo as an alternative to the products that harm us and our planet. Instead of buying traditional hardwood to replace your flooring, consider using bamboo flooring. You can also switch over to using a bamboo toothbrush instead of the harmful plastic toothbrushes or even use bamboo utensils for cooking and eating. These changes may seem small, but now more than ever, every small change can help.
It’s Not Just Us
While us consumers can make changes to our lifestyles to assist in the fight against the global eco-crisis, we are not the big problem. According to Elliott Hyman of the Harvard Political Review, 100 investors and state-owned fossil fuel companies account for 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. So while we can make small changes, we need these companies and state officials to take action and step away from these industries of devastation. We need them to change with us to make a better, habitable world.
Author: Joey Travarca
Sil, Amitava. “BAMBOO–A GREEN CONSTRUCTION MATERIAL FOR HOUSING TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC GROWTH.” Technology (IJCIET) 13.3 (2022): 1-9.
Hyman, Elliott. “Who’s Really Responsible for Climate Change?” https://harvardpolitics.com/climate-change-responsibility/ (1-20-2020)