You might know bamboo for being an invasive plant in your garden but this wonderful plant is actually a grass, not a tree. There are over 1500 different species of bamboo and many of them grow at a fast rate— reaching up to one meter in 24 hours. While growing, they release 35% more oxygen than trees.
This is why bamboo plays a critical role in restoring our planet’s health.
Stick around to learn some amazing facts about bamboo. Plus, how at Bamboa Home we’re using it to fight climate change while helping rural communities.
But before we share all the secret wonders of bamboo, let’s cover an important topic:
How Are Forests a Key Component To Fight Climate Change
(Farmer from Dhaneshowri village, Nepal)
Climate change is one of the most pressing issues our society is facing. To avoid irreversible damage we need real solutions. We must reduce greenhouse gas emissions, fight plastic pollution, and keep the world’s temperature from rising.
But how can we achieve this? The answer (as per usual) is nature. More precisely, forests.
Forests are quite literally the lungs of planet earth. Not only do they provide oxygen but they also sequester carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. This keeps our planet from warming further.
The Links Between Deforestation and Climate Change
(View from Dhaneshowri village, Nepal)
We need to restore our forests and stop deforestation. We also need to rebuild our agricultural system and shift towards regenerative agriculture.
But even with climate change threatening our own safety and livelihood, we’re losing our forests at alarming rates. We’re currently losing 247 million acres of forests every year. ¹
Forests are a key piece in the climate change puzzle. Around the globe, they’re already taking in 30% of the world’s greenhouse emissions. In the United States, forests absorb 13% of the emissions created.
The major sources of greenhouse emissions are coal (92 ppm), land-use (88 ppm), oil (70 ppm), and gas (30 ppm). And who is cleaning up this mess? Oceans and forests, who absorb half of these emissions. ²
But instead of protecting and conserving our forests, oceans, wetlands, and natural spaces, we’re destroying them. And liberating even more CO2 into the atmosphere.
So where do we go from here? Well, there is one specific plant with the potential to help us fight (and beat) climate change.
Introducing The Grow Bamboo Initiative: A Gateway to Protect Forests, Support Rural Communities, and Save Our Planet.
(Badri and Apsana from the Grow Bamboo Initiative Team in Nepal)
The Grow Bamboo Initiative (GBI) by Bamboa is a one-of-a-kind effort to fight climate change using natural resources. This initiative took off in September 2020, when the first community bamboo plantation project started in Nepal.
What is The Grow Bamboo Initiative?
Climate change continues to impact vulnerable communities and threaten our future. With The Grow Bamboo Initiative, we’re fighting the climate crisis while helping these struggling communities.
This initiative was officially launched by Julia Washbourne (Director of Bamboa, Hongkong) and Dr Shyam Paudel on World Bamboo Day (September 18th, 2020). The local team in Nepal includes Apsana and Badri.
Julia Washbourne, bamboo enthusiast and founder of Bamboa (est. 2008) is an international eco-entrepreneur. She has 20 years of experience in product design/development and has become an expert in sustainable design and ethical production in Asia.
Dr Shyam Paudel, Technical Adviser, Forests and Climate Change, UNDP. Dr Paudel is a forester by profession with 20 years of international experience in Natural Resources Management and Sustainable Development. He also has a long experience in bamboo sector development. Dr Paudel also served as a Senior Program Officer at International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) from 2002 to 2011.
Apsana Kafle (Nepal coordinator) is a graduate student from Nepal who pursued her undergraduate degree in Forestry from Tribhuvan University, Institute of Forestry. Throughout her university life, she had participated and led multiple conservation campaigns, outreach, and research activities related to landscape restoration and community resilience against natural disasters.
Mr Badri Adhikari is the GBI community leader. He has been leading the Dhaneshwari Baikiwa Community Forestry as the Secretary. Adhikari operates a Moso bamboo nursery which was established after importing Moso seeds from China in 2017.
Apsana and Badri sought out 10 ultra-poor local families from Dhaneshowri village, who were engaged and paid to plant 1 hectare of bamboo in a valley of the Kavre District, Nepal. The bamboo can then be harvested and used for their livelihood support.
Our goal is to grow bamboo plantations on a large scale and use them to employ rural communities. The bamboo species which was planted in Nepal is the extremely strong and resilient Phyllostachys edulis, also known as the MOSO bamboo, which is the suitable species to grow in the climate and at an altitude of 1500 m.
The people in these communities are responsible for planting and tending the bamboo until it’s ready for harvest. This provides them with a steady flow of income.
After harvest, the bamboo is crafted into earth-friendly products like baskets, chopsticks, straws, and more— it has over 10,000 uses! And once it’s harvested, the sequestered CO2 stays in the bamboo products it’s turned into.
How Does Planting Bamboo Fight Climate Change?
(Farmer from Dhaneshowri village, Nepal)
Bamboo is the multitasking queen of plants, loaded with unique qualities, making it a key tool to fight climate change. From its fast-paced growth to its minimal water needs, bamboo could replace the use of timber in many industries.
Bamboo has an astonishing versatility, allowing us to use it for buildings, roads, fabric, everyday items, and a lot more. Without the huge carbon footprint other materials have.
Depending on the species, timber takes 20 to 100 years to grow to harvest size, while bamboo only needs 3 to 4 years to reach optimal growth. Bamboo is also capable of growing in marginated soil, eroded slopes, and other challenging conditions. ³
After harvest, the root structure of bamboo stays unharmed, creating new shoots every season. Bamboo is also known for being a strong building material, and houses made out of bamboo can withstand earthquakes. ⁴
Bamboo also releases 35% more oxygen than trees while absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2). And it doesn’t need any pesticides or fertilizers.
By replacing the use of timber and other materials with bamboo, we slow down deforestation and lower greenhouse emissions. All while helping communities in need and having a positive impact on climate change.
How Does my Contribution Help The Bamboo Initiative?
(Apsana from the Grow Bamboo Initiative Team in Nepal)
When you support our initiative, your contribution goes directly into creating new plantations. Or to support existing ones. But your contribution has a ripple effect of good deeds.
First, you help us grow awareness about the uses of bamboo, and how it helps fight deforestation and climate change.
You also support dozens of rural communities who benefit from our initiative. We’re providing a gateway for them to have a steady flow of income. Plus, we’re supporting these communities so their children have access to quality education.
Finally, the harvested bamboo is either used locally or crafted into eco-friendly products. These products aim to replace their plastic counterpart and reduce pollution around the world.
Due to COVID-19, more people are in a vulnerable economic situation, and the need for action is greater than ever. This is why GBI’s goal is to not only improve our planet’s health but to improve the livelihoods of rural communities as well. So that no families are put in the terrible situation of having to sell their own children.
From growing bamboo to supporting communities in need, your contribution goes a long way.
How To Support The Grow Bamboo Initiative
(Local families from Dhaneshowri village, Nepal)
We created a unique way to make supporting our initiative easy, fun, and affordable.
To keep the good deeds going, we crafted our own bamboo currency, the boo-coin. This token equals 1 bamboo planted. A single hectare of bamboo stores an average of 200 metric tonnes within 5 years. Plus, you get to keep your boo-coin as proof of your generous contribution.
Simply click here to get your own boo-coin and support The Grow Bamboo Initiative. Buy as many as you want!
For every boo-coin purchased, we plant 1 bamboo shoot.
To keep up with our initiative and the bamboo plant’s you helped us grow, click here.