Imagine that the brick walls are all the problems we inflicted on our planet. Hundreds of thousands of roots and shoots, hundred of thousands of young people around the world, can break through these walls. We CAN change the world.
-Dr. Jane Goodall
By Lin Smith
June 4, 2014—With very little care, a bamboo shoot can become a “structural column”, ready to harvest within 3 years and, being a perennial, it doesn’t need replanting each year. According to Bamboo Farming USA, it is a versatile, cash-producing crop. You can run poultry under the bamboo canopy to eat the weeds, with the droppings fertilizing the grove, or cut the poles of the bamboo and feed the tops to livestock.
Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world, with over 1400 species. The hardier species will grow in colder climates, such as the mid-Atlantic states in the U.S. Bamboo is a very strong plant and, when harvested, will provide houses that will last a lifetime.
Bamboo: Creating a Healthier Planet
In Bali, a small island in Indonesia, bamboo is increasingly used as a building material. Three years ago, Elora Hardy founded the company, Ibuku, which designs and builds sustainable homes from bamboo. Hardy states, “Our view on being green comes out of being logical, doing no harm and being conscientious.”
Growing up in Bali, Hardy was the only daughter of creative parents, who allowed her to design a fairy mushroom house when she was 9 years old, and, what kid wouldn’t love this, they built it for her as a playhouse! After attending art school in New York and starting a successful career, she returned to Bali, intending to be a part of the bamboo culture that was taking place. Hardy’s father, John Hardy, founded the Green School in Bali, a campus made mostly from bamboo and Linda Garland had been promoting bamboo since 1993, in an effort to protect and conserve the tropical forests of Bali.
Ibuku is in the process of building a housing complex called Green Village, which consists of 30 homes. Hardy hopes that Green Village will redefine the potential of sustainable materials, creating a development where people connect with nature. Green Village is designed by building replicas of the final product. First, making small 3D, bamboo models and then replicating the design on the computer to refine it. The small house model then goes to the builders for construction–no blueprints, just the small 3D models. The builders measuring each stick on the small models to build to real size.
Hardy’s designs are about respect for the land and a connection with nature. There are no bulldozers and no flattening of the land. The houses are almost entirely hand made, the builders using wooden pegs instead of nails. Every stucture is completely unique, creating customized furniture, natural black bamboo flooring, handmade copper bath fixtures, skylights made from recycled car windshields, with nearby organic gardens. Many of the residents of the bamboo housing project have children who attend the nearby Green School, which is within walking distance.
The Green School
A percent of the houses sold go to scholarships funds for the Green School. The Green School was awarded the entitlement, “2012 Greenest School on Earth” by the U.S. Green Building Council. With Dr. Jane Goodall as the speaker for the 2014 graduating class, the school’s mission is to, “Prepare students to be critical and creative thinkers, who are confident to champion the sustainability of the world and its environment….nurturing the passion of the children to influence change in the way we are managing this planet.”
And a final word from Jane Goodall, “Roots creep underground everywhere and make a firm foundation. Shoots seem very weak, but to reach the light, they can break open brick walls. Imagine that the brick walls are all the problems we inflicted on our planet. Hundreds of thousands of roots and shoots, hundred of thousands of young people around the world, can break through these walls. We CAN change the world.” -Dr. Jane Goodall