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Bamboo – the simple solution for almost everything.

October 5, 2011

Bamboo has a minimalist characteristic, it works it’s way around many functional uses, making life simpler  – the ancient Chinese used it for everything almost. After reading this, you will know bamboo solves life’s problems both then and today – in 14 ways. You can build a house live in it, eat it in your meal, use it to run your ecosystems, recreate civilisation, as you will see. Read this list to get the low down. What I like about bamboo that appeals to the minimalist mindset too, not only it’s simple and natural elegance, but it’s smooth texture, it makes us closer to nature itself, away from the urban hubbub of machinery and computors. The minimalist is concerned with sustainable renewable energy,  green living, to a point, as wasting finite resources such as coal, oil and so on, can lead to lack of usable energy resources in the future. The minimalist always only uses what they need, nothing wasteful or superfluous, so it is the minimalist naturally has at least some concern for greener living.

Beautiful Bamboo – A poetry all on it’s own.

1. Musical Instruments & Equipment

Many of us have seen the bamboo flutes from Kung-Fu episodes, or the great pipes commonly associated with Pan, or panpipe moods CDs which has got covers of  classic ballads like those of a certain Celine Dion, Wet Wet Wet, or whoever!…Although mostly associated with the wind instruments, bamboo is used to construct a variety of percussive instruments. Examples include the xylophone.

Pic of xylophone coming up later

2.  Footbridges

Kampong Cham bridge in Cambodia: the longest bamboo bridge in the world.

3. Alternative Energy

Some varieties of bamboo can grow up to a foot a day. True. Another ‘green’ use of bamboo is as a building material for alternative energy installations. In many rural settings, bamboo is a primary material for building waterwheels for hydropower. Bamboo is also used to make blades for wind turbines. Without getting silly with it, bamboo can be used.  There are novelty gimmicks, which uses bamboo in a way that I wont include here — those are plain ridiculous or just too futuristic to mention in this list! When I wanna drive a bamboo car assume I’m not a writer anymore.

4. Kitchenware

Bamboo cutting boards are quite kitsch and much easier to clean than typical plastic cutting boards.

Bamboo is a popular material for traditional Asian kitchenware as well. For instance, bamboo steamers have been used in Asia for centuries to cool rice and steam vegetables, but have more recently made their way west and bring an elegant, healthy way to steam—rather than boil vegetables—preserving flavour, nutrients, all that.

And since you can have the versatility and durability of bamboo as kitchenware items, why not consider bamboo for…

5. Lunch

…Or dinner, for that matter. Bamboo shoots have been a popular food staple in Asia for centuries.


Despite its myriad of uses within the culinary world, it’s safe to assume that bamboo’s most appropriate use is in making bamboo beer.

Consuming traditional grains like barley and hops, beer made with bamboo offers a unique flavor.  Making bamboo beer requires a process of fermenting the rich natural sugars of the plant’s sap. This beverage is naturally enjoyed in Asia where bamboo is plentiful, but is also found extensively in Africa, though only during rainy seasons.

6. Air Fresheners

7.  Healthcare Lotions   

When heated, bamboo charcoal is made into a medicinal vinegar, used in places like Japan to treat minor skin conditions like eczema. Bamboo products like this are also known for anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.

8. Clothing

Bamboo has become a popular choice in durable, air permeable, soft fabrics, and is used in to make bedding, underwear, baby diapers, blankets, bags, hats, and a whole bunch of other stuff. Including hot stuff.

The undergarment above too, is made of bamboo. It’s not from a novelty gimmicky catalogue, this is common practice, hence I have included it here.

Art & Writing Materials

Artwork created with or from bamboo is still very much part of a living tradition and practiced by cultures throughout the world.

In early Asian civilizations, bamboo ‘slips’ were regularly used as writing surfaces. The Art of War by Sun Tzu was composed on a bamboo slip in the 6th century.  A slip is a tablet read down the bamboo stalk.

10. Smoking Paraphernalia

Bamboo was used to make the cigarette holders popularized by films in the 1920s.

11.  Computer Hardware

The use of bamboo for aesthetic purposes seems ideal within the world of computers. Given its natural look and durability, bamboo has been used to enhance computer hardware. Bamboo is used for keyboard covers, computer mice and other types of computer hardware in the field.

Bamboo is symbolic here too, reflecting the green design of the new Asus, but many cases of Fujitsu brand prototype laptops have been constructed of solid bamboo rather than just a veneer, making them more biodegradable. In the meantime, however, bamboo fibers are used in packing material for Dell computer equipment, bringing the computer hardware industry one step closer to a greener future.

12. Construction Scaffolding

Bamboo is used extensively throughout the world as an inexpensive, plentiful and sustainable material in a variety construction projects and scaffolding is no exception. The strength and durability of the plant easily bears the weight of workers, their tools and other materials.

Bamboo has incredible strength, meaning that it can withstand significant amounts of stress and is comparable to steel’s strength. China, where bamboo is used in much the same capacity as steel is in North America. I have spared you a picture of scaffolding.

13.  Fishing Gear

is commonly used in the construction of fishing poles. But did you know that bamboo is also used as a support for large fishing nets, gorgeous photo below.

In some rural settings, such as those found in places like Vietnam, bamboo is used in the construction of fishing boats, too.

The boats are small and maneuverable, allowing fishing to take place in narrow areas where commercial vessels typically can’t go. This allows the fishermen to deliver their hauls directly to shore.  It’s not the one’s you get in theme parks, where you’re getting all splashed up with friends eh!

14. Weaponry

Bamboo swords and staves (a long stick or staff) have been used for thousands of years—as training implements in the kendo tradition of Japan and in India bamboo staves are constructed for stick fighting, a form of martial arts training. These traditional disciplines and the use of bamboo weapons remain.

Just like as used in fishing poles, bamboo is a trusted material for making bows and arrows due to its strength and ability to bend without breaking. In the South Seas, bamboo blowguns and darts were staples of indigenous hunters and ancient Samurai warriors utilized bamboo to construct the hilts of their katana blades. Scabbards for the weapons were constructed from bamboo.

read volume eight of this dizzying & vastly eclectic, broad and tapestry like
construction, an interconnected work that unravels itself through reading the
other volumes but equally pleasurable and philosophical, quirky and light to
read as a singular work.

Read more:


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