Friday, September 22, 2006

Bamboo--the versatile, sustainable, eco-wonder

In Dance Rose and other villagers roll out a bamboo dance floor for a night of dancing under the stars.

Used worldwide for food, medicine, clothing, furniture, housing, bicycles, weapons, boats, packaging, kitchen and household utensils, bamboo is the eco-wonder of the world.

Stronger than hardwood, and touted as the fastest growing plant on the planet (some species grow 1-3 feet a day), bamboo is a highly renewable resource. Resilient and persistent, bamboo is reported to have survived the bombing of Hirsohima, according to the Florida Caribbean Chapter of the American Bamboo Society.

But that's not all. Bamboo consumes carbon dioxide and soil toxins and returns 30 percent more oxygen to the atmosphere than trees. Because of its rapid growth and root structure, it can stabilize soil destroyed by overgrazing and over-building.

And if all that weren't enough, bamboo is just plain beautiful.

Native to all continents except Europe and Antarctica, bamboo grows in climates both tropical and frigid. There are estimated to be more than 1200 species worldwide, with about 450 of them in the Americas, according to Gilberto Cortes, Regional Director of Bamboo in the Americas. Only one species, Arundinaria gigantea, commonly known as Cane Brake or Cane Reed, is native to the United States.

Using bamboo does not mean we are off the hook environmentally. Bamboo is the major food for endangered pandas, bamboo lemurs, and mountain gorillas, whose habitat shrinks daily.

Civilization increasingly encroaches on bamboo forests and plantations. Make sure the bamboo products you purchase are from sustainable plantations that do not destroy habitat or endanger other species.

For more information on bamboo, its uses, and the people and creatures who depend on it, visit these sites:

Monday, September 18, 2006

Music and Books

Sometimes a villager in Ordinary mentions a book or song title that exists in our world. In those cases, I link to a commercial web site, such as Amazon.com, where you can learn more about the book or song.

I prefer Amazon because I'm a tad lazy, and they make it easy to find book excerpts and audible song samples.

Below is a list of titles that have appeared in Ordinary posts, as well as on this blog.

The list is divided in two sections: Books and Music. It includes the original post in which the title appeared, and a link to the commercial web site where you can find information and, frequently, excerpts and samples.

Enjoy!



Books



Music

Note: To find the audible song samples, scroll down the page. It may be necessary to expand the track selections as the web site does not display them all at first.


This post will be updated as new books and song titles are added.