Posts Tagged ‘hawaii’

Morgana Matus

One of the perks of being the caretaker of the Bambu Batu blog is that I, Morgana Matus, can engage in a little shameless self-promotion from time to time. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to announce that I have started a photoblog over at morganamatus.com that will be a chronicle of my past adventures, explore visual culture, and be a repository for terrible puns. In the coming months, I will be posting images taken in Norway, Hawaii, Costa Rica, Mexico, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Napa Valley, Lake Tahoe, Big Sur, and San Luis Obispo. You can expect tales from trekking in the frozen north, slogging through the jungles of Central America, and fooling around in clown college.

So, next time you are surfing the web, stop on by! And I promise, no more shameless self-promotion. That name again, Morgana Matus.

Whispering Winds Bamboo Cooperative

Planting and harvesting bamboo is not only good for the environment, but can also be beneficial to the community that supports its cultivation. Founded in 2003, the Whispering Winds Bamboo Cooperative is a biodynamic and sustainable bamboo nursery on the beautiful Hawaiian island of Maui. Certified organic by Stellar Certification Services, the company is home to a number of bamboo species as well as tropical hardwood. They offer a range of timber bamboo including black bamboo in diameters from one to four inches. A plant nursery grows hedging bamboos and landscape vegetation for the garden. Whispering Winds also sells kit structures that use bamboo to create sheds, shade structures, carports, caddies, and even housing for bee hives.

As a result of the Ola Honua mission, the employees at Whispering Winds Bamboo Cooperative purchased the business from the original owners, turning it into a cooperative. Apprenticeships are offered on site, and the employees are all dedicated to replanting and restoring native flora on the plantation. With the notions of community engagement and social responsibility in mind, Whispering Winds provides its workers with fair wages as well as affordable housing for the people of Kipahulu.

Bamboo is undoubtedly one of the strongest, most versatile materials for construction. Lightweight, sturdy and renewable, the grass is perfect for sustainable building projects.  Bamboo Living, a company headed by founded by Jeffree Trudeau and architect David Sands, offers gorgeous prefabricated bamboo homes ready to be assembled in the tropical paradise of your choice. Many of the designs can be assembled rapidly, some in as little as two days.

The company chose bamboo for their line of dwellings in order to encourage the trend towards using materials that were both socially and ecologically responsible.  By using bamboo, they could make strides towards curbing climate emissions, restoring the native forests around the world, helping control soil erosion, and raising communities out of poverty.  The first shoot was planted in 1994 when Trudeau and Sands completed their first project on Maui, a home that would later lead to over 150 more built throughout the Hawaiian islands.  In 2002, the company became the first in the world to offer International Code Council approved bamboo green houses. By 2006, Bamboo Living had established the largest bamboo house in the country, and made an international name for themselves.

Currently, Bamboo Living operates through their Bamboo Works facility near Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam where they employ over 160 local artisans.  The company has the capacity to design, deliver and build a complete green home within three months.  Buyers can choose from over 8 different sizes and  a variety of lines that includes signature selections.  Models range from individual houses to eco-resorts and development, and each prefabricated structure is backed by a 20 year warranty.  Finally, a cost effective and green solution to out-of-the-box housing developments!

Sorry Oscar, but I HATE trash.  Case in point; marine garbage patches.  What exactly are these giant, floating messes?  Technically, these suspended litter heaps are concentrations of debris (usually consisting of small pieces of plastic) concentrated within a common area.  Contrary to popular belief, there are no permanent “islands” being created in the middle of the ocean that can be detected via satellite.  These collections of rubbish are, however, extremely harmful to marine ecosystems and enormously difficult to contain, clean and manage.

There are several massive known aggregations throughout the world, identified as the Eastern Pacific (between Hawaii and California), Western Pacific (off the Coast of Japan) and North Pacific Subtropical Convergence Zone (north of Hawaii) garbage patches.  There are also Atlantic equivalents to the Pacific concentrations (as debris will collect around major gyres, or large circulatory currents), although research is comparatively thin compared to those in the Pacific.  While these are not the only places flotsam accumulates from human activities on the mainland, they are by far some of the biggest and the subject of great concern. Since their size and shape changes daily or seasonally, estimates of location and span are at time difficult to pin down in exact terms.

The vast majority of the masses are made up of plastics.  From single-use bags to water bottles, plastics are responsible for chemical pollution through degradation, choking marine life who mistake objects for food (see the Guardian’s photo essay on Albatross death), and endangering entire ecosystems by disintegrating into tiny pieces which are taken up through the bottom of the food chain.

These  particles are then accumulated upwards into the tissues of larger organisms, eventually reaching top predators and human beings who consume animals lower down on the food chain.  Plastics are very hard to remove from the oceans as sunlight may reduce them into pieces unable to be captured by nets. Where trash collects, so does marine life, and attempts at skimming debris might also harm the creatures swimming amongst the junk.  Major clean-up efforts would also use a large amount of fossil fuels to locate, process and haul the detritus out of the sea.

Luckily, as individuals, we have the power to make decisions that can have large-scale effects.  Water bottles and plastic bags, who are common occupants of these floating landfills, can be replaced with multiple use items such as cloth grocery sacks (like Blue Lotus’s stylish produce bags), thermoses, canteens and reusable water bottles. At Bambu Batu, we dig the sustainable and attractive Bamboo Bottle. We also offer an attractive assortment of re-usable bamboo utensil sets and sporks, to further reduce your dependency on disposable plastics.

Reducing the amount of plastics we use, as well as recycling and properly disposing of what we purchase, can go a long way to stem the flow of trash making its way into our oceans and food chain.

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