The season of giving is coming up again, and as usual, it will probably have many of us scrambling for last minute baubles and trinkets. Those of us in the environmental movement will do our best to shop for gifts that are fair trade and organic, and to support small, local businesses. At the same time, we’ll feel at least a tinge of guilt for contributing to the culture of consumption. So rather than buying more material objects for people who likely already have more material possessions than they need, why not make a small investment in the lungs of the planet, and get them a clump or a parcel of bamboo?

Gifts made from bamboo are eco-friendly and attractive, but an even more sustainable gesture is to adopt a bamboo clump or directly support a bamboo reforestation project in the developing world. Charity organizations like Bamboo Village Uganda and Guadua Bamboo in Colombia now make it easy to purchase a small parcel or clump of bamboo in order to reduce our carbon footprints, restore critical forest habitats, and create positive opportunities for small farmers.

Bamboo gifts for a green legacy

Here at Bambu Batu, we’ve spent decades promoting eco-conscious products made with the soul and spirit of the earth in mind. For anyone in need of some new towels, socks, or t-shirts, bamboo is an excellent alternative to fast-fashion options from the malls and chain stores. (Click here to shop for top quality bamboo sheets and towels.)

But eventually, we all reach a point of material saturation. And even the most thoughtful organic bamboo gift can simply add to that state of excessive abundance.

If only there were a way to show how much you loved and cared for someone, without contributing to the ceaseless cycle of consumption. In fact, actions and experiences mean a lot more than objects. And in many cases, these actions require fewer resources and leave a smaller carbon footprint than most store-bought items.

So, this year, I’ll probably still buy a few meaningful items, and I’ll make a few handmade crafts as well. But my go-to for the hardest people to shop for, and for those who already have everything they need, will be a dedicated clump of bamboo.

I know, I know. The “clump that keeps on giving” just doesn’t have the ring of Silver Bells and Drummer Boys, but stick with me. And together we’ll all be dreaming of a Green Christmas!

Propagating D asper in Kenya
Bamboo seedlings in an African nursery. Someday, each sprout will be a massive clump of timber bamboo.

Guadua Bamboo, Colombia

A new project from Stéphane Schröder, CEO of Guadua Bamboo and one of South America’s premier bamboo pioneers, invites private individuals and businesses around the globe to adopt their own clump of bamboo. Donors and adopters receive an attractive digital certificate and a dedicated page at Guadua Bamboo with photos to track the growth of their plant.

The hills of Colombia, on the edge of the Amazon Rainforest, are prime habitat for Guadua angustifolia, one of the most important bamboo species in the world. These are giant bamboos that often reach 100 feet tall, so participants are sure to be amazed by the photo documentation of the bamboo clumps.

More than the satisfaction of observing the rapid growth of a massive bamboo specimen, you get the gratification of knowing that your contribution is protecting an endangered tropical habitat. Guadua bamboo is an integral species of this extraordinarily diverse ecosystem. It’s also an excellent pioneer crop that grows very well in degraded soil, making it a key component for reforestation.

At the same time, the Adopt-A-Bamboo program is creating terrific opportunities by training and assisting small farmers and landowners in rural Colombia to start and sustainably maintain their own commercial bamboo operations.

Check out our in-depth article about the Colombian bamboo adoption program. Or visit Guadua Bamboo to adopt a bamboo for yourself or a friend for as little as $25.

Bamboo Village Uganda

Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet, Henri Potze operates Bamboo Village Uganda, helping African communities to restore their forests, build affordable housing, and create profitable agricultural opportunities. Equatorial Africa is home to more native bamboo species than most people realize, with tremendous value for the ecology and the economy of the region.

To support Bamboo Village Uganda, you can purchase a small plot of bamboo, between 1 and 12 square meters — for yourself or as a gift — for just 12 to 136€. Alternatively, you can make a friendship donation of any amount, ranging from 50 to 5000€. Donors enjoy the satisfaction of being part of a very good cause, both ecological and philanthropic. Many businesses also contribute to the Bamboo Village as a way of offsetting their CO2 creation.

Tucked precariously between Rwanda and South Sudan, in the heart of sub-Saharan Africa, Uganda is one of the most vulnerable places on earth. The Bamboo Village strives to provide a sanctuary for refugees and victims of the civil wars that have plagued Uganda’s neighbors.

Furthermore, Climate Change poses a vital threat to the region’s sensitive forest habitat and its residents. In addition to a history of colonialism and over-logging, unprecedented weather patterns have brought both floods and droughts to the Uganda. Farming and survival have grown increasingly difficult, and bamboo offers a potential solution.

Donations to the Village go towards assisting aspiring farmers and entrepreneurs to learn essential business skills. They are also constructing an actual bamboo village, using their own, locally-grown bamboo. Additionally, the program is involved in reforestation projects, taking advantages of bamboo’s great capacity to prevent erosion and clean contaminated water.

To give the gift of bamboo in Uganda, visit the Bamboo Village’s shop page. You can also read our feature article about the Bamboo Village Uganda.

Cultivate your knowledge

If you’re as excited about these bamboo gift ideas and international bamboo projects as I am, and you want to learn more about the fabulous reasons to support bamboo cultivation, check out some of our other informative articles.