New York Times on Bamboo: High on Grass

The New York Times discusses how bamboo was transformed from a 50's tiki lounge accessory to its use in clothing and interior design today: "Bamboo has long been popular with the ecoconscious set (because, unlike a clear-cut forest, a well-managed bamboo crop replaces itself in a few years). Recently it has also acquired a chic factor that something like, say, hemp, never quite attained. As Susanne Lucas, chairwoman of the board of the World Bamboo Organization (a nonprofit group that promotes bamboo as a material and as an economic development tool), puts it, the grass has become "fashionable."..However the article does point out: "much of the bamboo that makes its way to the American consumer comes from China, which means that it's being shipped around the world — generally a greenie no-no. Finally, overseas bamboo harvesting is often opaque, with little information available about working conditions or whether crops are really being managed in sustainable ways. TreeHugger, an environmental-lifestyle Web site, has even argued that sometimes a maple floor made from locally harvested wood under a forest-management certification program can be a more environmentally sound choice." ::New York Times