For centuries, humans have used wood as a resource for different purposes. The construction industry in particular has a high demand for wood used as timber, which accounts for a third of the wood taken from forests worldwide. However, meeting this demand comes with the reality of destroying our forests, ultimately furthering the effects and disasters of climate change. With this, it’s important now more than ever to find better ways to build.
Luckily, the wonders of bamboo offer solutions to the environmental problems of our current timber usage and building practices. Its qualities of sustainability and robustness are the reasons why CUBO has chosen it as the cornerstone of all the homes we build.
How does the demand for timber harm the Earth?
Image via Intercontinental Cry
The worldwide demand for timber and the ways we obtain it come with a cost. According to the WWF, illegal and unsustainable logging practices that cause deforestation and forest degradation take place to meet low-cost timber demands. On a larger scale, such destruction of our world’s forests greatly contributes to climate change.
Out of the world's total of heat-trapping emissions, tropical deforestation and forest degradation contribute to 8% of it. When forests are cut down on a large scale, they can no longer harvest carbon and lessen its concentrations in the atmosphere. The more carbon is trapped in the atmosphere, the more global warming is accelerated. Additionally, more carbon emissions occur in the process of obtaining wood through gasoline used for cutting trees, site burning/clearing, and the transportation of logs.
While deforestation and forest degradation contribute to climate change, simultaneously, habitats and natural protection from disasters are taken away from living creatures. Trees also take many years to grow again after being destroyed. These harmful effects of the way we obtain wood, call for more mindful ways of living, more sustainable ways of building, and in the long run, the conservation and restoration of our forests.
Why do we need to conserve our world’s forests?
Image by Rhett A. Butler, via Mongabay
Apart from providing habitats, forests provide natural protection for humans and animals from disasters. In the face of strong rains and typhoons, trees are at the fore of naturally protecting us. Their roots preserve soil by holding the ground together, preventing soil erosion and landslides. They can also absorb thousands of liters of rainwater, preventing water from flowing into residential areas on lower lands and lessening the likelihood of floods.
Unfortunately, today, we experience the effects of deforestation in the Philippines as one of the most severely deforested countries in the tropics. According to the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources, our country loses 47,000 hectares of forest cover every year. This loss shows its dangers especially in times of typhoons when floods are extremely disastrous. Such is the case of Rizal, where excessive quarrying in Rodriguez and Montalban leads to rainwater easily running down to towns up to the Marikina river, contributing to the increase of flood levels.
With the world’s demands for wood and how destructive our logging practices are, a certain question comes to mind: How can we start building better to live better?
Bamboo as the answer to sustainable living
Protecting our forests and being mindful of the ways we obtain natural resources are just some of the ways to slow down climate change. In the long run we must also find more sustainable ways of living, whether it be through calling for forest conservation or finding better ways to build.
Proving to be a more sustainable building material, bamboo is one of the answers to a low-carbon and sustainable future. With the looming threats of climate change, industries around the world have been looking to this natural material as a solution with its renewable and environmental-friendly properties.
Bamboo can rapidly grow and self-generate, maturing in just 3-5 years to become usable in building and construction. The harvesting of bamboo can also be done without harming its roots, leading it to re-grow and produce more shoots easily while staying healthy. Even with its growth speed, bamboo grows with a robustness stronger than many types of wood. making it an ideal alternative for construction.
Growing and renewing quickly, bamboo forests can also act as carbon sinks by trapping masses of carbon to prevent it from reaching the atmosphere. Bamboo also takes less energy to process compared to wood, contributing less to carbon emissions. When processed, it can be used for construction to provide low-cost green housing and infrastructure in no time.
As for the ways bamboo can address the disasters of climate change, bamboo forests can quickly grow in areas struck by disasters and deforestation in just a few years. These forests can restore eroded soil while reforesting areas with no trees for protection.
In response to the high demand and usage of timber which harms our forests, bamboo is most certainly one of the best alternatives. Its naturally superior qualities of sustainability and strength are much more environmentally-friendly compared to other materials, making it one of the solutions to a better way of living and conserving nature. This is why at CUBO, we’ve chosen it as the heart of all our homes: with CUBOs being made of engineered bamboo, we aim to revolutionize housing to lead the world to a better and more sustainable future for all.