By Brian Clark Howard
This hardy, incredibly strong grass is one of the earth's most renewable resources, making it the new eco-conscious material of choice. Bamboo
grows at a rate of several inches a day and thrives without the use of pesticides or fertilizers in many different climates and environments, from parts of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa to the southeast U.S. and on down to Chile. In fact, it takes approximately six years for bamboo to mature, as compared to about 60 for most hardwood trees. And unlike wood, bamboo is harvested again and again from the same plant. That's an important consideration given that the world has already lost half of its forests, and continues to lose an additional 30 million acres every year. But even more amazing is bamboo's apparently boundless versatility. Sturdy enough to be used as a building material, it yields soft fibers that make terrifically wearable clothing such as women's camisoles and yoga pants and men's boxers, as well as sumptuous linens such as naturally comfortable, 250-count twill bed sheets.