Bamboo In Permaculture

Though completely dispassionate, for many years my only real impression of Tasmania and Tasmanians was the perpetuated ‘mainlander’ myth suggesting that the general populous comprised two headed tree huggers. When visiting Tassie for the first time only two and bit years ago and not to prove nor dispel those less than charitable, mischievous accusations, the truth Ally & I found was that the Island’s beauty and relatively ‘unhumanised’ condition was something to behold and aspire to, rather than tease and torment.

We didn’t know it at the time but the sense of wanting to reside and belong in a place where there was still a chance that the natural beauty seemed protected by the will of its inhabitants was magnetic if not infectious and the very quick decision we made to apply for ‘Tasmanianship’ was very easy.  As residents of one year standing, there are reasons to be discouraged when potential ecological disasters like the Macquarie Harbour fiasco  and secretive development deals are made without extensive environmental risk assessments or correct planning consultation. The lack of full understanding of either of the aforementioned, precludes further comment but a sadness accompanies both.

The flip side of that coin is the discovery of the ideals certain groups are espousing and putting into practice, in order to do their bit to ensure the earth doesn’t self destruct. We have begun the process of researching Permaculture, its principles and the people involved in attempting to produce a positive footprint on the planet. In 2018, there’s a LOT to entertain that philosophy rather than living the ‘normal’ and destructive lifestyles of most of the population whose footprints can be measured in degrees of negativity. Not surprisingly, we have found only single headed people whose intelligence quotas are generally oversubscribed, ‘indulging’ in the practices that make perfect sense when considering whether or not they are good or bad for one’s self, community and dare I say it – the planet!

It’s extremely early days in the project we decided to pursue in our new home but already, the shape and look of that project has changed dramatically. We envisaged growing a couple of acres of Bamboo to sell as screens for neighbours whose privacy was being eroded by new developments in a growing population. Secondary levels of production including plants for windbreaks to assist farmers or indeed anyone seeking some protection from the seemingly incessant Tassie ‘breeze’ and perhaps supplying the bustling culinary industry with fresh shoots. Understanding that Bamboo is as strong as steel and through modern treatment techniques, lasts up to thirty years plus as structural timber has opened our eyes to the definite possibility that forests can be saved.  Discoveries that Bamboo is an awesome Biochar and Biofuel source has further encouraged us to pursue the task of educating Tasmania that the once despised invader of backyards can indeed make a massive difference to the speed at which we are hurtling towards Planet Empty! Moreover, these very pleasant and timely discoveries have instilled in us a certain sense of responsibility to help educate those who haven’t yet discovered the wonders of the Bamboo plant.

That process has begun from a social media perspective and from exhibiting at Agricultural and Horticultural festivals but now begins in earnest with an invitation to speak to a Permaculture Group next month. The jury is out as to who has more to offer from an educational point of view but that just isn’t important. What IS important is that Bamboo Van Diemen is broadening its horizons and is in a prime position to make a difference albeit small and seemingly insignificant to some. If Tassie permaculturalists get our message as well as we get theirs, the Tassie Bamboo project will be well underway.

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