We are firmly entrenched in the oil economy. Oil provides us with energy as well as raw materials for myriad products from plastic bags to fertilizer. Folks have talked about the mythical hydrogen economy which is to usher in an age of low-cost energy from nearly limitless supply of water. However, water is not so limitless in particular areas, and like the use of corn for biofuel, there is competition for the same resource for our nourishment, energy, and material construction.
Note: we cannot use the word __sustain__ or __sustainable__ because it is being used as a marketing term that is now completely devoid of meaning. Instead, let’s refer to what we mean here by __ecologically sound practices__ (ESPs).
I believe that there will be no miracle resource such as oil that has been widely developed, but there will be many different miracle resources. For construction, we turn to the humble Bamboo, of which there are “91 genera and about 1,000 species” ([Wikipedia article on Bamboo](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bamboo)).
Bamboo is a group of woody perennial evergreen plants in the true grass family Poaceae, subfamily Bambusoideae, tribe Bambuseae. Some of its members are giant bamboo, forming by far the largest members of the grass family. Bamboo is the fastest growing woody plant in the world. Their accelerated growth rate (up to 3-4 feet/day (1.5-2.0 inches/hr)) is due to a unique rhizome system and is dependent on local soil and climate conditions.
Some interesting products using bamboo include the [Dell Studio Hybrid](http://www1.ca.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/desktop-studio-hybrid), and the [SimpleTech Redrive](http://www.simpletech.com/products/storage/redrive). There are bamboo [houses](http://www.bambooliving.com/), bamboo [flooring](http://www.bamboozle.com.au/), bamboo [paper](http://smockpaper.com/sustain/bamboo/), and bamboo [cloth and clothing](http://www.bambooclothes.ca/). Of course there is the [bamboo bicycle frame](http://www.bmeres.com/bambooframe.htm). Urban Addiction has a number of [interesting and informative posts](http://www.urbanaddiction.com/archives/cat_bamboo.html) on Bamboo. And Softpedia has a [nice article](http://news.softpedia.com/news/The-Amazing-Bamboo-82013.shtml) on all the various uses of bamboo. For folks in the USA there useful information site [American Bamboo](http://www.americanbamboo.org/).