When Peta and I launched CO2 Bambu, our vision was to have a business that would integrate our desire for social and ecological impact. We also wanted to create a vehicle for a lifestyle of global travel that would mutually reinforce our green efforts. Besides the fundamental choice of relocating ourselves to Nicaragua to launch the bamboo business, we soon tasted the potential of our “Green Global Trek” by visiting bamboo experts in Ecuador. We discovered a wonderful country, while at the same time boosting our bamboo knowledge and contacts.
This trip to Colombia is in the same spirit. Having taken some time to explore the cities of Medellin and Cartagena, our green global trek converges again our passion for travel and our business connectivity to the global bamboo family.
Colombia has a vast wealth of Guadua Bamboo, the same species found in Nicaragua. Whereas Ecuadoran bamboo culture has veered toward low cost temporary shelters, Colombian architects aim to push the envelope architecturally speaking, with guadua’s large bamboo canes.
Joerg Stamm is a long term Colombia resident of German extraction who has designed and built some of the world’s most impressive guadua bamboo bridges. Joerg offers bamboo technical workshops, which Julio, CO2Bambu’s structural engineer, attended about a month ago.
Joerg has invited us to visit his factory in Candelaria, about 1 hour from Cali.
As we have found with other bambuseros we have encountered since launching CO2 Bambu, he is remarkably open and sharing of his insights after over a decade of working with guadua.
Our long term vision re potential cooperation, is for CO2 Bambu to introduce Joerg Stamm’s bamboo bridges in Nicaragua. Many parts of the country come to a virtual stand still for months during the rainy season.
A bamboo bridge has the sturdiness of a steel bridge and costs 1/3 of a concrete bridge, and of course has a smaller carbon footprint.
For now, we gain significant insight on Joerg’s immunization process, some of the unique solutions he has developed over the years relative to the drying process of bamboo, and some valuable construction do’s and don’ts. Joerg has applied his bamboo knowledge as a consultant for the United Nations and has helped in the setting up of various bamboo processing factories around the world (Ghana, Indonesia…).
Joerg’s current creative focus is on the invention and development of a bamboo-based electric car!
After visiting his factory, we hop on a bus to go 3 hours north to the city of Armenia, deep into bamboo country. There, we hope to see one of his bridges and to meet with some other bamboo experts he has put us in touch with.
Bamboo grows all over the mountains and on the sides of the roads. The closer we get to Armenia the more we see bamboo being used in construction. The tollway, the bus stop, stores on the side of the road – all using local guadua bamboo.