So I’m drilling holes into a piece of bamboo to make a fife, after building this year’s bamboo Rube Goldberg Machine for my summer crops to grow up and tumble down (after finding a fresh-cut pile of bamboo poles on the side of the road while Traveling at the Speed of Bike with my friend Caryn), when I get to thinking.
If the problem with scooters (as I found in my recent article for Ensia) is that they have such short lifespans and then get trashed (or, maybe recycled as scrap metal), and if a Dutch company is already making sit-down scooters with fast-growing, sustainable hemp mixed with bioresin in a mold*, and since there are already some artisans building both bicycles and private sit-down scooters out of bamboo, why not use bamboo** (which is already in the shape of a scooter neck and wouldn’t require a mold) to make sharable scooters? Many cities only allow 100 or so sharable scooters on their streets, and this seems like a reasonable quantity to pilot-test as a truly sustainable product. The next questions, of course, are which company can do this and which city wants to be first? (Okay, fine, maybe there are some other questions, too. But let’s think big here, folks, before we kill ideas.)
Back to hemp for a moment — I’d love to see a compostable scooter made out of hemp (which is now legal to grow in the USA with a permit) mixed with wildflower seeds and bioresin (assuming this is biodegradable) in a mold like what the Dutch company does. Not only would this provide a cash crop to farmers and a truly environmentally-sound transportation option in our congested cities and sprawling suburbs, but there could also be designated “scooter gardens” where these scooters could be planted at their end-of-life (after all removable parts are harvested, reused, and recycled) so they can grow and create pollinator corridors that save bees, butterflies, and therefore, well, frankly, the imperiled future of our food supply.
I know — crazy, right?
* I emailed the company to see if they have experimented with stand-up scooters yet
** Bamboo, like cork, is a miracle material and you know how I feel about cork: