News and Events

Linda Garland, World Bamboo Pioneer

                                                                                             Photo Credit: Rio Hemli

On December 11, during a meeting of the Southern California Chapter of the American Bamboo Society, a presentation was made in recognition of designer Linda Garland of Bali, Indonesia. This was an unprecedented action, as normally this Award is given by WBO during a World Bamboo Congress, and not usual for the ABS to give such a dedication to an individual, American designer and bambusera Paulina Hermansen soulfully committed to the task to make sure this important recognition was recorded now. 

In 2009, the World Bamboo Organization initiated the Bamboo Pioneers Award. This award is a small attempt to recognize the great achievements of our contemporaries who have dedicated their lives in the pursuit of bamboo knowledge and progress. We know that living creatures all around the world depend on bamboo for their survival. We also know that for centuries, human cultures have cultivated and utilized bamboo for their daily needs and through innovation improved their livelihoods and economies. We are in awe of the myriad of discoveries and innovations of those early pioneers, and have deep appreciation and respect for the traditional cultural utilization and reverence of bamboo.

The World Bamboo Organization - in collaboration with the American Bamboo Society - wish to recognize Linda Garland as the most recent recipient of the World Bamboo Pioneer Award.  Please see the presentation video prepared by Ms. Hermansen, on our home page.

Susanne Lucas, Executive Director of the World Bamboo Organization says, " I met Linda in Japan in 1992. We were there with people from all over the world to take part in the III International Bamboo Congress in Minamata. She climbed aboard the bus we were traveling on, and joined this group of Americans and Europeans. I had never heard of her or what she was doing in Bali.

" We had the chance to talk finally, somewhere along the way later that day, and I immediately learned there was nothing casual about her interest in bamboo. She was serious about bamboo, and immediately I admired her. Aside from being in Japan to attend the conference, like the rest of us, what became very apparent was that she wanted everyone to come to Bali for the next international conference. She wanted to share her passion. She wanted to put Bali on the “bamboo map”. She wanted the world to know about the potentials of bamboo.

" In Minamata we formed a roundtable discussion group of like-minded people who saw the need to create an international association of sorts; we wanted to communicate and network and share. We talked about the next international event, and Linda said it should be in Bali. She said she could do it – she could get the government of Indonesia on board, she’d get the support of the Ministry of Environment, and she was very confident. And she did it! The IV IBC took place in 1995. It was a very important landmark event for the potential of bamboo globally. It was a massive undertaking and although she was exhausted, her efforts were monumental and timely. From then onwards, the international community of “bamboo people” solidified.

" Linda indeed showed the world what bamboo could do, and set the example of its realities. She inspired many, many people with her confidence and her abilities, her talents and her charm, and yes, she became known as the Queen of Bamboo. I’m not sure if she likes that moniker, Queen of Bamboo, but she has achieved a high rank of respect, no doubt. After the IV IBC, she realized many projects and achievements as her Environmental Bamboo Foundation became internationally recognized. Her research into preservation techniques brought advancements in the improved understanding of best management practices, and the IV IBC Proceedings were a compilation of the most recent developments in bamboo science and culture. Remember, this was well before the world-wide-web, and this kind of information was critical for bamboo to advance in modern-day applications.

" She opened her door (and her heart) to students and designers, investigators and dreamers. Bali already held mystique to many, but now it had become a bamboo mecca, thanks to Linda. People came to meet her, to talk with her, to see what she was doing. Linda pioneered a new world of bamboo – one with tradition but with technological and design innovation – and she realized the vast environmental benefits, which are so now touted to mitigate climate change. Linda is simply a visionary. Linda is a World Bamboo Pioneer like no other, and we are so grateful. Thank you, Linda. May you always feel the bamboo breeze against your cheek, thanking you for crusading for its respect and its promise, as we will all remember your valuable contribution." 

Regrettably, Linda just passed from this life on January, 3, 2017. Please read more about her extraordinary life, here.