Ditch the Lawn
“If half of American lawns were replaced with native plants, we would create the equivalent of a 20 million acre national park – nine times bigger than Yellowstone, or 100 times bigger than Shenandoah National Park.”
Where despite disparities
We all care to protect this world,
This riddled blue marble, this little true marvel
To muster the verve and the nerve
To see how we can serve
Our planet. You don’t need to be a politician
To make it your mission to conserve, to protect,
To preserve that one and only home
That is ours,
To use your unique power
To give next generations the planet they deserve.
We are demonstrating, creating, advocating
We heed this inconvenient truth, because we need to be anything but lenient
With the future of our youth.
And while this is a training,
in sustaining the future of our planet,
There is no rehearsal. The time is
Because the reversal of harm,
And protection of a future so universal
Should be anything but controversial.
So, earth, pale blue dot
We will fail you not.
Cost of Conventional American Lawns
Amount of lawn in the United States: 40.5 million acres
Total amount of money spent on lawn care: $30 billion
Percent of residential water used outside: 30 to 60%
Amount of water used daily for residential irrigation: > 7 billion gallons
Amount of fertilizers used on lawns annually: 3 million tons
Amount of synthetic pesticides used on lawns annually: > 30 thousand tons
Ratio of pesticide use per acre by the average homeowner versus the average farmer: 10 to 1
Source: Statistically Speaking: Lawns by the Numbers
by Bill Chameides | July 25th, 2008
- Natural Landscaping at EPA’s Laboratory – www.epa.gov/ne/lab/pdfs/LabLandscapeFactsheet.pdf
- Bormann, H. F., D. Balmori, and G. T. Geballe. Redesigning the American Lawn: A Search for Environmental Harmony, Second Edition. Yale University Press, New Haven. 2001.
Saving the World
Recently I hiked into a beautiful valley in the foothills west of Boulder, Colorado. It was so gorgeous that I decided to stop and sit on the east ridge for awhile. I found a big rock high on the ridge and sat surrounded by scraggly pine trees clinging to the rocks. And I could feel layer after layer of tension melt away as I sat in the afternoon sun.
As the sun dropped lower, I walked across the valley and sat under a huge old ponderosa pine on the west side of the valley. I closed my eyes and listened to the wind blowing through the grass; I felt so grateful to be in this beautiful place. The wind danced around me. Wind seemed thrilled to have one person listening and a little bit aware, if only a little.
I sat and day-dreamed about everything this valley has witnessed; dinosaurs roamed here billions of years ago when it was a swamp on the edge of an inland sea. Later the Arapaho tribe hunted and camped in the shelter of this valley. And now every weekend, thousands of people roam here in tennis shoes and hiking boots and flip flops. Many of the trails are eroding away from too much foot traffic. We risk destroying the valley we all love.
Personally I don’t believe that Mama Earth is in any real jeopardy, she will be just fine. Even though we pollute, misuse and mistreat Earth, she has proven powerful enough to shift and accommodate every change humans throw at her.
Our Earth will continue to flow and teem with life, despite our inept treatment of her. It is people who risk annihilation; it is people who need to be reminded how to live in nature’s flow. We act as if we believe we can rule over Mama Earth and bend her nature to our will, but history has proven that idea to be folly again and again. We mistreat Earth at our own peril.
We’re not killing our Earth. We’re killing ourselves.
“So, the world is fine. We don’t have to save the world—the world is big enough to look after itself. What we have to be concerned about, is whether or not the world we live in, will be capable of sustaining us in it.”