Ever since the 1950s, when color television brought us pictures from Augusta of the immaculate turf at The Masters golf championships, Americans have sought equivalent lawns. We shear our lawns and pamper them with chemicals and water, but the end result is almost always the same: the beauty is but surface deep and they remain ecological deserts. Short grass requires more water to keep from turning brown. Gas-powered lawnmowers lack catalytic converters, and according to the EPA, one can release the same pollution in an hour as 11 cars being driven for an hour. Excess fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides wash into the watershed, with downstream consequences to wildlife, some of which become food sources and return to haunt our own health.
What we can do:
- Reduce lawn size with other plant beds and consider landscaping with native plants, wildflowers, and mulch to minimize maintenance and create habitat spaces.
- Replace grass with clover, which needs little water and no herbicides … and can bring a constant supply of luck.
- Look into electric lawnmower options.