Guest laugh by David Middleton
Being that this is the time of year when I have to start spending entire weekends on yard work, I almost agree with Mr. Holthaus on this one…
This story was originally published by Grist and has been republished here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
My strategy for finding a house was probably a little different than most: I looked for the one with the smallest lawn I could find.
The privilege of homeownership is increasingly rare these days, and I wanted to make sure my little plot of land would have a net benefit to my city and the environment.
[L]awns are awful for the planet. Our addiction to lawns means that grass is the single largest irrigated agricultural “crop” in America, more than corn, wheat, and fruit orchards combined. A NASA-led study in 2005 found that there were 63,000 square miles of turf grass in the United States, covering an area larger than Georgia. Keeping all that grass alive can consume about 50 to 75 percent of a residence’s water.
Lawnmowers suck up gas and pollute the air: Every year, U.S. homeowners spill about 17 million gallons of gas while filling up mowers. We use tens of millions of pounds of chemical fertilizer and pesticides on our lawns.
All this effort, of course, isn’t cheap. Americans spend more than $36 billion every year on lawn care, 4½ times more than the annual budget of the Environmental Protection Agency.
My lawn’s days as a grass-based environmental scourge are numbered. I have big plans for my outdoor area: fruit trees, garden space, native plants. It’s small enough that this project should be manageable, even for a single parent with two small kids.Slate
However, after reading Mr. Holthaus’ rationale for getting rid of his “grass-based environmental scourge”, I am now encouraged to mow, fertilize and water my lawn more often than ever before.
If spending more money on my lawn will cut into the EPA’s budget, I’m ready to break the bank at Lowes Home Improvement and Calloway’s Nursery!
A NASA-led study in 2005 found that there were 63,000 square miles of turf grass in the United States, covering an area larger than Georgia.
Here’s an idea for Mr. Holthaus: Get Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) to write a new and improved Green New Deal Cultural Revolution Bill… Forcibly relocate all lawns to Georgia and then cover them with solar panels! Then cover Washington State with wind turbines. This would be enough solar and wind to replace coal and natural gas! Well, except on windless nights and windless cloudy days.