Friday, April 03, 2020

Lawns are the enemy!

Westmeade works to be a sustainable community!  As part of my personal journey, during this time of sheltering in place,  I have been reading Douglas Tallamy's "Nature's Best Hope" which explains why lawns are an environmental disaster and offers how we can change that! 

Here are the five reasons we should rethink our lawns!

  1. Lawns displace the natural world! use two times the land area of all parks and reserves put together in the U.S.  They have wiped out the natural wildlife corridors that once existed in our landscape.  We add 500 sq. miles of lawn every year!
  2. Water use!  In the east 30% of our water supply goes to irrigation of lawns while in the drier west it is more like 60%.  That is 32 gallos for every person EVERY DAY!
  3. Chemicals.  
    • 40% of all lawn chemicals we use in the US have been banned in other countries because they cause cancer.  A big problem for pets and children who play on the lawn regularly!
    • 40-60% of these chemicals end up in our ground water and streams where they go on disrupting that food chain by killing plants and animals in the water.
  4. Time. We spend 3 billion collective hours on our lawns every year!  Think what that would look like if it were invested in growing food and perennials that keep the ecosystem healthy, store water and put CO2 back in the soil.
  5. Lawns are not productive!  They don't 
    • produce as much O2 as the native plants which it replace
    • produce food, 
    • provide habitat (especially for native bees), 
    • store water effectively or cleanse it as it is returned to the aquifer,
    • sequester CO2
    • or create soil by pulverising the bedrock as would perennials and trees do. 
Ponder this and tomorrow we will see what we could do differently!

Nature will nurture,

Soon I will be giving our families things that Warner Park Naturalists are designing for us to do with our kids in our own backyards or parks!  This poem by Mary Oliver is exactly what happens when we focus on the natural world!

"This morning, at waterside, a sparrow flew 
to a water rock and landed, by error on the back 
of an eider duck;  lightly it fluttered off, amused.
The duck, too was not provoked, but you might say,
was laughing,

This afternoon a gull sailing over 
our house was casually scratching 
its stomach of white feathers with one 
pink foot as it flew.

Oh Lord, how shining and festive is your gift to us to us, if we
only look, and see!