Letter: Why do we have lawns?

(Photo by Lauren Thomas)

I don’t understand why we have lawns. They steal habitat from wildlife that need that land and its resources (food, shelter et cetera) to survive. It robs the planet of trees and plants that sequester carbon.

What is a lawn? A monoculture that is useless. It has no nutritional value to man, isn’t necessary for our survival and its maintenance threatens the biosphere because it requires enormous fossil fuel resources (gas, oil, fertilizes and pesticides).

One gallon of gas weighs six pounds. Of that, 5.5 pounds is carbon. When that one gallon is burned, the carbon attaches to oxygen in the atmosphere, creating 19 pounds of carbon dioxide (three times more pounds than the gallon of gas it came from)! It is a huge contributor to climate change.

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Please stop the insanity. A 20-to-30-foot path of lawn around a house is more than enough. Give nature a chance. We are not the only species that matters.

Misha Fredericks
Gardiner

Read more of this week’s letters.

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There are 5 comments

  1. Bill H

    I could not agree with you more! Thank you for writing about this.

    The grasses we use for our lawns are invasive species and do not grow well in North America, which is why we have to spend so much time, money, natural resources (including endless supplies of water), and toxic chemicals (pesticides, fertilizers, etc.) in order to keep them going. It’s nuts, but we are so accustomed to it that we think it is sane.

    It is really easy, and much easier in the long run, to convert much of our lawns into gardens or meadows that are lower maintenance, or at least generate food for us. And provide much needed food and habitat for wildlife big and small. And require almost zero chemicals. A lawn converted to a smarter habitat can provide food, shade, privacy, and a much more interesting property.

    Though I do miss lawn darts.

    Here is an interesting, informative read about our obsession with lawns:
    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/anthropology-in-practice/the-american-obsession-with-lawns/

  2. Jaymes Nohns

    Carbon Dioxide is consumed by plants to make oxygen, this is always touted as a pollutant, which it is not, when you exhale…..yup, its carbon dioxide….where is the logic?…..this was taught in biology…..and earth science….you remember earth science dont you Bill H.?

  3. JaneR

    That’s just silly. “They steal habitat from wildlife that need that land and its resources (food, shelter et cetera) to survive. It robs the planet of trees and plants that sequester carbon.” “Lawns” vs undeveloped acres and acres will not win out over more “natural” environs. And, how much “wildlife” do you really WANT to have on the same site as your home? (You KEEP the copperheads, thank you).

    “What is a lawn? A monoculture that is useless. It has no nutritional value to man, isn’t necessary for our survival and its maintenance threatens the biosphere because it requires enormous fossil fuel resources (gas, oil, fertilizes and pesticides).” I use a manual, me-powered mower. No gas, oil, fertilizers or pesticides. And all the bees and insects that inhabit a lawn disrupt the “monoculture” you claim lawns to be. They simply are not “monocultures.” Don’t exaggerate.

    Only small areas of lawn remain on this small property, but I love it. I love it that other people have sweeping expanses of green lawns. They’re also the people who can afford electric cars.

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