Rethinking the lawn

Lawns have been part of our existence for years.  However, in spite of being green in color, they’re not especially eco-friendly.  Consider:

  • Over 150 million litres of fuel are burned by Canadian lawn mowers annually
  • Mower engines lack the smog-reducing technology of cars so they produce far higher levels of smog-forming emissions; plus they tend to be pretty noisy
  • Cosmetic pesticides, which tend to affect a whole lot more than their intended targets, are still in use in many areas. (Surely applying poisons in the places your kids play is worth rethinking.)
  • Lawns are often fertilized with energy-intensive chemical fertilizers, and watered (lawn watering can increase summer domestic water use by 50%).  That makes them grow faster, so we can mow them even more!!

Here’s a fun and catchy three minute video on the woes of lawns – and here are some practical alternatives:

  • Plant trees and shrubs, which provide many of the same cooling and carbon-absorbing benefits of grass
  • Convert part of the lawn to a veggie garden
  • Choose a drought-tolerant grass, and don’t fertilize or water it
  • Convert some lawn into a wildlife garden to attract birds, bees, butterflies and more
  • Consider an electric mower, or if you’re a tinkerer, a solar mower
  • Leave clippings on the lawn to recycle nutrients

Summer is way too short to spend it mowing the lawn!


Take an egg for a drive

Here’s a simple, zero cost way to improve your gas mileage by 10-20%: the next time you go for a drive, take an egg and tape it under the toe of your right foot.  Then try to get where you’re going without breaking the egg.  It’s a simple trick that will produce significant savings, guaranteed.

Here’s why.  Much fuel is consumed when we speed up aggressively, and we waste our hard-won momentum when we jump on the brakes aggressively.  It’s well documented that gentle starts and gentle stops can save the average driver 10-20%.  That’s like driving over a month for free every year.

So strap on an egg.  And if you happen not to have one with you the next time you get behind the wheel, good news: it works with imaginary eggs too!