The most unproductive crop we grow

June 25, 2013

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!

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