Many people consider their lawns to be the crown jewels of their homes.
And the royal connotation isn’t too far off the mark — lawns first appeared around castles in England and France. Trees were cut down so the soldiers protecting the palaces could better view their surroundings.
These days, just about every neighborhood in cities across the country has rows and rows of freshly mown spaces.
Many people sacrifice their weekends so they can maintain the grass around their homes and wouldn’t think it was suburbia without a patch of green near each house, but there are some dark sides to lawn, including:
- Pollution. Maintaining a lawn takes work — and a lot of chemicals. About 10 times more pesticide, herbicide and fertilizers are used on lawns by homeowners than on crops by farmers.
And when the chemicals run off the grass, they pollute our water. Speaking of water, up to 60 percent of urban fresh water is applied to lawns, and a lot of it is wasted (covering streets and sidewalks instead of yards).
Emissions from gas-powered lawnmowers and weed-whackers also pollute the earth.
- Wildlife. Dead spaces like lawns aren’t useful to many species. Bees, butterflies and birds need places to nest, hide and eat.
And if natural habitats continue to be destroyed, these creatures could eventually cease to exist, leading to a lack of pollination and natural pest control.
But this doesn’t have to happen! In the coming weeks, we’ll cover the solution to the lawn problem, the benefits of lawn alternatives and even how to get your neighbors on board with your “natural” yard.
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