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Our Lawn – by Charner Reese, a resident of D.I.

November 6, 2013 | By More

OUR LAWN – BEAUTIFUL OR THE BANE OF OUR EXISTENCE?

By Charner Reese, a resident of Davis Islands

For decades, the goal of many families has been to own a home in suburbia with a lush yard of green grass. Now, many years later we hear that carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels is not only warming the planet and contributing to sea level rise, it’s also causing cancer from the air pollution that’s produced (Associated Press, October 18, 2013).

What are we suburbanites to do? Even though we wish the lawn maintenance companies would not arrive in our neighborhood at dinner time and disturb the peace, we can’t seem to relinquish our story that “a home surrounded by green grass” is the highest mantra.

We might be temporarily shaken when we read that human activities are increasing CO2 in the atmosphere and significantly contributing to global warming or that lung cancer is being caused by smog, but we think “One yard isn’t going to make a difference.”

But what if each of us decided to do it differently? We could decide to ask the lawn maintenance person to mow every other week during Florida’s slow growth season, from November through April, instead of every week. And during those non-mowing weeks throughout the slow growth months, the yard maintenance person could weed, mulch, selectively trim and pick up debris from the yard.

Or what if we just reduced the square footage of grass and added more gardens? Multiply that by millions of yards.

And maybe we’d decide to manage the reduced area of turf grass ourselves, rather than hiring someone else to do it and then going to the gym for exercise. Why, we might even use a broom to sweep the cuttings up instead of a blower.

Less grass might allow us the time to mow our own yard with a non-polluting reel mower and edge the grass with a non-motorized edger.

If we acted collectively, then taking one or more of these actions would add up to significant reductions in the burning of fossil fuels by lawn mowers, edgers and blowers, which are all very energy inefficient machines.

In our very own backyards, that’s how we could make a difference for Mother Earth and future generations.

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