Trivia 032: Maybe the grass shouldn’t be greener

During the hot summer months, it’s quite nice to enjoy hanging out in a park or in your backyard, enjoying the feeling of grass between your toes. But that green grass comes at a cost. A study done by NASA in 2005 determined that lawns took up three times more acreage than corn did in the United States. That’s a lot of land for something which provides very little concrete benefits. And that’s to say nothing of the huge amounts of chemical fertilizers and lawnmower gas that goes into maintaining these perfect patches. All this makes grass the most irrigated crop in the America.

Like I explained in my recent post about rock piles, your lawn alone does not have much environmental impact. But when you consider the fact that the suburbs are filled with lawns everyone is trying to keep green, it adds up to being a very large environmental impact. Especially in the summertime, the water that goes into maintaining these lawns ends up being quite a lot.

Around the world, various countries impose restrictions on watering during the hot summer months. However, there are often exceptions granted for the worst offenders.For example, in France, some golf courses are exempt from the bans, despite the huge amounts of water they require to keep their greens, well, green. The water usage issues will continue to get worse, as climate change causes summer droughts to be longer and dryer.

If you are a homeowner, or are planning to buy a home, consider eco-friendly alternatives to a grass lawn. Herb and vegetable gardens can be decorative and functional. If you live in a desert area, try xeriscaping with rocks and native plants. If you must have a grass lawn, make sure that you are using native grass species which are adapted to the area and won’t require inordinate amounts of care to stay green. Native plants also provide food and shelter to animals.


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