Planet Gore

Get Rid of Lawns!

Another addition to the Washington Post series on what we should junk is from enviro-celeb Ed Begley Jr, (you might remember him from his starring role in the recent Census commercials). His suggestion is to take away your lawn:

One of the first things I did when I moved into my current home in Los Angeles in 1988 was to rip out the lawn. I realize that this borders on heresy: If the American Dream were a book, it’d probably have a grassy green lawn on its cover.

I have no problem with garden gnomes or lawn-jockeys, if that’s your thing. But lawns are thirsty, and in Southern California we get nearly all of our water by dipping our straw in someone else’s drink. Nationally, it’s estimated that 50 to 70 percent of residential water use goes toward landscaping, most of it to water lawns.

When I got out my shovel, though, I wasn’t just looking to conserve water. A lawn is usually composed of a single species of grass – often one that’s not local to the area – and this reduces biodiversity. If you’re looking at one yard, this isn’t a big deal, but nationwide, an estimated 20 to 30 million acres of land is covered by lawns.

Well, guess what? The United States is not all desert like Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Las Vegas. A lot of Americans use something called “rain” to water their lawns and have no need for sophisticated sprinkler systems.

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