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06 May 2014

GREEN LAWNS at WHAT PRICE?

The first picture below is my neighbors' fertilized and pesticide-sprayed lawn, notice the green, green grass.


The second picture (again, below) is fifty-yards down the street where they don't spray, yet the grass is still green there!

Violets and Dandelions! So beautiful and healing!

The empty space (dirt) is barren and dead in the first photo and filled with healing, edible and delicious plants (what we call WEEDS) in the non-sprayed lawn! 

The second lawn provides highly-nutritional food, beauty and healing; the first costs BIG BUCKS, monthly fees to the lawn service, and kills everything (for a short time period, anyway), eventually including the people, animals and insects living in and around the house--all for a green lawn.

Why does this incessant need for green lawns persist in developed countries? 

One friend even told me her homeowners association in North Carolina would FINE her if she didn't spray her lawn! Apparently, healing plants bring down property values.

Why are we so obsessed with killing weeds and green lawns, even to the point at which drought-ravaged municipalities still allow people to water their lawns, perhaps if not everyday, on alternating days, wasting what precious little water they have left on this green lawn fetish?

What about the herbicides? What is the net affect of continued spraying? They must be pretty strong to affect that empty space stopping anything from growing on it--you think of how quickly plants of all descriptions will grow on any newly dug up or otherwise harassed ground, but nothing grows in this "sterile" dirt.

Strangely "sterile" dirt with nothing growing upon it.

I feel there's a Nazi-like or even Eugenics-minded mentality towards weeds; the notion that anything diverse and different and wild and strong is somehow so threatening that we have to kill it at by any means necessary--even in suburbia where the environment has already been beaten down for many, many years, the flawed perception of continuing to subdue nature in order to provide order and manufactured beauty, instead of working with nature, thereby attaching ourselves to fragile outcomes rather than robust and (even better) anti-fragile (in the words of philosopher of Black Swan fame Nassim Taleb) relationships--aligning with mother-nature is always anti-fragile while fighting her ways always promotes fragility and aspects of "civilization" that fall apart at the slightest chaotic shakeup or environmental stressor. 

Taleb writes: 

"Man-made complex systems tend to develop cascades and runaway chains of reactions that decrease, even eliminate, predictability and cause outsized events. So the modern world may be increasing in technological knowledge, but, paradoxically, it is making things a lot more unpredictable. Now for reasons that have to do with the increase of the artificial, the move away from ancestral and natural models, and the loss in robustness owing to complications in the design of everything, the role of Black Swans is increasing." 

From Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder.

Are these Black Swans increasing rates of hormone-linked cancers, like breast and prostate? What about childhood cancers and autism? Why in the world do we spray these chemicals near and around schools?

I'd love to hear from my readers in other countries: Do similar attitudes exist toward "green lawns" and eradicating all undesirable plants? 

Do you teach children to appreciate and use the plants or do you spray poisons in the yard causing you to keep children inside for fear of toxicity as we do in much of the United States?

                        
What follows are some links, if you're so inclined, to investigate what these chemicals might be doing to our environment and ourselves.   The chart is from  www.beyondpesticides.org



An interesting examination of a common lawn herbicides from the website Rachel Carlson Council. 

A link to Poison in the Grass from www.chem-tox.com.



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