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Lawns are Killing the Planet

Lawns are Killing the Planet

Unread postby dohboi » Mon 18 May 2020, 09:45:01

To add to my series of "X is/are Killing the Planet," please welcome the abomination which is the lawn:

America’s Killer Lawns

Homeowners use up 10 times more pesticide per acre than farmers do. But we can change what we do in our own yards.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/18/opin ... ction.html
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Re: Lawns are Killing the Planet

Unread postby Ibon » Mon 18 May 2020, 18:55:55

dohboi wrote:To add to my series of "X is/are Killing the Planet," please welcome the abomination which is the lawn:

America’s Killer Lawns

Homeowners use up 10 times more pesticide per acre than farmers do. But we can change what we do in our own yards.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/18/opin ... ction.html


When I lived in South Florida while I was harnessed in the world of commerce we bought a home in a new cul de sac suburb. There were identical mail boxes out on the street and each home was sterile and manicured. My nephew visited us shortly after we moved in and when we first pulled into the street he saw the mailboxes streaming by and he said our neighborhood looked like a video game! I will always remember his comment and to this day it makes me laugh.

Anyway, our property was the only one in the entire area that removed all the grass. I landscaped with 100% natives, tropicals and fruit trees. I was a member of the International Heliconia Society back then and filled the property with heliconias and gingers and the diversity of plant species on our 1/4 acre lot was more than 1000. Including the 250 species of orchids in our screened in porch.

The neighbors gave me weird looks.

We were also the only ones in the neighborhood who opened their windows and turned off the air conditioner when late fall dropped the temperature.

South Florida is a weird place where mono culture lawns are drenched in petro chemicals and folks get boob jobs and botox and all kinds of plastic surgery. Folks move from air conditioned homes to their air conditioned cars to their air conditioned place of work. Retirees are lured to Florida because of the great weather but never seem to be out in the natural air as they stayed in air conditioning 24/7. Bizarre really.

It is a fake new world that nobody questions. Those years I felt like I was living in a freak show. My 1/4 acre lot was my therapy and it was a chaos of biodiversity. Beautiful actually.

And now here in this wilderness I kind of like to landscape with more order, putting in a few straight lines here and there. It's funny, back there in Florida the video game neighborhood forced me to landscape in pure chaos. Here in the cloud forest with so much wilderness I like straight lines when planting.

Glyphosate, the herbicide in Round Up, is something I never would consider using when I lived in Florida. Here in Panama I do use it sparingly around the common area but not on edibles.

Funny how that works out.
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Re: Lawns are Killing the Planet

Unread postby dohboi » Mon 18 May 2020, 21:53:02

Thanks for that perspective.
I'm a bit surprised the neighborhood didn't try some kind of legal action against you.
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Re: Lawns are Killing the Planet

Unread postby C8 » Tue 19 May 2020, 12:03:01

I am still waiting for you to start the "internet posts are killing the planet" thread :P
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Re: Lawns are Killing the Planet

Unread postby yellowcanoe » Tue 19 May 2020, 14:57:21

dohboi wrote:To add to my series of "X is/are Killing the Planet," please welcome the abomination which is the lawn:

America’s Killer Lawns

[i]Homeowners use up 10 times more pesticide per acre than farmers do.


I can't legally purchase pesticides for residential use here in Ontario so I get to spend a lot of time pulling weeds by hand. However, golf courses are still allowed to use them and of course farmers can use them on the crops that we will be eating.
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Re: Lawns are Killing the Planet

Unread postby dohboi » Tue 19 May 2020, 15:20:55

Interesting to hear that Canadian perspective, yc. I consider golf courses to be a similar abomination, unless they can be managed without pesticides. Still, it's land that could be much better used (or co-used?) as orchards and gardens and wildlife refuges...
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Re: Lawns are Killing the Planet

Unread postby C8 » Tue 19 May 2020, 18:08:46

yellowcanoe wrote:
dohboi wrote:To add to my series of "X is/are Killing the Planet," please welcome the abomination which is the lawn:

America’s Killer Lawns

[i]Homeowners use up 10 times more pesticide per acre than farmers do.


I can't legally purchase pesticides for residential use here in Ontario so I get to spend a lot of time pulling weeds by hand. However, golf courses are still allowed to use them and of course farmers can use them on the crops that we will be eating.


Why don't you just let the weeds go? Seems like a losing battle and if nobody can use chemicals then I doubt your neighbors would care as their lawn is probably just as bad (unless you are talking about a garden).

BTW- did you mean herbicides in your quoted statement? (you said pesticides)
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Re: Lawns are Killing the Planet

Unread postby nocar » Wed 20 May 2020, 02:15:57

Yes, golf courses and lawns are really widespread. On my walks around the neighborhood I look at lawns and see if there are any good spots to grow veggies. Sunny location is the primary requirement, and most have some good place (trees and buildings and northern slopes are the major limitations), but few make any attempt. Of course, most Swedes go away for 3-4 weeks in summer, which makes it difficult to grow edibles.

When seeing the golf courses, I imagine allotment gardens instead. Certainly lots of stuff can be grown there. Also here, golf courses use a lot of chemicals. They have signs warning about that. I believe fungicides are the main category.
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Re: Lawns are Killing the Planet

Unread postby REAL Green » Wed 20 May 2020, 04:50:15

Garden on all lawns is really just a niche. Some place within lawns a garden would be optimal but more spots would not work than work. Much more can be done especially urban garden commons where small communities can be formed. Gardening in groups allows support strategies. There might be an expanded effort to do low maintenance options like ground cover, rock gardens or learn to beautify weeds that grow up with pollinators in mind. Allowing animals to use some of the ground in animal farming strategies is another idea but animals require as much work as gardens and many spots will not work. Haying some ground offers some use but hay ground needs fertilizer and mechanical inputs, and labor. Allow orchards is a good idea. In cold climates wood lots for heat could work in places. The whole tradition of planting nonnatives is bad and is an invasive gateway so redesign landscaping traditions completely. All that landscaping cost focus on gardens and productive strategies instead. We spend money on landscaping so have that money work gardens instead.

The key would be to lower energy and chemicals by common concern and pattern land to optimum use. Localism is a key here. Adapting land means labor and more labor will results from people spending more time where they live. Put nice maintained grass where it is of use. To a point strategy of succession of leaving the lawn alone to follow its own course can be allowed but even letting this happens needs intervention at some point becuase the eventual result is often waste land. So, the best that can be done is in sweet spots put a plant strategy and in less valuable spots lower energy, chemicals, and labor to maintain the plant spaces around us with low care strategies. Less can be done but not stopped all together. All adapted lawns eventually need care or the results are waste lands of degrades space around urban areas. Land is too valuable to let go without a plan. No free lunches.
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Re: Lawns are Killing the Planet

Unread postby C8 » Wed 20 May 2020, 14:48:32

FWIW- while they are easy targets for ire, golf courses comprise the tiny fraction of land vs. farming in terms of chemicals applied per acre

What's more, golf course are on the decline already and are closing at historic rates as demographic changes reduce interest in the sport

Wave of golf course closures leaves owners stuck in the rough
More than 800 golf courses have closed in the last decade nationwide, creating a huge real estate problem.


https://www.startribune.com/wave-of-gol ... 391352721/
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Re: Lawns are Killing the Planet

Unread postby rockdoc123 » Wed 20 May 2020, 15:15:31

FWIW- while they are easy targets for ire, golf courses comprise the tiny fraction of land vs. farming in terms of chemicals applied per acre


Not all courses are bad news. I know of one that uses no chemicals (they do not spray for mosquitoes or weeds), maintained all original wet areas, removed very few original live trees and basically left natural drainage to do its job. They had to intervene one year when there was heavy floods but they have maintained Audubon status. Lots of raptors and waterfowl as well as songbirds plus coyotes, deer, moose, elk and the occasional mountain lion and bear. Compared to the ranch that is right next door the land damage is actually quite minimal.
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Re: Lawns are Killing the Planet

Unread postby yellowcanoe » Wed 20 May 2020, 15:43:46

C8 wrote:[

BTW- did you mean herbicides in your quoted statement? (you said pesticides)


The term herbicide appears to have been phased out in Canada -- it's a pesticide whether it is for killing bugs or plants.
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Re: Lawns are Killing the Planet

Unread postby dissident » Wed 20 May 2020, 16:59:54

I have a big lawn but I would never consider putting anything on it, including fertilizer. Unlike my neighbours I do not use some noisy, polluting POS lawnmower and use an electric one in mulch mode instead to avoid throwing away nutrients in the form of grass clippings.

Non-electric lawnmowers should be banned. Noise and local pollution are not freedom of expression and not some "rights". People aren't allowed to keep livestock in their backyards so clearly "rights" are only a selective concern.

Having a golf course lawn is idiotic. Let the lawn change its composition from some high maintenance selected grass to a spectrum of "weeds" that better reflect the soil and moisture conditions. It will then not need endless irrigation. As long as it is mowed, grasses will dominate and it will look good unless you have a green carpet fetish.
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Re: Lawns are Killing the Planet

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Fri 12 Jun 2020, 02:36:03

C8 wrote:FWIW- while they are easy targets for ire, golf courses comprise the tiny fraction of land vs. farming in terms of chemicals applied per acre

What's more, golf course are on the decline already and are closing at historic rates as demographic changes reduce interest in the sport

Wave of golf course closures leaves owners stuck in the rough
More than 800 golf courses have closed in the last decade nationwide, creating a huge real estate problem.


https://www.startribune.com/wave-of-gol ... 391352721/

With morbid obesity /obesity / videogames and browsing on the rise, and busy, successful people more into power-walking, serious weight training, and mainly time efficiency for all things, including exercise, I can't say I'm surprised.

Plus in cities, just imagine how much money they can get for selling prime golf course land for space for more malls, more houses, etc. :roll:

...

Land use is a sore spot with me. My city, Lexington, KY used to have a LOT of very beautiful horse farms in the outskirts and near the city. So many it made our area somewhat unique, and known for the horses. A tragic/huge amount of them are gone, but we have a HELL of a lot of housing spread, lots more shopping, lots more roads and traffic, etc. (like any random city). :-x
Given the track record of the perma-doomer blogs, I wouldn't bet a fast crash doomer's money on their predictions.
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Re: Lawns are Killing the Planet

Unread postby REAL Green » Fri 12 Jun 2020, 05:44:49

Outcast_Searcher wrote:
C8 wrote:FWIW- while they are easy targets for ire, golf courses comprise the tiny fraction of land vs. farming in terms of chemicals applied per acre
Land use is a sore spot with me. My city, Lexington, KY used to have a LOT of very beautiful horse farms in the outskirts and near the city. So many it made our area somewhat unique, and known for the horses. A tragic/huge amount of them are gone, but we have a HELL of a lot of housing spread, lots more shopping, lots more roads and traffic, etc. (like any random city). :-x


The car culture of growth is making the world homogenized. It is defining every square inch of the world. The alternative is degrowth. Smart growth is still growth and growth is the problem. At a minimum we should call into question the car culture of growth and realize it is a trap. To fix it we kill it. The consequences of degrowth is poverty at least for the majority. The rich and connected will manage to hold on to wealth relatively which is same as it always was. The car culture of growth will destroy itself eventually so a smart policy would be adaptive degrowth. Realize degrowth is inevitable and start creating strategies of adaptation within the context of poverty. The trap is behavioral because no platform can sell degrowth which is poverty. It is political suicide. The result for the rational person is put your seat belt on for a bumpy ride.
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Re: Lawns are Killing the Planet

Unread postby dohboi » Fri 12 Jun 2020, 06:31:39

One of the advantages of a growth economy to the rich is that the majority for a while could feel that they had a chance to increase their economic status without the wealth being redistributed to them from the wealthy. More recently, nearly all the benefits of growth have gone to the super wealthy.

To (rightly) embrace degrowth, as you do, means that you also have to be in favor of re-redistribution of wealth back to the least wealthy, in order to prevent hundreds of millions from falling below minimally humane conditions.

Discuss... :)
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Re: Lawns are Killing the Planet

Unread postby Ibon » Fri 12 Jun 2020, 08:25:36

dohboi wrote:One of the advantages of a growth economy to the rich is that the majority for a while could feel that they had a chance to increase their economic status without the wealth being redistributed to them from the wealthy. More recently, nearly all the benefits of growth have gone to the super wealthy.

To (rightly) embrace degrowth, as you do, means that you also have to be in favor of re-redistribution of wealth back to the least wealthy, in order to prevent hundreds of millions from falling below minimally humane conditions.

Discuss... :)


Counter intuitively, it is exactly when the economy goes into recession and there is less aggregate wealth that we see the opportunity for more equitable wealth distribution. The recession of the 30's and the New Deal legislated social security and collective bargaining and other similar policies that reduced income inequality.

We are entering a synergistic period when once again we will see social initiatives gain traction.

The Bottom Line
The New Deal policies implemented by Roosevelt went a long way in helping to reduce income inequality in America. But with regard to the task of reviving an economy in crisis, the New Deal is considered by many to have been a failure.

While debates continue as to whether the interventions were too much or too little, many of the reforms from the New Deal, such as Social Security, unemployment insurance, and agricultural subsidies, still exist to this day.16 If anything, the legacy of the New Deal is that it has helped to create greater equality and welfare in America.


https://www.investopedia.com/articles/i ... w-deal.asp
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Re: Lawns are Killing the Planet

Unread postby REAL Green » Fri 12 Jun 2020, 10:25:14

dohboi wrote:To (rightly) embrace degrowth, as you do, means that you also have to be in favor of re-redistribution of wealth back to the least wealthy, in order to prevent hundreds of millions from falling below minimally humane conditions. Discuss... :)


Degrowth and redistribution will go hand in hand but often in a haphazard way. There are tradeoffs with both ways and the devil is in the details with finding the sweet spot. Take for example the Bernie crowd and their ideas. They are going to redistribute to their people creating a new wealth class. Will it be less of a parasitic class than the current one? Maybe but it is also possible the Bernie plan would damage the economy more and leave little net redistribution to those in need and only help out the newly created wealth class. I am not saying this is the case. I think this is a big unknown with lots of other circumstances in play but the point is consequences and tradeoff are part of the trap of the gradient of decline.

What is all too apparent now is the dysfunctional and irrational of the markets that remain elevated when they should be in decline yet, this is creating a wealth effect and economic activity. What happens if a socialistic platform crushes the markets? Then what is going to be the heartbeat of economic activity in a system so far into dysfunction? I do not think a Green New Deal with MMT is going to create the economic activity those peddling this say it will. One needs only look at Europe and see the boost to growth is minimal with green policy. Some Green New Deal with some MMT might work but looking at the diminishing returns to debt additions currently. This points to a failure of more of the same of financial repression and easing. It is not working now but without it there is a black hole.

So degrowth is essential to solve problems and degrowth will create new ones which is a Catch 22. Honest science says continued status quo of car culture growth is heading for a limit and decline. This means both approaches of growth or degrowth will be destructive. Time is the issue so there is an opportunity cost. If we embrace degrowth now we get to the pain sooner but maybe the pain is less. Yet, continued growth means problems and new infrastructure are being built that could end up not built. A serious policy of degrowth might collpase everything. That is an unknown but appears possible.

Which redistribution strategy is the best? That probably will depend on which economic strategy is embraced. The reality is car culture growth is firmly in charge and will only be modified by active policy on the margins but nature will alter it at the foundation at some point. So, getting back to redistribution it depends. If we stick with the current approach redistribution will be trickle down with the trickle turning to a drip. If Bernie socialism gets a chance maybe on balance more will be better off but there will be a new wealth class created mainly becuase money, power, and connections breeds privilege. Somebody will be in charge and grease somebodies’ palms. I see a decline process with both approaches experiencing failure becuase they are both selling success. Selling success when there is only failure means irrational and dysfunction. A rational degrowth policy admitting poverty and embracing it now in my opinion would be the best way forward but without a doubt dead on arrival. No platform can sell it.
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Re: Lawns are Killing the Planet

Unread postby dohboi » Fri 12 Jun 2020, 15:28:36

Ib wrote: "it is exactly when the economy goes into recession and there is less aggregate wealth that we see the opportunity for more equitable wealth distribution"

Usually true, but not this time, from what Ive been reading

RG--have you ever heard of the group/movement 'Riot For Austerity'?
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Re: Lawns are Killing the Planet

Unread postby REAL Green » Fri 12 Jun 2020, 16:02:03

dohboi wrote:RG--have you ever heard of the group/movement 'Riot For Austerity'?


I will check into it. Thanks
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