# Lawns

#### Perfectly Normal Beast

##### the storm is here
[FONT=Verdana,sans-serif]some of the reasons lawns suck:[/FONT][FONT=Verdana,sans-serif]

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[FONT=Verdana,sans-serif]The conventional approach of landscaping with turf and ornamentals impacts biodiversity in two ways: 1) it limits the diversity of native species in areas dominated by turf and ornamentals, and 2) it can impact surrounding natural environments, altering habitats in ways that exclude native plants and animals.[/FONT][FONT=Verdana,sans-serif]Let’s first look within the city limits.[/FONT][FONT=Verdana,sans-serif]How do turfgrass lawns and non-native ornamental plants impact [/FONT][FONT=Verdana,sans-serif]urban[/FONT][FONT=Verdana,sans-serif]biodiversity[/FONT][FONT=Verdana,sans-serif]? Simply put, landscapes dominated by turfgrass and non-native ornamental plants create an artificial environment that offers very little opportunity for most native species to thrive. A monoculture of turfgrass infused with non-native ornamentals excludes native plants and provides little to no habitat for most wildlife.[/FONT][FONT=Verdana,sans-serif]Think about the vast amount of land devoted to turf, both for growing the sod and the amount of sod that occurs on the landscape as urban lawns. One estimate indicates that four million acres of managed turfgrass occurs in Florida, with 75 percent of these as residential lawns (Nagata, 2003). Such acreage limits the amount of natural habitat, thus decreasing urban habitat diversity and ultimately native species diversity.[/FONT]
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Approximately 50-70 percent of our residential water is used for landscaping, most of it to water lawns, which total approximately 20-30 million acres in the United States. And the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that nearly 70 million pounds of active pesticide ingredients are applied to suburban lawns each year, helping to make polluted runoff the single largest source of water pollution nationwide, affecting ground water, lakes and streams, wildlife, and human health. A 1995 EPA compilation of state data collected in 1994 showed that urban runoff contributed to damage in more than 26,000 river and stream miles. And the use of gas-powered lawn mowers contributes five percent of the nation's air pollution. A gas-powered lawnmower emits 11 times the air pollution of a new car.
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[FONT=Verdana,sans-serif]According to the EPA, 95% of the pesticides used on residential lawns are[/FONT][FONT=Verdana,sans-serif] possible or probable carcinogens. In 1989 the National Cancer[/FONT][FONT=Verdana,sans-serif] Institute reported children develop leukemia six times more often when[/FONT][FONT=Verdana,sans-serif] pesticides are used around their homes. The American Journal of[/FONT][FONT=Verdana,sans-serif] Epidemiology found that more children with brain tumors and other cancers[/FONT][FONT=Verdana,sans-serif] had been exposed to insecticides than children without. Studies by the[/FONT][FONT=Verdana,sans-serif] National Cancer Society and other medical researchers have discovered a[/FONT][FONT=Verdana,sans-serif] definite link between fatal non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (NHL) and exposure to[/FONT][FONT=Verdana,sans-serif] triazine herbicides (like Atrazine), phenoxyacetic herbicides (2,4-D),[/FONT][FONT=Verdana,sans-serif] organophosphate insecticides (Diazinon), fungicides, and fumigants; all of[/FONT][FONT=Verdana,sans-serif] which have uses as lawn chemicals.[/FONT][FONT=Verdana,sans-serif]
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[/FONT][FONT=Verdana,sans-serif]Most people seriously overestimate the amount of protection given them by[/FONT][FONT=Verdana,sans-serif] governments regarding pesticide safety. Congress found that 90% of the[/FONT][FONT=Verdana,sans-serif] pesticides on the market lack even minimal required safety screening. Of[/FONT][FONT=Verdana,sans-serif] the 34 most used lawn pesticides, 33 have not been fully tested for human[/FONT][FONT=Verdana,sans-serif] health hazards. If any tests are done, they are performed by the[/FONT][FONT=Verdana,sans-serif] chemical manufacturers, not the EPA. "If a chemical company wanted to, they[/FONT][FONT=Verdana,sans-serif] could start with a desired conclusion, and skew the data, and the EPA would[/FONT][FONT=Verdana,sans-serif] never know", notes David Welch, an entomologist with the EPA's Office of[/FONT][FONT=Verdana,sans-serif] Pesticide Programs.[/FONT]
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[FONT=Verdana,sans-serif]During World War II, women became the focus of lawn-care companies in the absence of their husbands and sons. The lawn was promoted as a necessary means by which women could help support their male family members and American patriotism as a whole. The image of the lawn changed from focusing on technology and manhood to emphasizing aesthetic pleasure and the health benefits derived from its maintenance; it was assumed that women would not respond positively to images of efficiency and power. The language of these marketing campaigns still intended to imbue the female population with notions of family, motherhood, and the duties of a wife; it has been argued that this was done so that it would be easier for men returning from war to resume the roles their wives had taken over in their absence. This was especially apparent in the 1950s and 1960s, when lawn-care rhetoric emphasized the lawn as a husband's responsibility and as a pleasurable hobby when he retired[/FONT][FONT=Verdana,sans-serif]
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[/FONT][FONT=Verdana,sans-serif]The lawn aesthetic in Europe and Australia seems to exhibit the same cultural tendencies as a representation of order, power over nature, patriotism, and suburban family life while still adhering to other gender constructs present throughout the world's suburbs.[/FONT]
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thread inspired by: you know who you are

#### Cherry Cola

##### Banned
thank you I have long since hated lawns with a passion no jk

#### Architect

##### Professional INTP
Lawns are derivative of 18th century Enlightenment which was was when mankind had finally established some control over nature. It's the ultimate expression of our manifest destiny. All Prometheans should have a lawn.

Actually lawns are nothing but psychology. What I said above is true, and the present day backlash against lawns are the result of a modern era "back to nature" ludditism. Makes sense, now that we've really conquered nature (excepting the occasional major storm, volcano or earthquake (and we even have mitigations against those) we can feel bad about our "lost connection with nature"

#### Cherry Cola

##### Banned
I don't give a fuck about nature, lawns and similar phenomena are just a huge waste of many different kinds of resources.

Not to deny your analysis, seems spot on

#### nanook

##### a scream in a vortex
lawns are not nature, they are symbols of the castration of nature.

not being able to appreciate nature is indicative of a dissociative state of mind. ego sees only what it can make use off. nature is useless. lawns are useful as status or persona ("Promethean"?!?) symbols.

[bimgx=400]http://i.imgur.com/iAc48fB.jpg[/bimgx]

#### Cherry Cola

##### Banned
humankind reigns!

biodiversity is overrated anyway

does that 40% even compensate for all the species which would have died out without humans?

IMHO which should slowly phase out most carnivores, they cause a lot of unnecessary suffering, that they are cool and that it's just nature are not valid arguments against the fact that they should be exterminated

fuck the circle of life

#### Perfectly Normal Beast

##### the storm is here
does that 40% even compensate for all the species which would have died out without humans?

i don't know but these figures will add some perspective:

according to this 100 to 1000 species per million are lost per year and according to this the background extinction rate is approximately one per million species per year.

btw half is 50% :P

#### computerhxr

##### Village Idiot
I know that everyone around here is complaining about the wolves eating their dogs. They are way smarter than [house] dogs, so they lure them to the fence and then pull them through. Humans should support nature, not isolate it (or castrate it as nanook puts it).

It's the world balancing itself back out. Nature always pushes for homeostasis.

Farmers and ranchers have been destroyed. Big farmers cross pollinate smaller farms with their proprietary genetics, and then sue them for infringement. Cattle ranchers are being bullied out of existence. Isolated lawns with no variety is destructive and unnatural.

#### computerhxr

##### Village Idiot
Is there really such a thing as extinction? Given enough time and the right conditions, the species will express itself in the same genetic form again in the future. All goes along the theme of balance.

#### Cherry Cola

##### Banned
then we can wait for a while whereafter we kill em again, wouldn't it be awfully awesome to have new predators evolve? aren't ya'll tired of fucken cats and bears and shit?

#### Architect

##### Professional INTP
I don't give a fuck about nature, lawns and similar phenomena are just a huge waste of many different kinds of resources.

Actually that's worth checking. Do you know how much food is wasted? I can't remember the percentage but it's enormous, something like half of all edible food (in the US at least) is thrown out. You can see it at the local grocery stores. Stuff expires, gets a little bruised or whatever, gone. Restaurants produce an enormous amount of waste, only a fraction makes it into customers stomachs.

My point is that you have to be extremely cautious about making generalizations about waste, and look at hard numbers. The visible forms of waste are usually far outnumbered by the not visible. I would suspect that lawns are a small piece of the pie.

yeah we really have conquered the bitch. i guess "lost connection with" means "killed half of all wildlife in the last 40 yrs".

Lawns kill wildlife? Then why do I get gophers and deer all over it. Anyhow 99.99% of all species on earth have gone extinct so that's not new.

lawns are not nature, they are symbols of the castration of nature.

That's what I said.

Anyhow, the biggest waste is worrying about such things. Why don't you go do something useful with your energy instead of worrying about lawns? People will have them or not as they please. Go invent something new and give back to the world instead of criticizing it.

#### computerhxr

##### Village Idiot
Anyhow, the biggest waste is worrying about such things. Why don't you go do something useful with your energy instead of worrying about lawns? People will have them or not as they please. Go invent something new and give back to the world instead of criticizing it.

Some of us are...

Interlocking Hex Communities (underground dwellings):

[BIMG]http://i1375.photobucket.com/albums/ag448/computerhxr/community_zpsdbb3b42e.png[/BIMG]

They would look something like this...

Goats and free-range animals would mow the lawn and fertilize the environment. Dwellings would not negatively affect the ecosystem. Could still have running water and modern technology.

#### Animekitty

##### baby marshmallow born today
i live in a desert
lawns wastes water

american dream barbecue

#### redbaron

##### irony based lifeform
It's applicable to any monoculture ecosystem really.

Lawns are monoculture. Monoculture means little to no biodiversity. Lack of biodiversity means opportunistic flora and fauna (weeds and pests) thrive. Pesticides are used to try and control them, which contaminates soil and further damages biodiversity.

Happens all over the world. Crops get infested by locusts because they promote opportunistic monoculture by nature. Natural forest and bushland are turned into "recreation reserves" and in the process, large quantities of underbrush are destroyed, meaning small insects and ants find it harder to live, smaller birds have less food and hiding places from larger birds (and so on). So here in Australia where there's parks, you basically see only high-nesting, large and/or territorial/opportunistic birds. A few crow variants, starlings, non-native minors, then sparrows and non-native pigeons.

It's very rare to see large quantities of native birds or a diverse range of them around, which is quite sad really. The thing is there's no reason to turn bushland into a field of mowed grass. I'd say it's infinitely more exciting and healthy for children to go for a walk through beautiful and native forest than to visit a round field ringed by a metal fence. Ugh.

Also the way most lawns are implemented they look like utter trash. Boring, uniform and lifeless. At least plant or grow something with a function. Plant a tree, grow some herbs or vegetables. Such a waste of good soil to use it for a bunch of grass. Seriously, grass!

#### computerhxr

##### Village Idiot
I wouldn't trust any research conducted by the WWF.

World Wrestling Federation?

Haha! I agree, you can't trust them. They are extremely biased.

#### Pyropyro

##### Magos Biologis
I find lawns weird. You can't eat the things growing on it or at least raise plants that can act as natural fences.

They can at least make good grazing areas for goats though which is nice.

#### Architect

##### Professional INTP
There's also an element of American elitism going on here. Because in the US we can easily afford a lawn - a sign of useless conspicuous consumption - we can also show how enlightened we are by proclaiming how much we hate it.

Consider Germany. Over there having a personal gardening space or a loan is a rare commodity. So much that they have community gardens where there are waiting lists to get in. Most people live in apartments. Those who are well off enough to have lawns take meticulous care of them and appear to have no compunctions about it. When I was over there I had friends who were very proud of their personal little plot.

Same thing in Japan. They have a special type of grass - Zoysia, which is a wonderful grass. It grows very tightly and in slowly so need very little care and not much water. A Japanese manicured garden is a beautiful thing.

Do I love lawns? Not particularly, but a well kept one is nice to see. I do know that putting in landscaping is expensive, easily upwards of $100k around these parts, and grass is one of the cheapest options. #### Pyropyro ##### Magos Biologis There's also an element of American elitism going on here. Because in the US we can easily afford a lawn - a sign of useless conspicuous consumption - we can also show how enlightened we are by proclaiming how much we hate it. We do have some US influence so we have lawns too but they are filled with carabao grass (which is great for grazing). Lawns can be useful if you use nature's lawnmower (goats) to trim them. Goats taste good when cooked properly. You can even feed water buffaloes or cows if the space is large enough. Consider Germany. Over there having a personal gardening space or a loan is a rare commodity. So much that they have community gardens where there are waiting lists to get in. Most people live in apartments. Those who are well off enough to have lawns take meticulous care of them and appear to have no compunctions about it. When I was over there I had friends who were very proud of their personal little plot. Heh, looks like your friends and I will get along well. I suggest they raise orchids since you can simply hang them on walls when you are deprived of space. Same thing in Japan. They have a special type of grass - Zoysia, which is a wonderful grass. It grows very tightly and in slowly so need very little care and not much water. A Japanese manicured garden is a beautiful thing. Do I love lawns? Not particularly, but a well kept one is nice to see. I do know that putting in landscaping is expensive, easily upwards of$100k around these parts, and grass is one of the cheapest options.

I like well-kept gardens. It's the monochromatic lawns that is an eyesore. I prefer having bougainvillea's pink or hibiscus' red here and there rather than looking at a sea of green.

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#### EyeSeeCold

##### lust for life
It's crazy to me that even if you wanted to do something about it that you could be stopped by a HOA agreement. Our state passed a protection bill but it isn't absolute.

Personally I think desert xeriscaping can have aesthetic appeal, plus you can probably hide peyote in there somewhere.

#### Pyropyro

##### Magos Biologis
It's crazy to me that even if you wanted to do something about it that you could be stopped by a HOA agreement. Our state passed a protection bill but it isn't absolute.

Personally I think desert xeriscaping can have aesthetic appeal, plus you can probably hide peyote in there somewhere.

You gonna go Carlos Castaneda all over us ESC?

#### redbaron

##### irony based lifeform
Architect said:
Consider Germany. Over there having a personal gardening space or a loan is a rare commodity. So much that they have community gardens where there are waiting lists to get in. Most people live in apartments. Those who are well off enough to have lawns take meticulous care of them and appear to have no compunctions about it.

Yeah except they actually grow things other than a useless patch of grass that does nothing but promote monoculture, while using further damaging pesticides in the process. They actually take care of their gardens.

The reason they "accept" what little greenery they have is because they completely destroyed all of their natural habitat in the first place. Germans are more frequently spending their holidays in the places in Europe where they can be in natural forest. There's recently been a huge influx of Baltic tourists to areas of Macedonia and its bordering countries, precisely because they can offer more nature than a patch of garden. They also visit Scandinavia for much the same reason.

If anything the situation in Germany is entirely an argument against the points you're trying to make.

#### Architect

##### Professional INTP
Yeah except they actually grow things other than a useless patch of grass that does nothing but promote monoculture, while using further damaging pesticides in the process. They actually take care of their gardens.

Were you there? I saw a lot of unkempt plots too.

The reason they "accept" what little greenery they have is because they completely destroyed all of their natural habitat in the first place. Germans are more frequently spending their holidays in the places in Europe where they can be in natural forest. There's recently been a huge influx of Baltic tourists to areas of Macedonia and its bordering countries, precisely because they can offer more nature than a patch of garden. They also visit Scandinavia for much the same reason.

So, Germans who have no property like to garden, and that's because they destroyed their land? Where did you get that ... Germany was destroyed by the war mostly, they're still digging up bombs (dug up an unexploded one at the train station when I was last there). Besides which where's the destroyed land? I spent my time in Southern Germany, it's probably more industrialized in the north but I was never far from a forest. From the air it was farmland and forest. Your point is lost.

And I have a friend who spends his summer in Italy. It has better weather than Germany, I understand. Surprise, he likes to go there. I understand Americans like to travel out of their state too for vacation, must be a deep shame of California which causes that.

You're talking about things you don't really understand. The situation in Germany is entirely an argument against the points you're trying to make.

Whatever, you're just deciding to be a jerk again.

#### Cherry Cola

##### Banned
Actually that's worth checking. Do you know how much food is wasted? I can't remember the percentage but it's enormous, something like half of all edible food (in the US at least) is thrown out. You can see it at the local grocery stores. Stuff expires, gets a little bruised or whatever, gone. Restaurants produce an enormous amount of waste, only a fraction makes it into customers stomachs.

My point is that you have to be extremely cautious about making generalizations about waste, and look at hard numbers. The visible forms of waste are usually far outnumbered by the not visible. I would suspect that lawns are a small piece of the pie.

I never thought it was a huge waste compared to the stuff you list, but it's still a huge waste. Two wrongs don't make a right.

Besides lawns are symbolic of everything that is wrong with SJ's which makes them all the more important to combat.

#### Perfectly Normal Beast

##### the storm is here
IMHO which should slowly phase out most carnivores, they cause a lot of unnecessary suffering, that they are cool and that it's just nature are not valid arguments against the fact that they should be exterminated

if we're going to start phasing out species on the basis of how much unnecessary suffering they cause then fucking humanity is going to be first in line. good, let the genocide commence.

Lawns kill wildlife? Then why do I get gophers and deer all over it. Anyhow 99.99% of all species on earth have gone extinct so that's not new.

ugh, i can't be bothered wasting my time untangling your webs of nonsense.

#### redbaron

##### irony based lifeform
Just going to bring this thread back to biodiversity and its importance since that's what it really was intended to be about.

Seeing a deer in a garden means nothing. Large mammals are not bio-indicators. They're too far along in the cycle to the point that effects on their behaviour and physiology as a result of pollutants in the ecosystem they live in are not apparent until the process has already become close to irreversible. It's important that people have some understanding of what a bio-indicator is.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioindicator

Failing to see the importance of biodiversity is an incredibly common and horribly misinformed mindset. Exhaustive farming and exploiting native ecosystems actually leads to irreversible processes that increase the salinity of soil, to the point that it's completely infertile and can no longer be used for crops. It's already become a huge problem in Australia.

On soil salinity.

The thing is that the term "lawns" in this context is really a euphemism for "monoculture".

Creating a monoculture inherently attracts opportunistic mono-species. The presence of competitive and opportunistic mono-species destroys the potential for biodiversity. With no biodiversity you lose the potential for healthy competition. With no competition, you lose genetic diversity that typically results from inter-species competition. Without that the entire area of monoculture and mono-species become susceptible to diseases of all kinds, be it fungal, bacterial or viral.

So you combine this with the fact that humans are exploiting land to the point that salinity levels rise exponentially until finally the land is dead. The topsoil is too saline for anything to grow and it just becomes a patch of dirt. Which leaves it susceptible to erosion since there's no roots growing to hold it together. The topsoil then blows away and leaves nothing but a wasteland and you're left with a narrow range of species all susceptible to diseases and living with few resources (if they even live at all at this point).

Biodiversity is as much about humans as it is other species. Sadly though it's not surprising when people don't realise its importance because like deer - we're large, opportunistic mammals. In an ecological context we're near the very end of the cycle, where effects don't become noticeable until the irreversible process has already taken place. In our day to day lives there's not much indicator that our ecosystem has been irreparably damaged until the effects have really started to take place.

So in spite of the overwhelming amount of scientific evidence for the importance of biodiversity to the future existence of every living species on the face of the planet, it's all too easy to just ignore it because one sees wildlife in the garden.

#### The Gopher

##### President
Lawns kill wildlife? Then why do I get gophers and deer all over it. Anyhow 99.99% of all species on earth have gone extinct so that's not new.

Because I am monitoring your actions.

#### Cæilon

##### Searching for Ràilona
I don't have a lawn anymore and I miss lying on the grass on a hot summer's day, staring at the clouds in a moment of pure bliss.

#### Fukyo

##### blurb blurb

Biology isn't a "real" science, young'n.

#### redbaron

##### irony based lifeform
I know you're joking but it's actually more to do with geology and chemistry than anything else.

Besides I don't listen to phones

#### Cognisant

##### Prolific Member
Step 1: We should all live underground with hydroponic skyscrapers above us that do nothing but recycle our waste and grow more food than we could ever possibly eat, then when the world's population explodes from an abundance of food we dig deeper and build higher.

Step 2: Classified.

Step 3: Profit.

#### OrLevitate

##### Banned
Personally I find architect's assertions to be the undisputed truth, but good luck informing you all of it.

#### somebodiesfool

##### Member
sounds like a definite need for some high quality h2o