Lawn: Environmental Impact
The question bares to ask, do we really need lawns? Sure they look aesthetically pleasing to some…others see their front yard as a potential for use instead of looks. In my opinion, lawns are great for some purposes I suppose, however, they can easily waste water resources if they are not properly cared for. If you live in an area that is prone to drought, then it is downright wrong. There are also negative environmental impacts to lawn care such as using a gas powered lawn mower, fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals. These can lead to adverse health impacts on children who play on lawns as well as pets, and can adversely affect the environment due to runoff.
There are many alternatives to lawns that could look just as aesthetically pleasing and require little work or resources. Perhaps native species or plants that are resistant to drought. Of course, this would require some research on the part of homeowners or the price of a professional horticulturist or landscaper.
One other alternative to lawns would be a vegetable garden. You could plant different vegetables and legumes all year round depending on your climate region. There is nothing more therapeutic for me then to tend to the garden. I love watching them grow, pulling the weeds, and most of all the harvesting. I once read that some Californian’s with decent sized backyards grew mini vineyards and sold the grapes to nearby wineries.
Some facts you might be interested in on the Lawn Environmental Impact:
Studies show that depending on the age and model, gas-powered lawn mowers can emit the same amount of pollution in one hour, as a car driven 20 to 200 miles.1 In one year, the average gas-powered lawn mower can emit the same amount of PM2.52 as the average car traveling about 3300 km.3 PM2.5 is a key component of smog and can have negative health effects on humans and the environment.4
What are your thoughts on the traditional suburban lawn?
- Particulate matter under 2.5 microns in size.
- Environment Canada, 2007, Criteria Air Contaminant Inventory.
- Environment Canada, Statistics Canada and Health Canada, 2006, Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators, Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 16-251-XIE, Ottawa.
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