What Humboldt needs is More Grass!

Peace be with you

“And Jesus said: ‘Happy are you, Sons of Light, for you have entered into the deathless way and you walk in the path of truth, even as did your fathers of old, who were taught by the Great Ones. With the eyes and ears of the spirit do you see and hear the sights and sounds of the kingdom of the Earthly Mother: the blue sky where dwells the angel of Air, the foaming river where flows the angel of Water, the golden light which streams from the angel of Sun. And I tell you truly, all these are within you as well as without; for your breath, your blood, the fire of life within you, all are one with the Earthly Mother.

But of all these, and more, that most precious gift of your Earthly Mother is the grass beneath your feet, even that grass which you tread upon without thought. Humble and meek is the angel of Earth, for she has no wings to fly.'”

A lot has been said about global warming.  Global warming promises to cost local governments trillions of dollars, and untold lives, as the floods, wildfires, and rising coast lines increase due to the warming of the planet.  They tell us two man made activities exasperate global warming – emissions of green house gases and deforestation. The American pastime, “mowing the lawn,” both causes the most greenhouse gasses per gas consuming hour, and removes the best CO2 filtering vegetation from 50 million acres in the US.

Lawn mowing has its beginning in feudal England, when there were only serfs and lords of the land. The land lords, unlike the serfs, didn’t have to dedicate all their spare land to “breadwinning.” This meant that the English “noblemen” could afford to have serfs cut a section of their fields just to show how fucking rich they were.

During the 1950’s suburban expansion lawn mowing increased with the “a man’s home is his castle” mythology. Today 50 million acres of the US is devoted to lawns, and the majority of them are mowed.

Soon “dress codes” for city lots became the norm. It started as community codes, evolved into city codes, and became “public nuisance” charges. It was billed as a public safety issue, but it really had more to do with house speculators, and oppressive “broken window policing.”

Grass is actually better at adsorbing CO2 then are rain forests.  Rain forest are better stores of CO2s, but especially compared with older forests, a square foot of grass is better then a square foot of rain forest at absorption of CO2s.

Using a lawn mower for one hour makes as much pollution as driving 100 miles. That means with 50,000 acres, at just 4 hrs per acre to mow, is the equivalent pollution of a 20 million mile road trip – ever week during the summer. That does not include pollution from the gas edgers, gas pruners, or burning of the “clippings.”

Pesticides, herbicides, and petrochemical fertilizers are dumped on lawns in massive amounts. These petrochemicals flow down the gutters into our streams, rivers, and bays. If you just walk into any garden shop you immediately smell the chemicals they sell to spread on your lawn.

Large amounts of water are being used to “water lawns.” What is the priority here anyway? Many drought stricken areas have law against allowing water to run down the street, but no laws covering the watering of grass.

Land fills are bursting at the seams, and a lot of our exported refuge is “lawn clippings.”  There are compost areas around, but they are voluntary, and under utilized.  Leaving grass clippings on the ground eliminates the need for many petrochemicals.  Grass clippings feed the microorganisms in the soil and add nitrogen.  Compost also turns grass into useful soil.

I don’t think anywhere I have ever been I have so ably seen the results of grass mowing on the environment as Humboldt County.  Just a few years ago Humboldt’s coast was green year around, now it is a brown dead rot by early July.  Just a few years ago fields and yards were left to grow and always moist and green. Today everything is cut short, and as a result everything is dead or thirsty.

The whole belief that property values increasing has a positive effect on neighborhoods isn’t always true, and often is really a form of gentrification.  As property values go up houses are bought up in an attempt to make money.  Soon the neighbors who were in your neighborhood when you first bought are being replaced by wealthier land lords.  As these land lords call buying and selling of the same houses over and over again their “busyness,” they always have to have increasing property values.

Richer, and often snobbier neighbors, are not always either the best neighbors to have, or good to the environment. Absentee landlords tend to hire weekly gas mowing. They tend keep vegetation to minimum, use chemicals like round-up, run loud “lawn-care” tools, and spread god knows what other chemicals on their lawns.

“Lawn care” is an environment nightmare.  Besides all the concerns listed above how many gallons of hazardous waste are spilled every year trying to put gasoline in those tiny gas tanks and cans? 

The best answer is eatable landscaping, growing your grasses to seed, and leaving it where it falls once it dies!  Eatable vegetation makes the most sense. It can be cultivated by hand, and its good for you (it prevents hunger).  The cities encouraging on site composting  programs again is another step in the right direction.  Let fields, and lawns grow to encourage urban wildlife (where have all the birds gone?). 

We’re killing the Mother that bore us, the very tit on which we suckle.  We’re doing it every Saturday morning, and often WAY TOO FUCKING EARLY!  We to easily give in to pressure to conform, even if its not in our best interest. I always said “no” when my mom asked, “if all the other kids ran off a cliff?, would you run off it too?”. Give it a rest, resist the oppressive “gentrification” laws, and decide for yourself what you consider a weed and what you consider a flower.

love eternal


One Response to “What Humboldt needs is More Grass!”

  1. Kevin Hoover Says:

    With you on this one, Tad.

    As the petroleum-based food paradigm collapses, we’ll all become more locavore-ish and be healthier for it.

    It’s heartening to see how much un-utilized cultivatable lawn space there is. I did a story recently on some folks who have made their yard a farm. If everyone did this, we could reduce so much fuel expenditure, pollution and energy waste.

    Back to the sustainable future at the garden house


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