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My Township Calls My Lawn 'A Nuisance.’ But I Still Refuse to Mow It


#1

My Township Calls My Lawn 'A Nuisance.’ But I Still Refuse to Mow It.

Sarah Baker

A mutilated garter snake, a sliced frog and countless slashed grasshoppers. That was the scene of carnage in my yard in September, after local officials ordered me to mow my overgrown lawn or be fined $1,000. Three months earlier, I had stopped mowing my nearly one acre of country land in a rural Ohio town. A diverse potpourri of plants began to flourish, and a rich assortment of insects and animals followed.


#2

Methinks the author needs to research the legal concept of implicit consent. While she is correct in her assessment of the damages caused by "manicured lawns," she should use more effective strategies to make her point...or else leave the area and join us out in the country, where natural lawns are a valued asset.


#3

This article is filled with key, interrelated facts that are never publicized on "public service announcements" through corporatist media:

"There are 40.5 million acres of lawn in the United States, more than double the size of the country’s largest national forest..."

"About 95 percent of the natural landscape in the lower 48 states has been developed into cities, suburbs and farmland.

"... the global population of vertebrate animals, from birds to fish, has been cut in half during the past four decades."

"Honey bees, which we depend on to pollinate our fruits and other crops, have been dying off at an unsustainable rate. Because one in three bites of food you take requires a pollinating insect to produce it, their rapid decline is a threat to humanity."

"Monarch butterflies have been even more affected, with their numbers dropping 90 percent since the 1990s. Butterflies are an important part of the food chain, so ecologists have long used them to measure the health of ecosystems."

"Nature preserves and parks are not enough to fix the problem; much of wildlife is migratory and needs continuous habitat to thrive. Natural yards can act as bridges between the larger natural spaces."

"The emissions from lawnmowers and other garden equipment are responsible for more than 5 percent of urban air pollution. An hour of gas-powered lawn mowing produces as much pollution as four hours of driving a car. Americans use 800 million gallons of gas every year for lawn equipment, and 17 million gallons are spilled while refueling mowers — more than was leaked by the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989."

"Homeowners use up to 10 times more chemicals per acre on their lawns than farmers use on crops, chemicals that can end up in drinking water and waterways."


#4

Here's a beautiful inspiring project in Tacoma WA to turn some of that 40 million acres of US lawn into community food production:

http://www.hilltopurbangardens.com/


#5

You just repeated her article word for word. Is there a point to doing that? People can read for themselves. It's just wasting space.


#6

There is the curious reality that you may enter into inadvertent or rather involuntary satire in that your's is a case where a person may be arrested for not mowing the lawn. Is that for real? Apparently so I guess. Only in America!

Please be careful if the police show up and draw their weapons. Do not make any sudden moves like picking daisies! Especially by not blowing on a dandelion which could provide an excuse for the police to shoot because they feel threatened by the approach of potentially dangerous dandelion fluff!


#7

I laughed at the excellent humor. Then I remembered from the photo that her partner is black...


#8

In the military, we were fined if we did not mow our lawn in housing areas. As a civilian, I changed my front lawn into a nice zen like rock garden with flowering cactuses, blooming aloe and century plants. No watering or mowing needed and little maintenance required.


#9

Wait, aren''t you the person who asked me not to reply personally to your posts? Apparently you were not actually serious about that!

Anyway, thank you for your instruction, even though you are wrong.


#11

Yes well, I was still intentionally being humorous (I hope). God help us if his race becomes the cause of death for not mowing the lawn. What has become of us?


#12

I see so you admit to willingly subverting lawns? Lawn subversion is a serious crime and will be dealt with harshly! Your name will now be entered into the list of known and suspected Non Mowers and other persons of interest believed to have connections to or whom support the infamous "I like to blow on Dandelions" radical group! Furthermore be warned that running around dressed in butterfly wings and chanting 'Milkweed is for Butterflies" and "Milkweed is my kind of weed" is prohibited without a license and the example of the mayor's five year old granddaughter flapping through the township should not be taken as prima facie evidence of compliance. She nearly got arrested btw so watch it.


#13

Sarah I am with you 100%. Have not mowed the lawn in 15 years or since my daughters went off to college. The benefits of not mowing take years to realize. I cut with a scythe hopefully twice a year but control what grows by cutting some plants I do not want and allowing the ones I want to flower and go to seed. Once cut I rake and remove mountains of vegetation to the compost pile or use as straw or hay for small animals and mulch for the garden. I now have patches of Plantain for insect bites and rashes, comfrey known as bone knit for injuries, chamomile for tea and a great aromatic, St John's wort for arthritis and joint pain, thistle for the nerves and if I am lucky can find the best wild strawberries tucked away in the grass all provided free by mother nature. I will not even mention the benefit of being in the out of doors and doing some very pleasant exercise. I will say there is good food to eat found right out your door with no trouble as nature does all the work.

Of course, this comes with labels of too poor to own a mower, lazy person, must be drunk all the time and crazy hippie. Works for me as I see my neighbors gobble up their spare time sitting on a very expensive zero turn mower. I wave as I go by with the canoe on top heading to a river to fish or work my way through some rapids.

To Mr Heins- that which you call lawn is called here a patch of grass. Here especially along the coast people mow 20-30 acres and call it their lawn. I mean what good is it if you can not practice your golf swing on the back 40.


#14

"Instead of putting nature in its place, we need to find our place in nature."

Great line, Ms. Baker and wonderful article.

Where I live, lots of old retired men sit astride their "lawn warrior" chariots as if the only thing that gives their lives meaning is controlling the growth of grass in their small living plots.

When 2 or 3 start up at once, this country zone is turned into the noise equivalent of an airport.

The CONTROL of nature is paramount to the WASP ethic and Biblical idea of MAN dominating nature... as if HE was given this dominion. The fruit of this ethos is a planet that's as battered and beaten as any woman found at a domestic abuse shelter.

I bought a property that had been left for months without lawn care. I couldn't believe how many butterfly species thrived on it. I love butterflies and was surprised to find species I'd never noticed in North Florida before. So many end up shattered by passing cars or when roadside areas are mowed down, they lose their food sources.

Please find a way to keep your own wild space so that others will catch on.

The statistics on the amount of oil/energy used for this U.S. lawn insanity syndrome were compelling... in the way of insisting that people treat land differently than the dead zone/golf course "norm."


#15

Such an inspiring piece. As a bee keeping family who loves diversity, lawns for us function as a cleared way to not step on the snakes on the way to the gardens. But, we are out in the boonies and nobody cares nor are there laws to abide by.

What a vision though , to see all those velvety green water resource guzzlers and pesticide and herbicide pockets put to some good use.

Keep up the good fight I say. And more power to you.


#16

Actually, he pulled out the key statistics and that's wise from an educational perspective.


#17

Paid think-tank, Frank Luntz style--"shoot the messenger" over trivia attempt to discredit a BEAUTIFUL and INFORMATIVE article and its author.


#18

I suppose so but I have more respect for the intelligence of CD readers. It's okay to quote from the article being read by everyone when you want to add some comment about the quote specifically but to simply repeat verbatim what has been written seems nonsensical. If I were instructing a child maybe I'd repeat something and say that I feel that this or that was important but we are all intelligent adults and can read for ourselves as well decide if something is of import as well. Adding some original commentary on the quotes seems in order but simply repeating them verbatim without commentary... well... whatever!


#19

Commentary in support of quotes (or vice versa) can make for evocative posts. Apparently, the poster felt that the quotes were substantial enough to speak for themselves. And that they were significant enough to bear repeating.

Since I take notes from good articles--in case I wish to quote an author/writer/journalist in a piece of writing later--I appreciate that this poster did the "work" for me by separating out all the significant data.


#20

Did you not read the article yourself? Whatever.

I'd rather read other people's personal point of views commenting on what was written in an article than for them to repeat word for word what was written without adding anything to it. I found myself reading this long comment waiting for the person to comment on something and got all the way to end only to realize they had simply repeated what I had just read for myself. What was the point in doing that at all?


#22

DANDELIONS ? in OHIO ? Connect the dots !

Recall that during WWII extensive research confirmed that dandelion roots could be used to make rubber if the Japanese military succeeded in cutting off access to rubber tree growing areas in Southeast Asia.

The Akron, OHIO - centered US Rubber industry made sure that dandelion rubber research went nowhere after the war ended.

Perhaps Ohio laws never stopped thwarting efforts to make rubber out of dandelions ?