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Lawns Aren't Green -- Part 1: The Problem

You might be surprised to learn that the green swaths of land in front of our houses aren't actually eco-friendly at all. They take massive amounts of water, energy, and chemicals, to look how we want them to. Meanwhile, the majority of turfgrasses used aren't native to where they're being used. This replaces natural biodiversity with a manufactured, difficult to maintain, monoculture.
Unlike monocultures in farming (which do have their own problems) turfgrass monocultures are useless. They don't provide any type of food or usability, they're only for aesthetics. 

Over 15% of residential water use goes towards watering lawns and gardens, and as much as 50% of that water is wasted! (source
Meanwhile, plants natural to a region rarely, if ever, need to be watered. This is a HUGE suck of water that's absolutely pointless. Especially in areas experiencing drought. This water isn't going towards food, or cleanliness, or hydration. This is a resource that's becoming more and more scarce being used to keep alive a useless patch of green stuff. 

Another issue with lawns is the chemicals required to keep them looking pristine. A monoculture is a large patch of land with only one type of plant growing on it. This doesn't happen in nature, and there's a good reason for it. When an ecosystem is biodiverse, meaning there's a lot of different plants growing near each other, the plants work together to give each other what they need. Not all plants need the same nutrients to grow, so what one plant sucks out of the soil, another one puts back in. All together, the plants stay healthy. 
However, with a monoculture, all plants take the same things out of the soil, and put the same things back in. 
(See? That semester of botany did come in handy!)

To combat this issue, most people will put fertilizers on their lawns. Yay. A bunch of synthetic chemicals going into our environment. Isn't that just what we need?
There are even problems with organic fertilizers. Mainly overfertilizing, which can poison the soil, killing the invertebrates and micro-organisms living there, as well as the plants (source). Now, this can be avoided by being very careful with amount and frequency of fertilizing, but that leads into my next point. 

Why freaking bother? 

Lawns take so much time and energy to maintain. Watering, fertilizing, and mowing. Then doing it all again! Why? 
Well, answering the question of why we started having lawns in the first place is going to be Part 2! Until then, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments :)


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