I can’t believe it is 2015 and the majority of lawns all around my area are still poisoning OUR air, earth and water using pesticides and herbicides to make monotonous green lawns. How can people not know the damage this is causing to our environment and that it is greatly harming us?
I dread the summer, when the chemical lawn companies come around the neighborhood and put up their signs to keep children and pets off the laws. I can smell it blocks before I approach the area, often they spill granules all over the sidewalk and it gets on my dogs and my feet as I wear sandals or am barefoot. When it is like that I move across the road if there is a chem-free lawn in that direction (not always) and pick up my dog and cover her nose. I keep forgetting to keep a filter mask in my pocket so I can also cover my own nose and mouth.
Most of the places with very large expanses of lawns such as the condos, large apartment complexes, businesses and the golf course are all putting these poisons down. As well many of the residential houses are doing it too. The residential houses are trickier because if the homeowner themselves are putting the chemicals down, they do not put up the stay off the grass signs. Luckily, my nose works well so I can smell it and bypass direct contact.
The area where I live is near The Starkweather Creek marshland which wetlands are protected by the Department of Natural Resources. Yet, Madison Area Technical College rents much of this land in the area. Not sure whom is putting down the pesticides on the grass on regular basis, but what I notice is they NEVER put up the signs but I smell it when they put it down. On another side there is the large Bridges Golf Course and the Dane County Airport. This is many acres that these chemicals are being applied to, with much foot traffic and many dog walkers. And all these chemicals and excessive fertilizers drain off the lawns and pollute the creek and the marshlands which are home to many species, not to mention all this drains into the Yahara River.
A big reason people want a perfect lawn with only uniform thick green grass appearing in it, is to show other people your STATUS. The more perfect your lawn appears, it shows your wealth and other people how great you or your business is!
That status image doesn’t work for me! When I see monotonous green lawns that are being maintained with poisons what I see is “Those People” don’t care and are “Killing Our Environment”. I am NOT against people from having that kind of lawn, but if they want it then they need to do the additional WORK needed to get that appearance WITHOUT being lazy and using chemicals to get it or if they don’t have the time, then to hire a natural lawn care company to do it for them.
But best would be to just change our mindset and see the beauty that is present in a natural lawn, and all the life that thrives not only on the surface but also below. And best of all, it is the most drought resistant and doesn’t cost any money to maintain! And you can save time and money on mowing too and let some of those weeds flower when they are in season.
Often the argument comes up, but it is my lawn and I should be able to do what I want to it as I own it. While one may have ownership as far as a title or deed to the property, the reality is you do not own the land 100%. Why is that so? Because when you put down the chemicals on the lawn, it does these things.
- The chemical smell poisons the air, which does not stay over your land.
- There is runoff when it rains and those chemicals go to other lawns and down to the streams and rivers.
- The chemicals percolate down into the ground water and underground aquifers.
- By eliminating all the other flowering plants (weeds), you are reducing the overall population of bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects.
- The chemicals are affecting all kinds of insects that live in the soil, so you are reducing the overall population them too.
- The chemicals are disrupting the natural ecosystem and natural bacteria and fungi that are under the soil and connect trees to each other. You are weakening trees with use of these chemicals and not just the ones on your property.
I’m sure there are more. By using these chemicals we are poisoning OUR WATER, OUR EARTH and OUR AIR and killing insects that we need to stay healthy and alive such as the bees, lady bugs, butterflies and frogs which are taking serious hits.
It doesn’t need much research to find out that the bee and butterfly populations are seriously threatened. Monarchs are disappearing because the milkweed is disappearing. Milkweed is one of the most beautiful plants, with a flower that is very fragrant. Please plant some milkweed and let a few grow in your yard!
So what can I do?
- If you have a lawn, let it go natural and put signs up to announce that fact.
- Talk to your neighbors & businesses that have chemical lawns, express your concerns…
- Write your congressmen, aldermen and/or sign petitions to get laws made to outlaw pesticide and herbicides for use on lawns by both residential and commercial lawns in your town or city. These lawn-care substances should not be readily allowed for sale.
- Find organic lawn care companies in your area, get business cards from them and find out their rates and then promote this alternative to businesses and people in your neighborhood.
These two sites are activist sites where petitions are made and funded by individuals coming together to make us aware of and come together to stop the destruction that is going on all around, you can find petitions for bees and pesticides on these sites. Even better, make a petition for your town and pass it around.
July 18, 2015