Don\’t Feed the Lawn!

In order to rail against he over-fertilisation of lawns, the excessive use of pesticides, Ted Steinberg makes this mindboggling statement:

While some of the company\’s claims for the environmental benefits of grass are reasonable – lawns do indeed cool the surrounding air, at least relative to, say, asphalt – others are just plain silly. Exhibit A: Scotts says 2,500 square feet of lawn produces enough oxygen for a family of four. Hello? The world is faced with many ecological problems, but a shortage of oxygen is just not one of them.

Can you spot the error?

Excellent, for of course the shortage of free oxygen (ie, O2 moelcules in the atmosphere) is in fact the largest ecological problem we face. You know, the IPCC, Kyoto, climate change, boiling Gaia and Aieeeeee! we\’re all gonna die!

The entire problem is based around the fact that much too much of that lovely O2 is in fact in another molecule, CO2, and floating around the globe, leading to Greenland melting, Bangladesh sinking below the waves and the last humans will end up barbequeing Flipper in the coming end times. All of this is predicated upon the fact that we\’re putting more CO2 into the atmosphere than the current ability of extant vegetation to fix it, by taking in the CO2 as food and releasing O2 as the by product. This is why people advocate growing forests and the like, as they so often do.

It\’s true that a lawn doesn\’t add all that much to this process, but every little helps, right?

8 thoughts on “Don\’t Feed the Lawn!”

  1. When I was eleven my geography teacher told the class that the earth would run out of oxygen because we were using it all up. Foolishly I put up my hand to say that plant produce oxygen (my mum was a biology teacher so I pretty confident of my facts) and the earth was not going to run out of oxygen. After trying to make me back down she put it to a class vote! Only one person voted for me (thanks Gail).
    I learnt a valuable lesson that day.

  2. The lesson being that many teachers are incorrigibly thick? Or perhaps something about trying to settle facts by voting? Probably the second, since by age 11 you could scarcely have doubted the first.

  3. I’m holding out for evolution to compensate for any changes in the environment due to my carbon footprint. Lava rocks survive in most climates so my vote is that we evolve in that direction.

    I may stand alone on this one (unless Gail is reading the forum and wants to sign up).

  4. It is important to retain all the green space we possibly can, but not just because of gas exchange.

    Open ground, especially if it is supporting growth, is an excellent defence against flash flooding. It acts like a sponge, as opposed to the built environment which just pours all the rain straight into the storm drains.

  5. So that must mean that far from taxing us for inefficient use of the land we should actually get subsidies for leaving it to grass.

    From now on my jungle sorry grass is going to be put down as my sole contribution to avert global warming.

  6. From now on my jungle sorry grass is going to be put down as my sole contribution to avert global warming.

    Just to deepen your question, is it better to leave the grass uncut or to mow it regularly?

    This is an important question. When I am being harangued on a Sunday, it would be nice to say that it is not sloth but my moral virtue that prevents me from leaving the sofa.

  7. “When I was eleven my geography teacher told the class that the earth would run out of oxygen…”

    That whole story is basically Britain in a microcosm, isn’t it? The idiots vote for something that sounds right, and then oppress the minority for being wrong.

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