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Putting Lawns into Perspective

Fixing the disconnect between the so-called "traditional" approach to lawn care and the natural way
by

Mike Nowak

on 23 March 2011

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Transcript of Putting Lawns into Perspective

Putting Lawns into Perspective LAWNS:
The great "black hole of rational thought" The American ideal? Lawns v. trees Lawns v. grubs Lawns v. Creeping Charlie And its epic battles... Lawns v. dogs Lawns v. most of the natural world A talk by WCPT's Mike Nowak
for the Natural Lawn Care Workshop
March 23, 2011 And, of course, my advice about lawns:
"When in doubt, rip it out." Why do we like lawns?

"We can't help it."
-Dr. John Falk,
Smithsonian The trail of tears to
the modern lawn: Life on the savannah 19 Century: Americans keeping up with
the Smithes -
Mass production
of the lawn mower
- (whoo-hoo!) Oops...World War I Now back to progress Garden Clubs of America, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and U.S. Golf Association spread the Gospel of Grass. Turf is defined as
"a plot with a single type of grass with no intruding weeds, kept mown at a height of an inch and a half, uniformly green, and neatly edged."
Now THAT'S progress! But wait! We have all of these nifty chemicals from the war. All we need is a market. Hmm... Oops...
World
War II We're saved!! . Now we can create
the 4-Step Program! Step 1:
Apply lawn fertilizer with too much nitrogen, weakening your lawn to insects and diseases Step 2:
Apply insect and disease control to cure the problems created by over fertilization Step 3:
Step 3: Plant grass seed to repair the
damage caused by Steps 1 and 2 Step 4:
Return to Step 1 18th Century:
Europeans bending the earth to their wills (Now THAT'S going to leave a mark...) Hokey smokes...it works!
(for the industry) From BeyondPesticides.org
* 78 million households in the U.S. use home and garden pesticides.
* Herbicides account for the highest usage of pesticides in the home and garden sector - over 90 million pounds applied on lawns and gardens per year.
* Suburban lawns and gardens receive more pesticide applications per acre (3.2-9.8 lbs) than agriculture (2.7 lbs per acre on average).
* Pesticide sales by the chemical industry average $9.3 billion annualy.
* Included in the most commonly used pesticides per pounds per year are: 2,4-D (8-11 million), Glyphosate (5-8 million), MCPP (Mecoprop) (4-6 million), Pendimethalin (3-6 million), Dicamba (2-4 million).
* A 2004 national survey reveals that 5 million homeowners use only organic lawn practices and products and 35 million people use both toxic and non-toxic materials.
Fast forward a few decades... # Of 30 commonly used lawn pesticides 19 have studies pointing toward carcinogens, 13 are linked with birth defects, 21 with reproductive effects, 15 with neurotoxicity, 26 with liver or kidney damage, 27 are sensitizers and/or irritants, and 11 have the potential to disrupt the endocrine (hormonal) system.

# Pregnant women, infants and children, the aged and the chronically ill are at greatest risk from pesticide exposure and chemically induced immune-suppression, which can increase susceptibility to cancer. So why do we see things like this... But wait...there's more!

In one residential survey of lawn care practices, 63% of 981 residents in a watershed reported using "weed and feed" products, but only 24% realized that they actually were applying herbicides.

U.S. EPA Bonus Harm!!

2,4-D is absorbed by the body more easily in the presence of sunscreen, DEET and the consumption of alcohol.

A single turf application of 2,4-D can remain inside the home at exposure levels ten times higher than pre-application exposures. In a 2003 study of indoor air toxins, 2,4-D was detected in the dust of 63% of sampled houses. And this:

“The use of lawn care inputs, especially
chemicals, has been shown to be positively
associated with high levels of income and
education and is disproportionately heavy
amongst consumers who not only claim
environmental concerns but who also
acknowledge the negative effects of their
actions...”

- Paul Robbins, Trevor Birkenholtz
Land Use Policy
Ohio State University Perhaps it's time for the U.S. to
embrace the Precautionary Principal. The Precautionary Principal

(Developed in 1998 by a group of scientists, philosophers, lawyers and environmental activists from the U.S., Canada and Europe in regard to public health and environmental decision-making)

"When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically. In this context the proponent of an activity, rather than the public, should bear the burden of proof.” It's time for us to use
THIS as our model... Which will make
this guy jump for
joy. Because we'll finally be...
Full transcript