Climate Change and Lawn MowersWe can't afford to ignore the effects of climate changes‚ and our lawn mowers are no exception. If we don't take action to stop climate change‚ our lawns will quickly become a detriment to the environment. It's important to make the right choices about our lawn care to help us reduce our carbon footprint‚ but how do we do that? Read this article to learn about the importance of lawn care and Getty Images.
Americans love their lawns. Some might even say they are addicted. In most American suburbs‚ the brightly colored‚ neatly tended grass is a common sight. There are approximately 40 million acres of land in America‚ which is more than Georgia. Covered by turf grass‚ the standard lawn plant. What if the grass you grow and maintain is causing the most serious environmental problems on Earth‚ such as water pollution and climate changes? Scientists are becoming more vocal about lawn problems and urging people to find alternatives or better ways to manage their lawn. Juyoun Kwon and her husband Seth Kwon walk by a house with green grass along Muirfield Road‚ Hancock Park in Los Angeles in May. (Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images). If we want to achieve ecological sustainability‚ each piece of land must do four things: support pollinators and sequester carbon. The other goal is to manage watersheds. Douglas Tallamy from the University of Delaware told Yahoo News that a lawn is not the best choice for any of these four environmental goals. The single most important problem in climate change isn't what lawns do‚ it's what they don't do. Global warming is caused by carbon dioxide‚ which every plant has as a heat-trapping agent. It's better for the environment if there is more carbon dioxide stored. However‚ not all plants have the same carbon storage. The amount of carbon stored correlates with the plant's size and the root system. Logging old-growth trees is important for climate change because they are taller than those of younger trees. Lawn grass is much more shallow than other plants‚ such as trees and bushes‚ that can grow in yards. It grows much less above ground‚ particularly if your lawn is cut every other week. According to Tallamy (author of Nature's Best Hope: A New Approach To Conservation that Starts in Your Yard)‚ lawns are not good at carbon sequestration. In 2021‚ a gardener in Sacramento uses a leaf blower for clearing leaves from a house. (Rich Pedroncelli/AP) There's also the machinery used to maintain and cut lawns in America: leaf blowers and gas-powered mowers. The Environmental Protection Agency states that gas-powered mowers are used in lawn care. 800‚000‚000 gallons gasoline -- plus another 17 million gallons Every year‚ oil. Two-stroke engines that are used in leaf blowers and lawn mowers can be particularly dirty as they don't combust more than 30%. Of the fuel They use volatile organic compounds. In 2014‚ a study discovered that an idle scooter had a 2-stroke engine. Releases 124 times as much VOCs can be produced by an idling vehicle or truck. According to the EPA‚ a gas-powered mower can produce as many volatile organic compounds as 11 new cars in the same period. According to the agency lawn mowers are responsible for 5% percent of American non-climate air pollution. Many lawns are also cut regularly by gardeners who burn gasoline along the route. In 2021‚ a gardener mows the lawn of a Sacramento home. (Rich Pedroncelli/AP) According to Douglas Kent (a landscape contractor and Cal Poly Pomona professor)‚ lawns are dependent on fossil fuels. It doesn't mean they have to‚ but it is how we keep them trimmed‚ mowed‚ and blowered. There are also the emission associated with fertilizer production. Ammonia is the most essential ingredient of fertilizer. It contains nitrogen‚ which helps plants grow. High pressure‚ high temperatures are required to make ammonia. It requires large amounts of energy which can be supplied usually by natural gas and coal. The manufacturing of ammonia is the reason. More than 1% Global greenhouse gas emissions Kent stated that [Lawns] consume a lot of nitrogen‚ which is why nitrogen is one of the most energy-dense nutrients we make. Kent said that if you take all the energy that we dump in our lawns‚ and add it to the biomass in soil and tissue‚ 1 acre of grass will contribute approximately 3‚112 pounds per year. This is equivalent to 156 gallons gasoline. He used data from previous research to calculate that figure for his book A New Era of Gardening. Apply fertilizer or weed killer to the lawn. (Getty Images) Tallamy also found that many of the same characteristics that contribute to climate change in lawns across America make them unsuitable for sustainability testing. For example‚ fertilizer is often mixed with herbicide in order to eliminate weeds. These two products are called weed and food. However‚ a person's garden is an insect's home. Every day‚ weeds like dandelions and clovers that are important for pollinators are being removed from lawns. Pollination is what creates biodiversity. Tallamy noted that most vertebrates don't eat any plants. They consume things that are related to the plants (mostly insects). Also‚ short grass that is regularly cut does not absorb water. This becomes an important function as the climate changes lead to. More flooding From stronger storms -- that runoff could funnel fertiliser and herbicide into rivers‚ lakes and oceans‚ possibly poisoning fishes and causing harm to swimmers. Danny Lawler is a gardener in the wildflower meadow at University of Cambridge's Jesus College. It burst into bloom on May 13. This meadow was sown using seeds from Kings College's wildflower lawn. It features poppies‚ daisies and cornflowers that create an ecosystem for invertebrates and insects.
(Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images). Tallamy stated that lawns destroy our watersheds because they can't hold water like other plants. This is almost as if you were paving the road in a dry‚ hot summer. The most common irrigated crop is grass in the United States‚ with lawns being used. 3 trillion gallons Each year‚ approximately 1.2 billion gallons of water. Water scarcity is a problem in the West due to rising temperatures and severe droughts caused by climate change. Local governments are limited on how much water they can provide for residents‚ even though many homeowners have reported that their water supply has increased. Ignoring the rules. Lawns‚ however‚ are not the only negative features of a yard. Concrete patios‚ with their own carbon emissions‚ are not good for the environment. It would be a waste of time to rip out your lawn and pave it again. What should you do to replace the lawn? Experts recommend reducing grass area and substituting larger plants with higher carbon and water absorption. Shaded trees also help reduce the water loss from lawns‚ so they should need less water. On April 27‚ 2022‚ Alhambra saw a man water his lawn. This was just one day after Southern California had declared an emergency water supply situation. (Frederick J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images Some scientists believe that only those who live in areas where grass can be grown without extra watering should have lawns. Residents of dry regions‚ however‚ would tend to plant more drought-tolerant native plants‚ such as desert cactus. You can also care for your lawn in a lower-impact way. Two-stroke engine emissions can be reduced by using only manual tools like push mowers or electric lawnmowers. The Electric Power Research Institute estimates that electric mowers could replace half the gas-powered mowers in America. save as much 2‚000‚000 cars are taken off the roads to reduce emissions. A more natural way to manage your lawn would be to cut it less frequently‚ skip the weedkiller and let the dandelions and clovers grow. This will reduce the environmental impact. Some states and municipalities are taking steps to address the most serious environmental problems associated with lawns. California Governor. Gavin Newsom signed legislation last October to phase out gas-powered leaf blowers and mowers in California. Tallamy stated that right now we are using [lawn] to create a default environment. We just put some plants in the yard‚ and then everything becomes lawn. This is what I would like to change. It's my dream to have many plants and make lawn from the rest. In 2013‚ a bee collected pollen from an Austrian dandelion and placed it on a Klosterneuburg lawn. (Heinz-Peter Bader/Reuters) _____