THE BLOG

Ludicrous Lawns, Wasted Water, and Solid Solutions

07/26/2008 05:12 am 05:12:01 | Updated May 25, 2011

NASA has studied satellite data and concluded that lawns in the US are taking up as much space as the whole state of New York (not the city, the state). That's fifty thousand square miles of grass!

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Of course, since most (almost all) lawns use species of grass that are not native to where they grow, they use a lot of water, pesticide and fertilizer. One third (!) of all residential water use in the US is currently going toward landscaping (so that we can then go overkill and use explosion engines to cut down these little blades of grass -- in most cases it would be much better to use reel mowers). That adds up to a crazy two hundred gallons of water per person, per day, just for lawns!

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What can we do? Well, the best and most radical thing would be to get rid of lawns completely and instead use native plants and grasses, especially the kinds that never grow very tall. But even if we keep the lawns, we could dramatically reduce water usage with simple and inexpensive technologies like rainwater collection.

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For example, Langston Brown High School in Arlington, Virginia, has two 11,000-gallon water tanks that are used to store rainwater. 280,000 gallons of it each year! They also have waterless urinals and other water-saving technologies. But this isn't just for big buildings: Residential houses can use water barrels too. A small investment in time and money right now could save thousands and thousands of gallons over the next few years. Act now!

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