Green as grass

Everywhere you turn, it seems that if it isn’t “Green”, then it’s not good.   Newly designed, environmentally friendly buildings have taken the place of traditional building techniques.  Every community recycles plastic, cardboard, paper, metals; everything that can be, will be reused or recycled.  Green cars, green food, green cloths, green paper, green fuels, and even green energy take the forefront in every media venue imaginable (and I always thought of energy as being yellow or orange or white).  Dont get me wrong, these things can be very good.  What everyone seems to have forgotten is what green used to mean.  The one thing that used to be green, isn’t green any longer according to today’s experts.  Let me explain.
Lawns used to be associated with the color green.  A green in golf, generally is made of grass.  A greenskeeper cares for lawn.  How do you think gardener’s thumbs turned green?  Mowing the lawn, of course.  Grass, lawn, and turf used to convey positive, happy images.  But over the last few years, lawn and the words associated with it have grown more and more negative: wasteful, demanding, environmentally damaging, un-waterwise, expensive, harbors poisonous chemicals.  If grass is all that, how can it be green?  Believe me, grass is still the greenest thing on the block.
A healthy, well maintained lawn will contribute more good to our environment (especially our own yard and neighborhood) than you could ever imagine.  The environmental benefits of planting a lawn far outweigh any possible negatives that accompany its installation.
Lawns cool and quiet.  When it’s hot outside, would you rather sit on the lawn or on the concrete?  Street and sidewalk temperatures easily breach the 100 degree mark when temperatures on the lawn will still be in the 75 degree range.  That’s one big air conditioner you got there neighbor!  Lawns also absorb and deflect sound.  Combined with a little landscaping, a healthy lawn will dramatically cool and quiet your yard and neighborhood.
Ok.  We all know that trees and shrubs clean the air and produce oxygen, but did you know that grass  also removes carbon dioxide and filters pollen, dust, and pollutants from the air as it produces oxygen?  An average lawn of approximately 5000 square feet produces enough oxygen for about 8 people each day.  It takes two 100-foot tall trees to produce the same amount per day.  Have you got two 100-foot tall trees in your yard?  Not many homeowners do, but almost everyone has a little lawn to do the trick.
Ever walked through a dry, dusty construction site?  Or a barren desert on a windy day?  That is what life would be like without lawns.  Blades of grass slow down dust, dirt, and pollutant filled air, allowing these hitchhikers to settle on the blades and get trapped in the soil.  The blades and roots of just one acre of grass absorbs hundreds of pounds of pollutants each year, like sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, nitrates and other gases that are blamed for damaging our environment.  Lawn products are blamed for contributing to groundwater contamination and algae buildup in ponds and lakes, but in truth, few materials get past extensive grass root systems.  Dense lawn roots under a healthy lawn filters water and collects pollutants, rarely allowing them to go “downstream”.
Grass rarely gets any thanks for holding our soils together.  Lawns control erosion by knitting the soil together, trapping runoff water, and eliminating many problems caused by mud and dust (depending on the weather).  Despite it’s bad rap as a water abuser, grass absorbs rainfall six times better than a wheat field, preventing damaging runoff and erosion of valuable topsoil.
Aside from the very tangible benefit of having a lawn, property values of homes with a healthy lawn and landscape increase 15% over homes without.  Lawns provide a great place for recreation.  A safe environment for young and old alike, turf  absorbs the energy of a fall, and cushions steps when walking.  Compared to almost any other surface, grass makes for a safe and enjoyable play surface.
Sure, lawns need to be fertilized, watered, and mowed.  They take care and time, but doesn’t everything else in life that is worthwhile?  Grass has gotten a bad reputation over the last few years, but in reality, that just isn’t the truth.  Grass is good.  Grass does good.  And don’t let anyone tell you that grass isn’t “green”.

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