The “To Die For” Lawn

Many of us have seen how amateur homeowners and professional groundskeepers, alike, have attained their manicured, “fine tooth combed” to perfection lawns… lush, verdant, crisply edged carpets where nearly every last damned, two inch, 90° angled blade of grass is standing tall… like countless battalions of soldiers.

This certainly is an impressive sight to behold. However…

The hazardous chemicals used to attain this breathtaking work of art can also, literally, take away our breath… as well as cause cancers… neurotoxicity / nervous system failure… liver and kidney damage… endocrine / hormonal imbalances… reproductive system disorders and birth defects… and last but not least… DEATH!!!

Let’s deconstruct the stages of this self-inflicted, life threatening, environmental devastation… step by step, closely examine how some gung-ho, herbicidal maniacs are forward marching into battle… engaging in their, take no prisoners, flat out war vs. weeds.

In the weeks leading up to the last snows of the season, the lawn care industry has already begun its annual advertising barrage… one designed to get the consumers to march in lockstep… EITHER by signing maintenance contracts with lawn care companies OR by doing it themselves by making a beeline over to their local retailers to buy, Buy, BUY megatons of these “weed and feed” concoctions.

Hard to say which is worse… the stench of this Madison Avenue, madman / adman brainwashing blitz or the actual miasma wafting off from the products, themselves. Let’s just call it close tie… a formidable, one-two, KO punch that can easily get everyone’s heads figuratively and literally spinning.

It matters not whether or not these overly impressionable, budding lawn farmers even bother to read the instructions printed out on the bags of this noxious crap. That’s because the manufacturers have led them down the garden path.

Indeed, they do deceive folks into the misguided belief that lawn chemicals are as safe as mothers’ milk. It’s about that time that another foolish adage kicks into high gear, namely, that “some is good more is better” nonsense. That ‘tude, shared by both sellers and buyers can only make a bad situation worse.

SIDEBAR #1: Folks, I am not making this stuff up. The results of my very first Bing search re the generic phrase “some is good more is better” offered up this article… right at the very top of the list.

So we’re stuck with greed driven capitalists who only care about (what else?) the corporate bottom line. Their goal #1 is to do whatever it takes to augment their fortunes and, unfortunately, in the process, degrade our environment. Ergo, in the end, these nasty, lawn care chemicals get indiscriminately dumped on lawns all across the “free” world.

SIDEBAR #2: I also speak from personal, frontline battlefield experience. On the frequent fitness / nature walks I go on, my own nose has made me aware of entire neighborhoods that stink so bad that I can smell them from half a mile away! If I don’t avoid these regions like poison, their poison will make my lungs constrict, stomach turn and head reel. And just because the human olfactory organs may not always detect fumes outside that danger zone, this does not mean the peril does not exist. To be sure, here, even fumes we cannot smell can (and do) do us bodily harm.

Once the application of these toxins has occurred, eventually, the heavy rains will roll in. That’s when these lawn chemicals work overtime to make the grass grow faster than metastasizing tumors. This deadly chemical mixture then runs off into the curbside, storm water catch basins and outward to underground water tables… as well as into streams, rivers, lakes and oceans… inevitably polluting our entire ecosystem.

Foraging animals wind up drinking this noxious swill and feeding upon unnaturally growing vegetation… the plants which have both flourished and been poisoned.

SIDEBAR #3: In the hours leading up to the day’s dawn I, personally, have seen with increasing frequency how herds of deer (displaced from their wilderness homes due to urban sprawl / the construction of human homes) are paying visits to our cities and suburbs… wandering by to graze on homeowners’, overloaded with lawn chemicals grass. Eventually, hunters shoot these deer and then serve up this poisoned flesh right on their own dinner tables. Need I even remind that these lawn chemicals are totally unfit for human consumption and are inconsistent to life itself?

By this time, the growing out of control grass requires the revving up of the lawnmowers… thereby saturating the air with unburnt petrol and the greenhouse gas, Carbon Dioxide. Any increase of CO2 eventually causes the grass to grow even faster… necessitating even more frequent mowing. A vicious cycle is born.

Around and around and around it goes and where / when it stops… nobody knows.

SIDEBAR #4: In my younger days, I was asthmatic and, although my symptoms have eased up thanks to a decade’s worth of allergy shot therapy, it is still not unusual for me to still feel a bit sick whenever I smell that combination of fresh cut grass / unburnt gas.

Of course, this frequent mowing schedule also causes the fragile blades of grass to turn sickly brown. Then in a pathetic panic, often the split second after these groundskeepers kill their lawnmower engines, that’s when they turn on the sprinklers… and then these oft poorly monitored, irrigation systems run and run and run… sometimes even during rainstorms! Collectively, they waste multimillions of gallons of our precious drinking water.

SIDEBAR #5: Whenever I see these out of control sprinklers I am reminded of these sobering facts: ONE BILLION people in our world have no access to safe drinking water. 5000 people drinking contaminated water die each day!

Since many of our ecological problems start with the use/abuse of lawn chemicals, I have to ask, what’s the big deal if a mixture of clover and other greenery grows amongst the blades of grass? After all, a more botanically heterogeneous lawn requires less mowing and watering so, even in times of drought, it’s less prone to withering and turning brown.

Beyond the global warming and the consequent catastrophic, violent climate change… beyond the perils to ALL life on Earth… the multimillions of bucks blown on gasoline used to run lawnmowers, sooner or later, wind up in the pockets of terrorist organizations.

Unless there’s a drastic attitude adjustment, all the life on Earth is doomed to die just to sate the lawn care industry’s greed… and the consumers’ lust… for the “to die for” lawn.

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