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Save our lawns

By Valerie Yule - posted Thursday, 8 December 2016

Today we burn a half billion gallons of gas a year powering rotary mowers - John Lienhard

Lawns are lovely. I love lawns. Lawns are useful in hundreds of ways, lovely to the eye, beautiful in vistas, and healthy for the air.

I am against the enthusiasts who want to get rid of lawns. Where can children play and clothes dry in the fresh air?


But we must also save our oil resources! Save our carbon emissions!

But caring for lawns need to add to the world's noise and carbon emissions and waste of fossil fuel.

MOST suburban lawns do not need the great enormous waste of power mowers.

"Lawns reflect a 200-year-old Romantic dream of fusing ourselves with nature. Yet that very dream now poses a major threat to the nature it so lovingly celebrates."

Everyone with a pocket-handkerchief of a lawn thinks they need their own several-hundred-dollar noise-making polluting neighbor-annoying petrol-mower. Why?

A gardening magazine had a feature about ride-on mowers. I sent a letter about hand-mowers, which then cost under $80. It was not published.


But Australian lawns need not look like English lawns. Australian lawns can be mostly green flat-weeds with flowers of yellow dandelions and white daisies; a bit too tussocky for cricket pitches and tennis but fine for other amateur sports and play, children, children's play gear, lounging, picnicking and barbecues, and parking extra cars. They can go brown and waterless in summer because they don't get watered.

Modern lawns and lawnmowers are a classic example of unnecessary waste.

The power-mower is an extremely useful invention, and where would we be without it? Even in 1950 it took long lines of crawling Japanese women with scissors to cut the lawns of the Imperial Palace in Kyoto. Nineteen- century cricket pitches used to be scythed then rolled with horse-drawn rollers.

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About the Author

Valerie Yule is a writer and researcher on imagination, literacy and social issues.

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