Should we stop sowing grass lawns?
OPINION: Thanks to all the Catholic Mafia members who contacted me last week after my column on the Pope being a decent bloke. Hopefully you don't have to wait so long for another pro-Catholic story to surface in the news.
This week I would like to tackle a much less contentious issue and continue my war on the common lawn which has recently been spotted sprouting out of a bunch of properties on Manchester St.
I'm not so sure this green frame is green at all. I think the name and the colour are just tricks to feign greenness. Give us a bit of lawn and we go all ga-ga.
We need to learn to fight against lawn, this aggressive weed which has driven its way up the evolutionary food chain to become the most useless and costly crop on the planet.
Before we go too much further I need to add a few caveats. Lawn is like booze. A little bit is a great thing. But too much and we'll wake up with a headache. Grass is good for lying on, playing sports, learning to ride a bicycle, drifting underpowered cars on and all manner of other activities. I'm not saying we need to have the UN attack it like polio. I'm just saying our problem needs managing.
The grass planted on the old CTV site makes total sense to me. The site is sacred and something, anything, needed to be done to what was a public embarrassment. Having a well-presented site for people to visit, ponder and pay their respects is an important part of the grieving process.
How much more lawn do we need beyond this? It's already in thousands of backyards around the city, is all over Hagley Park, not to mention the squares in the central city. I walk past these grassed areas a lot and I can report that I have never seen a queue to get some lawn space in this city. How many times have you headed out for some lawn recreation and found it full? We are not suffering a lawn shortage at present.
But in the meantime we should be putting empty sites to much better use than irrigating and chucking a completely useless plant on them. It's not like we've got water to burn - the dairy farmers are in desperate need of it.
Grass is a luxury, a crop that uses lots of resource (water and petrol) and offers little in exchange besides a bit of water retention. Sure, it will keep the dust down in the city but so do the amazing weed gardens that have sprung up wherever nature saw fit around the city.
I've been unable to find any figures on New Zealand, but in the United States lawn is the single largest irrigated crop in the country. That's a big deal.
While I know we are different from America, I think our lawn addiction is just as serious. It's not enough that we have them out the back of our houses, but we need them on the street as well? Then they are shoved into all sorts of unnecessary public spaces when more appropriate plants could provide all the same benefits without all the expense. Maybe with all that effort we could grow something edible.
I think it's time we all eased up on the lawnsies a bit.
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