When we consider the American Dream, it is often associated with a house, two-car garage, driveway, and perhaps a lush green lawn. We as Wisconsinites can choose to make our voices heard when addressing climate change, not only at the voting booth, but by foregoing (or at least in part) the timeless notion of a lawn. We as Wisconsinites can help preserve and utilize water more effectively in different ways; redefining the lawn model to reflect today’s era.
There are approximately 40 million acres of lawn, and turf grasses occupy 1.9 percent of the surface of the continental United States, making it the single largest irrigated crop in the country. Conservatively speaking, American lawns take up three times as much space as irrigated corn. With time and interest, transform your lawn to a vegetable garden, or expanse of wildflowers, versus the unclear bounty of turf grass. One could simply comprise their lawn of stones. Little to no maintenance, no extensive sprinkler sessions, and time spent mowing will be given back to you. A decrease in the use of motorized lawn care machinery will also mean a decrease in the use of fossil fuels. Creativity is not frowned upon.
Without revoking one’s freedom to have a turf grass lawn, I will work with communities who have interest in such projects. Just as some cities in Wisconsin have residential composter units available, materials utilized in landscape transformations could be made more accessible. While bottled water is often the talking point, Wisconsin should ask questions about other types of water consumption in our society. Climate change is real. It is important to reassess our traditions of landscaping, and allow the American Dream to adapt to reflect today’s era.