The grass is always greener

It’s a shorter one today, I promise. I was reading the other day about America’s single largest irrigated crop. What do we grow more of than anything else? There’s so much of it you can see it from space. Know what it is? Perhaps corn? Maybe wheat? Nope.

Grass.

Yep, that lawn that’s most likely outside your window right now is part of the greatest agriculture movement in our fine country. Chew on that.

Personally I think lawns are as completely ubiquitous for two main reasons. First, we’re deeply wired as social creatures. I have a lawn because my neighbor does. I don’t particularly like mowing, but I do so to keep from pissing off the people that live around me. Lawn begets lawn begets lawn. It’s such a part of our culture that it would be very hard to remove the lawn and replace it with anything else. There are even local laws preventing me turning my yard into a native Indiana habitat. After all, who wants to live next to a yard full of weeds?

I think the other reason lawns are the de-facto suburban standard is people inherently like creating order out of chaos. A lawn can be relatively easily sculpted into neat flowing lines around trees and bushes. They butt up gently against the hard edges of sidewalks and driveways. They provide a uniform height and color filler to our little corner of the world. With minimal effort, we create order.

Of course, the downside of lawns are the 800 million gallons of gas burned in lawnmowers every year to manicure these lawns. Or consider the fertilizers and herbicides used to keep our lawns need and green, or the water we dump on our lawns each summer. Don’t get me wrong, I love lazy summer evenings in our backyard playing on our lawn. They are memories I will cherish my whole life. But this weekend as I pushed my mower around our yard, I couldn’t help but wonder if all the fuel, water, man-hours, and land couldn’t be put to use in a better way. If only I could find a way to harness all that power and resources without pissing off the neighbors… I guess I’ll just have to chew on that idea a while.

Business Recycling

I want to offer a huge “Thanks” to Randy Gilmore and Marching Show Concepts. Over the last couple years (through the help of one of his employees) he has actively supported an office paper recycling program. We have a big brown bin in the shipping department where all recycled paper goes and everyone has blue trash cans by their desk just for recycling. It makes recycling paper as easy as, well, throwing it away.

Do you recycle at your work place?

Much Metta,

John

More Environmental stuff

I’ve heard some arguments against global warming lately and did a ton of reading on the subject, just to make sure I was appropriately informed. Rather than spout links to articles and discussions for or against theories of global warming, I’m simply going to state a couple conclusions I’ve come to in my journey.

  • I’m sure there’s a lot of spin going on on both sides
  • No one really knows what’s going to happen for sure because as a species we’ve never been here before
  • The truth probably lies somewhere between the two sides
  • I sleep better at night knowing that I’m going to do what I can to leave Miles as clean and beautiful a planet as I can.

Ultimately it’s the next generations that will truly pay for our mistakes. They inherit the planet we use, and as current stewards of Earth, I think it is our duty to do what we can to care for it whether it is warming or not.

Much Metta,

John

Recycle!

I have to give my dad some credit here. As a kid I remember him recycling newspapers every week for years. He would take time to stuff them into brown paper grocery bags until they were dense bricks of paper and then drive them to the community center for recycling. (At least that’s the way I remember it…) I don’t know that I or any of my brothers ever really helped him, he just did it because he felt it was the right thing to do.

Today, Betsy and I recycle all the time. In fact, because we live in the city, it’s a free service of City Utilities. They even provide the brown and yellow bins and all we have to do is fill them and put them out at the curb every other week. How could that be any easier. They take all kinds of paper, including junk mail, windowed envelops, newspapers, cardboard and paper board. They also take all food glass and no 1 and 2 plastics. Any more these days, I try to avoid products that come packaged in things that can’t be recycled. Time to make my dollar speak!

I’ve also begun to recycle batteries, florescent bulbs, and even old computer equipment. For more information on recycling in Fort Wayne, visit:

Alen County Waste Watchers

An Inconvenient Truth

Betsy and I just watched An Inconvenient Truth. I’m almost speechless.

If you haven’t seen it, do. Please.

It’s a sobering look at the current state of our environment and what we’re doing to our little blue home. I don’t know if it’s because I have a son now, but this issue has become so important to me. I feel like we’re destroying his future by not listening to the warning signs, by being lazy and spreading doubt that anything is wrong. I am ashamed of the world that we’re about to pass on to the next generation and I can’t just sit by and watch it happen without trying to change things.

In an effort to help effect change, I’m going to be implementing a couple around here, and blogging about them. The first that I’ve already done is every chance I get I replace our regular incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (cfl). Although they cost a little more, these bulbs use 60% less energy than regular bulbs. So far I have replaced 2 outdoor lights (the ones on either side of our garage) and 3 kitchen lights, my office desk light and the lights in the loft. It’s not much, but it’s a start.

So, what are you doing to help our planet? For more information the movie suggests visiting climatecrisis.net

I know Betsy is fired up about this issue as well. Please take a moment to read her blog.

Much Metta,

John