Wednesday, 22 October 2014 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG

Getting Mother Nature's Drift

Sunday, 08 September 2013 11:18 By Jim Hightower, Other Words | Op-Ed

The lush lawn is dead in the parched Southwest.

My father was an early member of a group now known disparagingly as “ultra-lawn people.”

“High,” as everyone called him, was dedicated, body and soul, to the Sisyphean task of trying to maintain a lawn full of lush St. Augustine grass in hot, dry Texas. He planted, watered, fertilized, watered, mowed, watered, fought bugs and brown patch, watered, re-planted, watered…ad nauseum.

Some years, he won. Other years, nature rolled him.

High departed his lawn and this Earth well before climate change turned Texas from merely hot and dry into scorched and parched.

I know he would’ve denied it at first, but I think even he would’ve finally given in to today’s new reality: In our drought-ravaged Southwest, the lush lawn is dead. Literally and ethically.

From Texas to Southern California, city after city is adapting to nature. They’re policing neighborhoods to impose big fines on excessive lawn watering, paying homeowners and businesses to rip out grass and replace it with desertscapes, and even outlawing grass yards in new developments.

And, it’s working. A pioneering 2003 turf-removal rebate program in Las Vegas, for example, has now pulled 165 million feet of thirsty lawn grass out of the area, saved more than 9 billion gallons of water, and cut water use by a third, even as the population has mushroomed.

Such an effort would’ve been treated as heresy only a decade ago, but now it’s simply considered the right thing to do. This isn’t merely an environmental adjustment, but a fundamental ethical shift, especially among younger people.

The idea that green lawns are exercises in ecological narcissism has taken root in this arid and politically conservative region — demonstrating that conservatism really can be about conserving. Mother Nature and future generations will be grateful.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Jim Hightower

National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.


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Getting Mother Nature's Drift

Sunday, 08 September 2013 11:18 By Jim Hightower, Other Words | Op-Ed

The lush lawn is dead in the parched Southwest.

My father was an early member of a group now known disparagingly as “ultra-lawn people.”

“High,” as everyone called him, was dedicated, body and soul, to the Sisyphean task of trying to maintain a lawn full of lush St. Augustine grass in hot, dry Texas. He planted, watered, fertilized, watered, mowed, watered, fought bugs and brown patch, watered, re-planted, watered…ad nauseum.

Some years, he won. Other years, nature rolled him.

High departed his lawn and this Earth well before climate change turned Texas from merely hot and dry into scorched and parched.

I know he would’ve denied it at first, but I think even he would’ve finally given in to today’s new reality: In our drought-ravaged Southwest, the lush lawn is dead. Literally and ethically.

From Texas to Southern California, city after city is adapting to nature. They’re policing neighborhoods to impose big fines on excessive lawn watering, paying homeowners and businesses to rip out grass and replace it with desertscapes, and even outlawing grass yards in new developments.

And, it’s working. A pioneering 2003 turf-removal rebate program in Las Vegas, for example, has now pulled 165 million feet of thirsty lawn grass out of the area, saved more than 9 billion gallons of water, and cut water use by a third, even as the population has mushroomed.

Such an effort would’ve been treated as heresy only a decade ago, but now it’s simply considered the right thing to do. This isn’t merely an environmental adjustment, but a fundamental ethical shift, especially among younger people.

The idea that green lawns are exercises in ecological narcissism has taken root in this arid and politically conservative region — demonstrating that conservatism really can be about conserving. Mother Nature and future generations will be grateful.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Jim Hightower

National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.


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blog comments powered by Disqus