Start Your Own Lawn Care Business
Many people water their lawn more often than they should, which wastes water and doesn't help the lawn. When you practice natural lawn care, you don't need to water as frequently because the well-aerated soil soaks up water and holds it like a sponge. The best time to water is in the morning. Watering in the evening can make your lawn vulnerable to fungus. Oddly enough, a good time to water is after it rains. If a rainstorm drops half an inch of rain on your lawn, for example, you can give your grass the deep watering it needs while using less water another half an inch, and you've done the job. And you don't have to wait for a rainy day to give your lawn a drink of rainwater page 68 explains how to collect rain and store it for later. Gray water is the water that comes from your home's sinks, showers, bathtubs, dishwasher, and washing machine. (Toilet water is not gray water water that contains sewage is called black water.) You can recycle gray water and use it on your lawn. Think...
If you decide to stick with grass rather than native plants, it's important to set yourself up for success. Whether you're planting a brand-new lawn or caring for an existing one, there are a few simple ways to keep it green and lush. Check the topsoil. A lawn needs at least four inches of topsoil to thrive. Eight inches or more is even better. If you can only dig an inch or so into your yard before hitting rock or solid clay, buy topsoil to give your grass something to take root in. To make rich soil your new lawn will love, mix the top four inches of dirt with an equal amount of compost before you sow the seeds. If you have a pro test the soil, ask him to check for the major nutrients nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. That'll help you choose the best fertilizer for your lawn. And if you know your soil already has enough of those nutrients, you can avoid overfeeding your lawn When you give it nutrients it doesn't need, the extra nutrients run off into lakes and streams and make...
The one thing you can do to conserve the most water and energy is to get rid of your lawn. Replace it with drought-resistant plants, and don't water them much (create a drought of your own ). You can also replace your lawn with native plants that grow and thrive in your climate without need for additional watering (above and beyond what Mother Nature provides). Barring that, you can I Set the height levers on your lawn mower an inch higher. Less heat will hit the dirt beneath the grass, thereby allowing you to water less. And longer grass chokes out the weeds much better than short grass, so you won't have to use herbicides.
You already know about the types of chemicals in your home, but what about just outside your door Many homeowners take great pride in their lush lawns. Yet acres of thick, bright-green grass cost far more than a few bags of fertilizer and some weed-killer Watering lawns uses a huge amount of precious water up to 60 of all the water people use in arid climates. Gas-powered lawn mowers, weed trimmers, and leaf blowers emit more greenhouse gases per hour of use than most cars. You don't want to harm the great outdoors while you're enjoying it. Read on to find out what's bad about chemical lawn treatments and learn natural alternatives you can try.
In the process of performing the audit you'll learn a lot of things that never occurred to you. For instance, how much propane do you use in your family's barbeque How much gasoline do you use to mow your lawn or blow the leaves off of your driveway How many batteries do you use How much water do you use Do you recycle, and how much energy are you saving in the process
The historic hofjes today are seen as extremely desirable places to live and are frequently owned and managed by a private foundation. Impressively, the interior garden space of each is different from the next. Some are in the form of formal, manicured lawns and gardens, while others are veritable wild oases. Each is entered through a gateway or arch opening on the street sidewalk. One travels down a hallway or corridor, which often dramatically opens up to these delightful green courtyards and the front doors of the typically modest units. The privacy afforded by the courtyard is quite remarkable, and the public and private realms are effectively balanced in this housing design. Interestingly, the hofje design has been used in newer development projects as well. In Den Haag, for instance, a new infill pro
A. campestris caterpillars eat grasses in the family Poaceae, including typical weed and lawn grasses. Larvae sew grass blades together with silk to make a protective tent at the base of the stem or undersides of leaves. A. campestris does not burrow underground, even in winter (Crozier, pers. obs.). Caterpillars pupate on top of the dirt, matting together bits of organic matter to blend in with the
Many household products like detergents, furniture polish, disinfectants, deodorizers, paints, stain removers, and even cosmetics release chemicals that may be harmful to human health as well as cause environmental concerns (see the table, Household Products and Their Potential Health Effects ). Insecticides, pesticides, weed killers, and fertilizers that are used for maintaining one's lawn and garden are another source of household pollution. Their entry into the house could occur through air movement or adsorption by shoes and toys, which are then brought inside the house.
Adult green turtles, as we have seen, eat seagrass, which they crop repeatedly to produce 'lawns' of new flush growth. However, they are not as exclusively herbivorous as they seem. In turtle farms they will readily eat fish, invertebrates and high-protein pellets. As a result they grow much faster and have a higher rate of reproduction than animals in the wild. Even there, however, they are not exclusively herbivorous, having been recorded eating invertebrates and fish. Furthermore, their young are entirely carnivorous. As soon as they hatch in the sand, they run down the beach and swim rapidly out to sea where they famously 'vanish' for their first year or so of life. It is only quite recently that we have learnt where they go and what they eat. They live in the Langmuir bands far out in the open ocean where they eat nothing but planktonic animals which concentrate in these bands.
The fabled English garden with its velvety green lawn and vivid daffodils, delphiniums and bluebells is under threat from global warming, leading conservation groups said late in 2002. Within the next 50 to 80 years, palm trees, figs and oranges may find themselves more at home in Britain's hotter, drier summers, the National Trust and the Royal Horticultural Society said, releasing a new report on the impact of climate change. Gardening in the Global Greenhouse The Impacts of Climate Change on Gardens in the U.K. was commissioned by the two organizations and the government, as well as water, forestry and botanical organizations. (Woods, 2002, S-10)
Piston engines or reciprocating engines (the two terms are often used interchangeably to describe these engines) are used throughout the world in applications ranging from lawn mowers to cars, trucks, locomotives, ships, and for power and combined heat and power generation. The number in use is enormous the US alone produces 35 million each year. Engines vary in size from less than 1 kW to 65,000 kW. They can burn a wide range of fuels including natural gas, biogas, LPG, gasoline, diesel, biodiesel, heavy fuel oil and even coal.
Meet the Carbones, a middle class family living in a typical street. A street, just like thousands of others in the Western world, with picket fences and trimmed lawns, with coffee mornings and a neighbourhood watch. The Carbones have worked hard to buy the house and cars they want, and to provide for their two young sons, George and Henry. Now, although the Carbones still feel that the threat has been exaggerated, they cannot deny the ever-earlier start to spring in Greenville, the disappointingly snow-free winters, and the scorching summer, which at that very moment is finishing off the last few living patches of Mr Carbone's formerly immaculate lawn.
One tactic that can improve the situation for a hungry herbivore is to induce plants to keep growing for a bit longer, thus prolonging the supply of good food. So long as conditions are still favourable for growth, most plants which are cut back have the capacity to put on a spurt of new growth, sometimes repeatedly. Many sorts of flush-feeding animals have capitalised on this. They graze the same plants in one place over and over again, so that - just like mowing your lawn - they keep producing a permanent sward of lush regrowth long after ungrazed plants around them have ceased to grow. The
The storage of oil and oil derived liquid chemical fuels is somewhat more complicated than the storage of coal. These fuels must be confined in a tank. It is usually best to cover the tank so water and dirt do not contaminate the fuel. In this case, the cover serves the purpose of protecting the oil from contamination and evaporation rather than protecting the soil from water that has leached toxins from the fuel. The tanks designed for liquid fuel storage are somewhat more costly than the simple coal pile, but the cost is still quite small. Tank storage of liquid fuels range from large ocean going tankers, to onshore storage depots, storage at local distribution points, local gas stations, automobile tanks and the small tank that stores the fuel to power small tools such as the lawn mower and the chain saw.
Fuels is that alcohols can mix with water, whereas oil, gasoline, kerosene, and virtually all other petroleum products cannot. The earth is a water world, covered by a huge and extremely active hydrosphere. The fact that alcohols can dissolve in this ocean, and that alcohols are readily consumed by common bacteria, means that long-term environmental degradation caused by uncontrolled releases of alcohols is impossible. Today, a quarter century after the Exxon Valdez oil tanker disaster devastated twelve hundred miles of coastline, thousands of sea otters are still being killed by eating polluted clams. If, however, the Exxon Valdez had been carrying alcohol instead of petroleum when it wrecked, the threat to wildlife would have been rendered harmless within hours, or days at most, and the past occurrence of the event would have been made undetectable within months. Instead of hanging about for decades as a noxious oil slick, the alcohol cargo would have simply washed away and been...
Numerous consumer activities directly and indirectly damage the environment. Such activities include driving vehicles with internal combustion engines, buying clothing made of synthetic fibers, installing and maintaining pretty green lawns that require chemical herbicides and insecticides, and hundreds of thousands of other activities that pollute the air, land, and water.
The story of Shorty and Bum is summarized from Shirley (1994). A granite monument stands on the courthouse lawn in Fairplay, recognizing the relationship between Shorty, a burro with unusually short legs, and Bum, a dog that bummed his way around the town and into the hearts of the residents during the late 1940s and early 1950s. Shorty, like Prunes, had worked in the mines near town. When his owner moved on, Shorty was left to fend for himself. As he grew older, his eyesight gave out, and he had trouble searching for food. It was about this time that Bum discovered Shorty in a pasture near the edge of town. Bum became Shorty's seeing-eye dog and led Shorty from house to house
The electric tractor has great promise for lawn mowing in a campus setting. Tufts has purchased one on a pilot basis, and initial feedback is positive. Electric mowers have the benefit of decreasing on-campus noise as well as emissions. At Tufts, our Electric OxTM is used on the lower end of campus, coincidentally for mowing the organic-turf baseball field. At one point the grounds manager suggested that we install PV panels to offset the power for the mower to complete the picture
These nonpoint or scattered sources are not easily traceable. Pesticides and fertilizers used in agriculture and on golf courses and suburban lawns account for a major portion of nonpoint source pollution. Runoff from parking lots and roads flush spilled oil and gasoline and road salt into lakes and streams. Runoff containing manure from livestock and poultry producers has
On 4 July 1954, the US Embassy in Tehran held its traditional Independence Day party. Charles Hamilton, a senior executive of Gulf Oil, recollected the scene in which the American Ambassador 'and his gracious lady' were 'charming hosts to a gathering of some 2,000 persons of all nationalities and walks of life -statesmen, diplomats, princes, government officials, officers of the various armed services and the consortium group'. According to Hamilton, it was a gala occasion in a very friendly atmosphere. While this 'delightful lawn party' was held to commemorate America's Declaration of Independence in 1776, as subsequent events demonstrated, '4 July 1954 marked the beginning of a new era in Iran -when, for the first time, Americans would be admitted on equal footing with the British.'27 A year before the delightful lawn party, Iran's attempt to take control of its natural resources had been crushed in a coup organised by the CIA, ostensibly to stop Iran 'going communist'. The...
Now, despite the growth of cities along major waterways, more and more metropolitan areas experience water shortages. I never thought that would be the case here in Columbus, Ohio. We have two major rivers and three reservoirs to supply the city, and usually have abundant rains. I used to water my lawn with alacrity and let the tap run while I brushed my teeth or shaved. But water is no longer abundant for the taking, let alone the wasting. The Columbus metropolitan area, like so many urban centers across the world, is growing rapidly. Thus in a year that is slightly dry which is when people tend to use more water there are legal restrictions on water consumption. I had to let my grass go brown and subject my lawn to invasions by weeds that use the soil's sparse water more efficiently.
PLA has become a big commercial polymer. The polymer's physical characteristics make it useful for recyclable and biodegradable packaging. Beverage bottles, cups, candy wrappers, and a variety of other food-related applications are well suited for PLA plastics. PLA has also been used for food service ware, lawn and food waste bags, coatings for paper and cardboard, and fibers for clothing, carpets, sheets and towels, and wall coverings. This all-purpose green plastic has also been used in biomedical applications for things like sutures and prosthetic materials.
Lawn & landscape irrigation The nearly 50 water demand reductions achieved by the city of Cheyenne, Wyoming, during record-breaking heat and minimal rain in the summer of2002 exemplify how adherence to simple and reasonable conservation practices can enable a drought-stricken water supply system to stay robust. According to Clint Bassett, Cheyenne's water conservation specialist, We encourage everyone to keep conserving water (WaterTech E-News, 2003). Lawn watering restrictions during one month alone July 2002 lowered average demand to 18.1 million gallons (68.5 megaliters) per day (mgd) compared to 34 mgd (128.7 megaliters) for the same month in the previous year a 15.9 mgd (60.2 megaliters) savings. Further, Cheyenne's reservoirs were 83.5 full in the summer of 2002 compared to 63 the previous year without conservation. Cheyenne's conservation program results created a water reserve or bank that enabled it to better withstand even more severe drought conditions had they occurred....
Non-point source pollution from agriculture, storm runoff, lawn fertilization, construction, and sewer overflows is harder to trace and correct. Hydrologists focus a lot of attention on correcting and regulating non-point sources of pollution. We will look more closely at contaminants in Chapter 8 when we study water pollution.
Most people have some form of landscaping, and many people have extensive landscaping, including a lawn, which is the most water- and energy-intense form of landscaping you can imagine. In a yard, you can conserve water through your landscaping choices and through your choice of sprinkler. The following sections tell you how to use less water and energy in your yard.
The war on sprawl has come to Main Street in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, in the middle of the pastoral Berkshire Hills, where New Yorkers and Bostonians keep million-dollar vacation homes. The campaign is being waged on the chalkboards listing the specials of the day at the bistros and cafes mesclun and herbs from Equinox Farm in Sheffield, mushrooms from Housatonic, lamb from Glendale, grass-fed beef from Hancock and Berkshire blue cheese on burgers, and your choice of butter from High Lawn Farm in Lee or South Egremont ch vre to slather on artisan bread that is baked a few doors down. More than garlic reductions or Internet reservations, the calling card for these restaurants is local food. A diner might feel downright sheepish ordering something that wasn't grown, raised, or created within a 20-mile radius.
The battle over growth in Loudoun County, northwest of Washington, D.C., and host to Dulles International Airport, is different from Oregon's, though the passions run just as hot. The citizen response to overdevelopment in Loudoun County can't really be called smart growth given the pace of building, what's being called for there is either no growth at all or slow growth. Some 25,000 new homes were built in Loudoun County between 2000 and 2004 much of the county is zoned for individual septic systems, which were built so rapidly they became famous for failing, sending sewage onto lawns and foul odors into the air. The way Loudoun County is building so fast . . . it's being slapped up. Everybody's just cashing in and making a quick buck, said Barry Gibbs, who had a poop problem at his new house in a subdivision west of Leesburg. The population has tripled in the past fifteen years, with a quarter of a million souls now estimated to populate what was once rolling hills and farmland. The...
There was no vacation day, no sick leave, no disability compensation. The workers lived in a shanty-town called Kaghzabad, or Paper City, without running water or electricity, let alone such luxuries as icebox or fans. In winter the earth flooded and became a flat, perspiring lake Summer was worse To the management of AIOC then the name of BP the workers were faceless drones In the British section of Abadan there were lawns, rose beds, tennis courts, swimming pools and clubs in Kaghzabad there was nothing not a tea shop, not a bath, not a single tree The unpaved alleyways were emporiums for rats.2
The function of the bioregion and its landscape is to maintain environmental services including waste management, water, energy and food supplies for the regional populations together with the maintenance of biodiversity, a cornerstone of sustainable development. For too long monoculture has dominated the rural landscape its role has been to support the global food markets, seeking justification in the presentation to the population of a spurious choice of food products. Clearly, the very shortest supply lines, serving local markets with good quality, fresh produce would seem to be both in the people's best interests and to be a more sustainable system in the long term. An assumption of urban landscaping is that the city is not, apart from a few token allotments, the place where food is grown. The city is not the location for trees and bushes bearing fruit, where groundcover is edible, or where vegetables are used as decoration. Mollison (1996) suggests that we, 'Replace energy hungry...
You can help prevent water pollution by simply not littering. Street trash that washes down storm drains is a major source of floatable debris. Properly dispose of used oil oil poured down storm drains and sewers is a major source of petroleum pollution. Use nonphosphate detergents for dish and clothes washing. Don't overfertilize lawns and use integrated pest management practices to reduce pesticide use. Use hazardous waste collection programs to dispose of batteries, fluorescent lights that contain mercury, unused oil, paint remover, pesticides and old household chemicals.
We regard the recent science-based consensual reports that climate change is, to a large extent, caused by human activities that emit greenhouse gases as tenable. Such activities range from air traffic, with a global reach over industrial belts and urban conglomerations, to local small-scale energy use for heating homes and mowing lawns. This means that effective climate strategies inevitably also require action all the way from global to local levels. Since the majority of these activities originate at the local level and involve individual action, however, climate strategies must literally begin 'at home' to 'hit home'.
In affluent countries have measures that limit optional uses of water, notably landscaping, when water resources are low. Lawns and home gardens can account for more than half of summertime water use, and the necessary regulations are self-enforced by the community. Second, in many countries, there is an assumed or legislated hierarchy for uses of water that typically puts drinking water in first place and commercial irrigation in last place. Whenever supplies are threatened, those uses deemed most important receive priority. Similar ranking appears in religious legislation going back to Biblical times (Hirsch, 1959). The role of agricultural water use as a reserve sector that can be called upon when needed to supply higher priority uses is well illustrated by the system in Israel (Allan, 1995 Ben-Zvi et al., 1998).
What is most promising about creating local and sustainable food systems is that the means are readily available to us. New expensive technologies are not required and the necessary skills are easy to learn and pass on. The main impediment to creating sustainable food systems is access to land, possibly the longest running source of conflict between rich and poor. Converting our lawns and the occasional abandoned lot to gardens is a good start but will only get us so far. Part of our work in growing local food systems is ensuring that communities have access to the land needed to grow food whether it be through land trusts or land occupations.
By some estimates, as much as half the water consumed by households in the western United States goes to lawns and landscaping. As the population continues to grow in places like Phoenix and Las Vegas, this kind of consumption can not be sustained. Already, water levels at Lake Mead, the reservoir created by Hoover Dam, is 80 feet below normal level. The water has dropped consistently for more than 20 years. In some ways, xeriscaping is a return to normal for desert communities. The practice of keeping grass lawns in a dry climate was never easy because it contradicts nature. By anticipating a time when water will be less plentiful, homeowners and landscape architects who adopt water conservation practices are creating the future.
Questing progressively more significant change. Nevin outlines the example of a water conservation project in Canada, in which homeowners were requested to sign a document which committed them to limiting watering of their lawns, which most people agreed to. Then these households were visited by people who provided them with gauges for measuring rainwater and requested a further reduction in water use. The water use of this group of households was then compared to the households who had simply received an information pack, and it was found that the watering by the former group decreased, on average, by 54 percent. In contrast water use in the latter group actually increased. While obviously there are a variety of important factors at work here, such as the social contact that took place in the shaping condition, what is most relevant herein is that change can be successfully implemented via a series of small steps. Sometimes behaviour change can seem overwhelmingly difficult to people...
Pesticide, insecticide, herbicide, fungicide The suffix -cide comes from cida, the Latin word for killer. The chemicals that kill lawn pests like insects and weeds can also be toxic to people and pets. That's why you see those little plastic flags warning you to stay off recently treated grass. every year, people in the U.S. dump more than 100 million pounds of pesticides on their lawns and gardens. Suburban lawns and gardens actually get more pesticides per acre than most agricultural areas. And those pesticides can get tracked into your house or blow in through open windows as you enjoy the breeze on a nice day. Through the skin. You might want to think twice before you walk barefoot through the grass or lie down on a shady lawn. And pesticides can get into your house on shoes or clothing. Then, when you walk barefoot through the house or pick up clothes to toss into the washing machine, they can get on your skin. Pesticides also kill the earthworms that aerate and mix the soil and...
Probably the best person to ask about the consequences of large mammal extinctions is an ecologist named Norman Owen-Smith. During my years at the University of the Witwatersrand I had the pleasure of calling him colleague, and learned of his interest in the ecology of megaherbivores. Take, for example, the African white rhino and hippopotamus, two very large, grazing herbivores. They are basically lawn mowers when it comes to feeding they graze the grass down to short lawn grasses, as opposed to the tall grasses one typically envisions on the African savanna. But it takes fire to maintain a tall-grass savanna indeed, the tall-grass savannas that tourists enjoy are largely artificial products of human-induced fires, which promote grass growth and burn off tree saplings. The short grasses do not burn so easily, and thus fast-growing woody plants are able to invade and quickly transform the land into a thicket of dense woody vegetation.17
Another important change you can make is to avoid using gasoline-powered tools such as lawn mowers, weed eaters, and leaf blowers. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 54 million Americans mow their lawns each weekend, using 800 million gallons of gasoline in the process. In fact, using one gasoline-powered mower for an hour pollutes as much as 40 late-model cars and weed eaters and leaf blowers pollute even more.4 Instead Consider reducing the amount of lawn area. Replacing lawn with attractive, low-maintenance plants that are native to your area can minimize the amount of mowing you will need to do and provide better habitat for wildlife than sod.
Manicured, green-carpet lawns are among the most wasteful practices of modern civilization. The water that is used to keep it growing and green, and the mowers that are used to cut it back down, both require a lot of energy. Consider alternatives, such as a clover lawn it grows only an inch high and stays green all year. You can also reduce your lawn's energy consumption by relying on the rain or collecting rainwater from rain troughs on your roof. If you want your lawn to be extra environmentally friendly, keep it trim with a push mower, rather than the electrical or gas-powered alternatives. You can also avoid using fertilizers on your lawn the production of fertilizers releases nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas over 300 times as heat-trapping as carbon dioxide.
Fertilizers promote plant growth, making your lawn lush and green. But what's in that stuff you're feeding your lawn Both natural and artificial fertilizers contain elements that help plants grow like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium but they get those nutrients from different sources Natural fertilizers use organic materials to enrich the soil and provide nutrients for your lawn. (Here, organic means that the fertilizer came from a living thing, whether plant or animal.) Grass needs a lot of nitrogen, so these fertilizers contain protein, which can come from stuff like ground corn, soybeans, bone meal, or seaweed. The protein gets eaten by friendly microbes in the soil that then expel nitrogen, which your grass absorbs through its roots. It takes about three weeks of letting the microbes to do their thing before you start to see a difference in your lawn, so be patient. Page 191 tells you more about natural fertilizers. p Here's an advantage of using organic fertilizer The...
The first thing to do when you're switching to natural lawn care is to take a good look at what you're growing. Is your lawn the best kind of grass for your area In warm, dry climates, for example, you want a grass that can tolerate drought conditions and recover quickly after an extended dry spell. Temperature range, shadiness, rainfall, humidity, wear all these factors affect which variety of grass grows best in your region. And knowing which one works best can save you water and cut back on the time you spend caring for your lawn. For recommendations about the kind of grass best suited to your climate and conditions, visit When choosing a grass, keep in mind that fine-bladed varieties and the older types of Kentucky bluegrass (like Kenblue and Park) need less water and fertilizer than perennial ryegrass or many of the newer varieties of Kentucky bluegrass. Or go with a no-mow lawn. That's a bit of a misnomer you'll have to mow, oh, once a month or so, starting in June. No-mow lawns...
A converted commercial lawn sprinkler-the kind that normally creeps across grass blessing it with life-giving water-diabolically blessed the place with a shower of flames. Its rotating arms pumped fiery orange clouds of ignited kerosene fuel over a wide circle. The acrid, half-burnt smoke, trapped by the overhead freeway structure, choked the spectators. Then the Screw accidentally tipped over its fuel can, and the Sprinkler from Hell went out of commission. So the Flamethrower lit up to take up the slack. The Flamethrower was a steerable giant blower-of the type used to air-condition a mid-town skyscraper-bolted to a Mack truck engine. The truck motor twirled the huge cage-fan and pumped diesel fuel from a 55-gallon drum into the airstream. A carbon-arc spark ignited the air fuel mixture and spewed it into a tongue of vicious yellow flame 50 feet long. It roasted the pile of 20 pianos.
No one screams about global warming when you run your lawn sprinkler. Why not The answer is that, at some given temperature, the amount of water vapor is controlled by negative feedbacks with the rate of evaporation and with rain. Our lawn sprinkler may be depleting our fresh water supply, but it is not going to lead to global warming because any water we drive into the atmosphere will just rain out next week. A negative feedback stabilizes the water vapor concentration at any given temperature (Fig. 7.1d).
Atalopedes' range expansion has occurred over a time period in which human land use has intensified and human population density has increased. Atalopedes thrives in abandoned lots, lawns, and gardens at densities that are probably higher than they would be in natural prairie habitat. Urbanization is not a sufficient explanation for the range expansion by itself, however. The expansion did not follow the main pattern of urbanization, which would have proceeded along the corridor between Portland and Seattle. Furthermore, the human presence in western Oregon has been substantial since the turn of the century and is not unique to the last 30 years. Nonetheless, understanding the role of land use changes is a very important consideration in predicting the consequences of climate change over the next century because human population growth and development may impact many terrestrial species, some negatively and some positively. I explored the suitability of habitat beyond the range by...
To help match water demand to supply in fast-growing, arid metropolitan areas, some state and local governments have tied the approval of residential development permits to the availability of adequate water supply.40 Other politicians have turned to technological mandates. In the 1980s, for example, severe droughts prompted many California cities to install water meters and require residents and firms to participate in conservation efforts. In some cities residents were banned from watering their lawns more than once a week and required to install low-flow showerheads in their homes. According to studies, by installing such devices, the typical home could cut its average daily water use from seventy-four to fifty-two gallons.41
Social history often returns to the theme of the lawn versus crabgrass. Properly nurtured, suburban sod serves as a symbol of gentility and social superiority. Dominance over the encroachments of chickweed, par-tridgeberries, plantains, rushes and innumerable other undesirable forms of vegetation proclaims the orderliness, the rightness of an existence distanced from the rigors of urban living. F. Herbert Bormann, an emeritus professor of forest ecology at the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a leading lawn revisionist, reads a different message. To him, the lawn is a metaphor for environmental excess. Several years ago Bormann, who, with his colleague Gene E. Likens, is credited with discovering that acid rain was falling on northeastern forests, turned the lawn into a mission for 11 Yale graduate students. The project unearthed some startling facts. In area, grass is the largest single crop in the U.S., Bormann says. If aggregated, American lawns...
Hazardous household products fall into six broad categories household cleaners, paints and solvents, lawn and garden care, automotive products, pool chemicals, and health and beauty aids. Many commonly used household products in these categories release toxic chemicals. As an alternative, manufacturers are introducing products, often referred to as green products, whose manufacture, use, and disposal do not become a burden on the environment.
Jenny Owen is an ecologist who since 1971 has found in her 784 square yards of suburban garden in Leicester, two miles from the city centre, a diversity of plant life rivalling, she believes, that of the tropical rainforest. Here are moths whose names spell a threat, chart a legend, tell a joke the snout, the shark, the ghost, the coxcomb prominent and the common footman, the chimney-sweeper, the seraphim and the pale brindled beauty. Here are toadstools and milkcaps, pink, orange, dazzling white and yellow, their hyphae intertwining and ramifying endlessly and invisibly in the soil to burgeon suddenly on the small lawn like a revelation. Here, in a miniaturized danse macabre, a vespula worker wasp and a hoverfly lock in combat, the wasp slowly eating the drone alive until, sated, it flies off, an encounter 'as violent and chilling as a lion's bloody onslaught on a zebra'. All this has happened within school grounds, usually on old tarmac, lawns or playing fields. But shaping land is...
In Cuba, urban gardens have played an increasingly important role because of the downturn in the country's economy since the loss of the Soviet market for its products, and since the tightening of the U.S. embargo. An Urban Agriculture Department oversees these efforts. By 1998 there were over 8,000 gardens in Havana, cultivated by over 30,000 people. The Ministry of Agriculture replaced its front lawn in Havana with a garden of lettuce, bananas, and beans, and many of the ministry's employees work in the garden. These urban gardens have reduced the burden on rural areas and led to a reduction in food transport and storage while increasing quality and variety of produce in cities.
The problem with weeds is that they are better at capturing solar energy and soil nutrients than our highly selected monocultures of crops. They also reproduce and disperse quickly and effectively, as I see on my lawn every year. But from the point of view of earth's biodiversity, it is actually the crops that are the unwanted weeds. They deprive the land of more productive ecological systems and the biodiversity in them.
Today's water system is just as dumb as the old electrical grid. Users have no idea how much it costs to water the lawn, wash the car, or run the dishwasher at noon versus midnight, so they do whatever they like and use a lot more water than they would if they actually understood the price or saw the cost add up in real time. So one obvious way to rationalize water use is to install smart water meters that allow water companies to impose pricing structures that differ depending on usage or time of day and show consumers how much they ' re spending. Smart meters will also enable municipalities to monitor consumption trends in order to enforce restrictions on certain types of usage, such as lawn irrigation, in times of drought. In one recent U.K. test, metering resulted in a 9 percent drop in water consumption.
Nitrogen is needed by all organisms to form proteins, grow, and reproduce. Nitrogen is very common and found in many forms in the environment. Inorganic forms include nitrate (NO3), nitrite (NO2), ammonia (NH3), and nitrogen gas (N2). Organic nitrogen is found in the cells of all living things and is a part of proteins, peptides, and amino acids. High levels of nitrate, along with phosphate, can overstimulate the growth of aquatic plants and algae, causing high dissolved oxygen consumption, killing fish and other aquatic organisms. This process is called eutrophication. Nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia enter waterways from lawn fertilizer runoff, leaking septic tanks, animal wastes, industrial wastewaters, sanitary landfills, and discharges from car exhausts.
There's a perception among some people that doing the right thing for the environment requires sacrifice and extra work, but when it comes to gardening the reverse is often true. For example, replacing large expanses of lawn with low-maintenance native wildflowers reduces the time and expense of mowing, fertilizing, and watering, with the added benefit of beautiful flowers. It's win win. What happened to this commonsense approach to landscaping Perhaps it's simply expediency trees get in the way during construction. Or perhaps it has to do with our culture's obsession with the perfect lawn. No doubt it has to do with our legacy of cheap electricity and fuel. When electricity was inexpensive and heating oil was fifty cents a gallon, conserving these resources wasn't a high priority.
In ecological planning, or low-impact development, practitioners ensure that development has the lightest possible impact on nearby ecosystems. The ecologically sensitive builder uses turtle-friendly curbs in roadways (low enough in places for the slowpokes to clamber out of harm's way), designates wildlife corridors that remain undeveloped so critters can traverse from one part of their habitat to another, and recognizes that the edge of a subdivision doesn't end with the last homeowner's lawn that noise, chemicals, pets, and invasive plant species can infiltrate deep into the neighboring woods and have a significant impact on the ecosystem. It's a matter of reading the land better before building on it.
Figure 10.14 Effect of rainfall intensity and kind of surface on the runoff coefficient. Curve 1 refers to impervious roofs, concrete and urban areas generally, 2 to steep rocky slopes, 3 to medium soil on open slopes, 4 to residential suburbs with gardens, 5 to parks, lawns and meadows, 6 to forests and sandy soils, 7 to cultivated fields with good growth. Figure 10.14 Effect of rainfall intensity and kind of surface on the runoff coefficient. Curve 1 refers to impervious roofs, concrete and urban areas generally, 2 to steep rocky slopes, 3 to medium soil on open slopes, 4 to residential suburbs with gardens, 5 to parks, lawns and meadows, 6 to forests and sandy soils, 7 to cultivated fields with good growth.
The automobile suburb fostered privately owned, single-family homes built on larger lots, wider streets, and with greener lawns than in urban centers, giving rise to what Kenneth Jackson has called The Crabgrass Frontier (1985). The dream of a detached house in a safe, quiet, and peaceful place, he argues, has been an important part of the Anglo-American past and a potent force in the development of the suburbs. 17 Suburban homes
Americans show no signs of changing their preferences, either. Anti-sprawl activists say that conventional suburban development is popular because it's pretty much the only thing that's offered. But suburban development does seem to be what an awful lot of Americans want. Take a typical couple I met while researching a story on Hopkinton, Massachusetts, a suburban boomtown off Interstate 495, Boston's second outer beltway. Dan and Cindy Lundy started out in a condo on Appleton Street in Boston's South End and enjoyed city life, but when they decided to have a kid they headed for Hopkinton, 26 miles west of Boston. (I am confident in the precision of this distance because the one-time farming town is the start of the Boston Marathon every spring.) The Lundys found a big house along a fresh subdivision road, with a back porch overlooking the woods, a wine cellar, and a three-car garage for the BMW SUV, which is equipped with an automated toll reader for the trip to Dan's job at the...
A goal of many green building projects is to leave the land a better place than it was before. Achieving this goal requires site restoration activities, such as rehabilitating natural drainage systems, replacing wide swaths of green lawns with plants that provide wildlife habitat and replanting ornamental plants with native and adapted species that need far less water and intensive maintenance. As we complete the switch from a predominantly manufacturing economy to one based primarily on services, developers are finding attractive options in paved-over older parts of cities that once supported manufacturing, warehouses and similar industrial uses. Many of these sites were polluted with petroleum products, heavy metals, PCBs and other toxic substances that require remediation before reuse. Even paved-over but unpolluted sites can be converted to offices, retail, hospitality and housing, with considerably more wildlife habitat.
Media has of course all the space and courage to take on cases like re-opening the murder of Jessica Lal or Priyadarshani Matoo. I am not saying that the media campaign around these two particular cases shouldn't have been launched. But the media must explain that how come it not only covered the candlelight processions in support of Jessica Lal at the India Gate lawns in New Delhi but also brought the candles to be distributed to those who were pulled up for the procession Why is a similar campaign not being launched in the media for the farmers who are committing suicides After all, every hour two farmers are committing suicide somewhere in the country. How many more farmers need to be sacrificed before the media will wake up to its responsibility The ground realities are far removed from the rhetoric and the statistics that have bred immunity against compassion. We are all part of a global media, which actually perpetuates poverty and deprivation. We make tall claims of feeling...
Second, some cities simply don't have enough water. You can conserve, but if too many hands are reaching into the pie, costs are likely to rise, as is the amount of pressure to reduce usage even more. Consider whether a city is a candidate for severe droughts (most western cities are). Find out what happens when a drought occurs. If the city forbids watering lawns, for instance, you may have an expensive problem on your hands.
The plant waste we generate, from food scraps to yard clippings, makes up nearly a quarter of the material dumped in landfills. Most of it can be composted instead, which both keeps biodegradable material out of the waste stream and generates valuable soil for use in lawns and gardens. Even if it didn't bring other benefits as well, those two things would make it worthwhile.
Whenever water is used for humans, it must be treated from two different angles. First, any surface water from rivers that is used in cities is treated for drinking, usually by chlorination. After water is used for drinking, washing, lawns, toilets, and so on, it has to be treated at a wastewater treatment plant before it can be released back into the environment. Fig. 8-1 illustrates the path that water takes from initial water treatment (chlorination) to urban use, and then wastewater treatment before its release back into the environment.
Here's an offbeat, long-term thought People have been moving to warm, dry regions for decades, and they are now facing the inevitable conflict between falling water supplies and rising populations. For Americans living in Arizona, Southern California, and several other western states, life is about to become a lot more expensive and complicated as water prices rise to bring supply and demand into balance. And water problems are not confined to the Southwest. Georgia is in the grip of an unprecedented drought, and even Florida is running short of fresh water. The Sun Belt, in short, is no longer the cheap, restful place to retire or raise a family that it once was. Meanwhile, warmer weather is making those nasty northern winters a lot less onerous. How long before the realization begins to dawn that places like Michigan and Ohio offer an intriguing combination of cheap real estate and abundant fresh water The northern United States has nearly 20 percent of the surface fresh water on...
Outdoor water uses, primarily for landscaping, consume an estimated eight billion gallons per day in the US, perhaps as much as one-third of all water use.168 Xeriscaping is a well-used term for water-conserving landscaping, the prefix denoting dry. Another term might be natural landscaping. The essential feature of xeriscaping is to employ regionally appropriate plants and planting techniques (such as mulching) that reduce or eliminate water use except from normal precipitation in the area. If you've ever seen sprinklers on in the midst of a rainstorm, or broad expanses of green lawn highlighting a public building or major office complex in the desert, you'll know something is amiss in our understanding of how to minimize the environmental impacts of landscaping practices. Fortunately, xeriscaping is a major movement today among landscape architects. Where I live in Tucson, I would be shocked to see a green lawn in front of a new home in a development. In the Tucson area, single...
As the edge of the eyewall approaches, the sound is like that of a freight train passing. The house in which you sit begins to shake, even though its exterior walls are made of solid concrete. You can hear things smacking against those outer walls and against the plywood covering the windows. The air becomes filled with tree limbs and whole palm tree tops, unsecured bicycles, lawn mowers, boats, Spanish tiles, broken glass, and big signs. Automobiles are over
In the past the EPA based its estimates of yard trimming generation on only sampling studies and population and housing data. During the 1990s it began to take into account the expected effects of local and state legislation on yard trimmings disposal in landfills. For example, in 1992 only eleven states and the District of Columbia had laws prohibiting or discouraging residents from disposing yard trimmings at landfills. By 1997 another twelve states had such legislation in place. The EPA believes that this increased the use of mulching lawn-mowers and the practice of backyard composting of yard trimmings, thus reducing the amount of yard trimmings in MSW.
It's probably no surprise to learn that gas-powered lawn mowers create lots of pollution. For small lawns, consider an old-fashioned push mower (also called a reel mower) you'll get a workout and a great-looking lawn. Electric mowers are another option there are cordless models if you're worried about mowing over the cord. There's no need to collect the clippings after you mow (unless it's been so long since you last mowed that they cover the grass in big clumps). Let them decompose and enrich the soil they add nitrogen and other nutrients, which means you won't need as much fertilizer. A mulching mower can help with this process. If you need to remove clippings from your lawn either because it's been ages since you last mowed or the grass was wet so it clumped don't bag the clippings. Toss them on your compost pile (page 191) instead. Most of the time, lawn mowers sit unused in sheds or garages. Use yours more efficiently by sharing it. Get together with some neighbors, pool your...
If weeds seem to like your natural lawn-care program as much as the grass does, you don't need to poison the weeds to get rid of 'em. Instead, try these approaches Good, old-fashioned digging. One sure way to get weeds out of your lawn is to dig them out. At the start of your region's growing season, grab a hoe and dig up weeds while they're still small. Later in the season, use a trowel to dig out dandelions and other weeds at the roots. (It's easiest to dig up weeds when the soil is damp.)
The world do not have to cause mass extinctions, however, such low-Intensity use probably requires a much lower population size than currently found on Earth, if it is to be widespread. (a) Forest Meadow at Rashult (the birth place of Linnaeus) in southern Sweden. Pollen analysis has shown that this meadow system was created, from woodland, about 900 years ago (Lindbladh and Bradshaw, 1995). It is still managed by traditional methods, with the aid of subsidies, as this is no longer an economic way to farm in Sweden. It is rich in plant species, as is appropriate for the birthplace of one of the greatest names in plant taxonomy (b) Traditional, species rich, alpine meadow in the Italian Dolomites. Because of the steep terrain it is still managed by traditional methods (the mechanical harvester in the picture being little larger than a domestic lawn-mowing machine).
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