August 4, 2014

Get rid of the lawn.

I've seen the toxic algae bloom on Lake Erie that has compromised the potable water for the greater Toledo metropolitan area blamed on agribusiness, but there don't seem to be a lot of people mentioning all the chemicals we suburbanites are dousing our lawns with.
Scott's Miracle Gro netted $1.08 billion (that's billion with a b) in the second quarter of 2014. They are certainly not the only provider of nitrogen- and phosphorus- rich fertilizers that will infiltrate the ground water and eventually end up in Lake Erie in concentrations that will cause toxic algae blooms, but they are certainly the largest company that sells such products. And millions of us all over northern Ohio smother our lawns in it to keep them artificially healthy-looking and green.
I have previously mentioned my dislike of lawns, but it bears repeating. Especially when we are so quick to blame farmers who are possibly using less chemicals than all of us lawn jockeys combined.
 In the U.S. over 70 million tons of fertilizers and pesticides are applied to residential lawns and gardens annually. Some of that, in our neck of the woods, is going to end up in our lakes. Next time you want a greener lawn, think about that. 

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