Couple turns lawn into ecosystem; officials threaten to mow it down

The one good thing about drought is that the lush green lawns outside your neighbors’ houses act as a sort of banner, proclaiming ASSHOLES LIVE HERE. But lawns aren’t just water hogs: They are also monocultures, as devoid of diversity as suburban school districts. Lawns lack the fauna that bees and other important pollinators need to survive. The mass mowing and fertilizing of lawns pollutes the air, the soil, and the groundwater.

In short, those prissy, manicured lawns are wasteful and useless — and that’s without mentioning the basic nuisance of waking up to the whine of your neighbor’s push mower at 9 a.m. on a Saturday.

In Ohio, Sarah Baker and her partner decided to tackle the lawn problem by letting their rural one-acre lot go wild. They stopped mowing. And when they stopped mowing, Baker writes in The Washington Post:

A diverse potpourri of plants began to flourish, and a rich assortment of insects and animals followed. I had essentially grown a working ecosystem, one that had been waiting for the chance to emerge …

The un-mowed plants in our yard attract plant-eating bugs and rodents, which in turn attract birds, bats, toads and garter snakes that eat them. Then hawks fly in to eat the snakes. Seeing all this life emerge in just one growing season made me realize just how much nature manicured lawns displace and disrupt.

Town elders, however, didn’t see Baker’s lawn as a functioning ecosystem; they saw it as a nuisance.

Read more here.