Lawn People (With Siobhan and Keller)

Kim Sinclair



Lawn People (Chs.4, 5)
Ch. 4-Input is inevitable since there is an aesthetic demand for a monocultural lawn i.e. weed-free, purified, uniform, and atemporal.

The Dawn and Maturing of Lawn Chemistry

-I found it interesting how, in the early 1900’s, people were drawn toward the idea of the aesthetic lawn, even though the resources were either expensive or unavailable (pest control, etc) at the time.

-I also found it interesting, in the tables on pages 47 and 48, how more and more chemicals were being used as the years went on and technology improved for herbicidal and insecticidal treatment.  What do you think about that?  Was this a good pattern to start following?

-The mercury bichloride really struck me, since we now know mercury is

hazardous.  Did we know it was as hazardous as we know it today, then?

-We used livestock less and less over the years, as these chemicals began to be produced.  Wouldn’t it have been cheaper to allow the livestock to do their thing, as opposed to buying all those chemicals, numerous times a year?  Was the decline of livestock used to keep our lawns aesthetically pleasing due to the change in civilization, where everyone started moving to and living in cities?

-I didn’t know that DDT was used, let alone developed before 1970.  The fact it was developed in the late 1930’s and was deemed hazardous in 1946 and banned in numerous places in the 80’s intrigued me.  I remember hearing about when I was in middle school, how it was used in bug repellant and some big fiasco about it.

-I’d think that the use of all these chemicals in our lawns would have affected us by now, especially since children eat dirt and grass.  Those chemicals must get in our system somehow, even through eating whatever we eat.  Does that bother you?

-What I don’t understand is how we still use 2,4-D even though we know of the health risks it has on animals, but not long-term problems in humans?  Are we that into having an aesthetic lawn that we don’t even consider the rest of the ecology around us?

-I don’t understand why we still use lawn chemicals, even though we know they are hazardous in general.  Is it due to our increasing laziness, or being overly busy and not having the time to get down on our hands and knees like they did in the day?


-I know that nitrogen is the main source of hazardous run-off that causes blue-baby syndrome in infants and causes lakes to “turn over.”  I also know that due to the industry and need for profit, farmers actually put way too much fertilizers on their crops than is necessary, thus causing the problem of run-off.

-Lawn chemicals are found in our house!  Imagine that!  What with children rolling around in the grass, who’da thunk?

-By adding inputs to lawns, it can affect the natural ecology (killing off earthworms) and thus raising a need to increase inputs to keep the lawn “healthy.”

Lawn Risks Defy Regulation

-Regulation of inputs is normally only placed on areas of 3 acres or more, thus leaving the suburban lawns out of it, which eventually make up for the regulation placed on larger land parcels.  Thus, making the regulation null.

Ch. 5

-There must always be two sides to a story, and of course, even if the EPA deems a chemical safe, there has to be someone, somewhere, to counteract that statement and cause a fuss.  Do you think this is to bring awareness to the fact that it is a chemical and that it should be treated as one, no matter how harmless?  Or that it is just the companies raising awareness about the chemical, as a nontraditional way of advertising?

-There are many links to the lawn care chain, dominantly companies and corporations that rely on the homeowner to make a profit.  Therefore, I believe that the industry produces demand by advertising the aesthetic lawn and all of things that need to be done to make it so.

-The rising cost of chemicals comes from the rising cost of testing new compounds to come up with one good pesticide, rising cost of research, and the patent law.  Thus, allowing for the profit that lawn chemical companies make

-The supply of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers that sets the conditions for chemical demand.

-Lawns in which homeowners apply chemicals to themselves and those that just let theirs do its own thing, have been found to display results of no significant difference.  Lawns that are cared for applicator companies at least show a result from having these chemicals sprayed on their lawn.

-“Despite the confident safety assertions of lawn care application companies, hands on chemical workers remain less than fully convinced.  The army of young people in the applicator industry, handling potentially toxic substances, is doing so during key years of physiological development, with ramifications that may last for the rest of their lives.” Page 87.  How do you feel about that?

One Response to Lawn People (With Siobhan and Keller)

  1. Owen says:

    You may want to check out this site.

    It is a six step organic approach to treating your lawn safely. You get the expertise of a professional lawn care service, enjoy the satisfaction of doing the job yourself and enjoy the convenience of having the products delivered directly to your door.

    Very interesting essay by the way.

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