From the beginning Lawn People was a better read than Breakfast of Biodiversity. Still, this political ecology stuff is a bit much for me, but the social aspects of the book did interest me. The concept of the lawn owning us caught my attention right away. This statement is so true. Many people are slaves to their lawns through mowing, weeding, and watering it. Our lawns keep us to a schedule and do control us in a way. Also, the information about who uses lawn chemicals and who worries about them the most also caught my attention. With higher education comes a higher usage and worry about lawn chemicals. Because the people’s homes usually cost more and they are worried about their lawn looking good is the reasoning for those people using the chemicals. These people know these chemicals are bad and these people are also more environmentally aware.
Arsenic as a herbicide blew my mind when I read it. I guess having grown up when I did and not in the 1940s and 50s makes a difference, but the thought alone of using arsenic on a lawn is crazy to me. Essentially the same type of treatments are being used today, but most of them do not have immediate affects on people like arsenic. DDT was another one of these chemicals that was dangerous, and DDT also had a huge impact on other ecosystems. I had heard about DDT in high school and decided to buy Silent Spring. After purchasing the book I have not read a page. I knew DDT was bad, but I did not realize how terrible it actually was.
While reading this book I noticed other people’s reasons for lawns were a little different than mine. Looking pretty would be the last thing on my list of important lawn aspects. My view of the lawn is strictly for recreation. I guess making a lawn look pretty is recreation for some, but for me the lawn, if I use it, is for kicking the soccer ball around, hanging out, and just relaxing.
The lawn as a buffer: If I would boil down my understanding of today’s lawn to a few simple words they would be that lawns are a buffer. Lawns today separate people’s living areas from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The lawn allows the home to be set back and “secluded”. That is just my take on the modern lawn.