Issues & Insights

Environmentalists Have Now Declared War On Our Lawns

Americans often pride themselves on their lawns. Maintaining our green grassy landscapes and colorful gardens is a $36 billion a year industry. Three-fourths of us have told pollsters that “my lawn and garden (are) a reflection of my personality.”

But the eco-lobby doesn’t want us to have nice things.

“On balance, lawns are awful for the planet,” Eric Holthaus wrote last week in Grist, an environmentalist online magazine.

“Our addiction to lawns means that grass is the single largest irrigated agricultural ‘crop’ in America, more than corn, wheat, and fruit orchards combined,” he adds. “A NASA-led study in 2005 found that there were 63,000 square miles of turf grass in the United States, covering an area larger than Georgia.”

Is there no end to the left’s screeching sermons, its demands we “do better,” the arrogance driven by a sense of moral superiority that believes it can make decisions for others?

While Holthaus admits lawns can be “pleasing,” “help reduce the urban heat island effect,” “help restore groundwater and reduce urban flooding,” and draw carbon dioxide from the air, Grist is much more interested in dispatching a tirade. We have to “culturally stigmatize” lawns because they are of no “net benefit” and simply “need to die.”

Grist openly brags about its “irreverent” approach to reporting the news. So there’s a slight temptation to think Holthaus is having a laugh at others’ expense. After all, who could actually oppose green lawns?

It’s no parody, though. It’s a scolding.

Naturally, there isn’t a single reference to freedom, liberty, or our right to live as we see fit without interfering busybodies in the Grist screed. But then its purpose is to browbeat, command, and eventually control.

The urge to force conformity to the environmentalists’ agenda won’t end with lawns. Nor did it start there. The long list of things we’re not supposed to have or do was begun some time ago, and now includes:

  • SUVs and pickup trucks
  • Luxury cars
  • Large homes
  • Travel by jetliner
  • Air conditioning
  • Set our thermostats at 72 at all times
  • Daily showers
  • Beef
  • Single-use plastic bags
  • Nuclear power

Next month it will be something else. And then there’ll be another target the month after. The eco-lobby will never grow weary in its wrongdoing.

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J. Frank Bullitt

J. Frank Bullitt has been writing professionally since 1986. After covering local news for years, and putting in some time in Washington, D.C., he began writing opinions in 1998, covering a wide variety of domestic and international topics from a limited-government point of view.


  • Gee, so somebody is opposed to the national fixation with lawns. So what? Holthaus is simply expressing his own opinion, in this case based on the usual bogus environmental balderdash. On the other hand, in most municipalities, failure to maintain your lawn in a way acceptable to the authorities will get you in legal hot water. Eventually the city will send a crew over to mow it and you’ll get the bill. Where’s the freedom in that?

  • There is a solution!

    We can take used plastic soda straws cut them in half, paint them green and stick them in the dirt where there used to be grass. Solves two problems! No more soda straws choking sharks and no more need to water!

    A solution endorsed by the Ciera Club and Greenpeas International according to reliable inside sources!

    A smart entrepreneur suggested putting led bulbs in the soda straws so they could be used as decorations on politically correct holidays like May Day!

    Praise Gaia! Grass and plastic straws, one more Global Armageddon avoided!

  • I am a conservative and a strong one, not a fake one like so many who claim to be such, but I have basically stopped having a front and back lawn. It is all pollinator plantings including the dreaded ” weed” milkweed, so don’t say it is all the planners and regulators. I have done it out of my own enjoyment of native plants and insects.

  • Hey! I just planted a new lawn (Tall Fescue) after ten years of the California Drought, I’ve had weeds and dirt for too long. I think I’ve built up quite a credit. Checked my water meter… It only takes 36 cubic feet of water to do my whole 1500 sq ft lawn $7.50 a month. And yes, I AM capturing carbon dioxide (plant food) by the pound.

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