Over 40 million acres of the United States are covered by lawns with two percent of land occupied by turf grass and $30 billion spent on lawn care. Lawns are indicators of socio-economic status in America and the culture surrounding lawns has created a unique but extreme threat to climate change and our carbon footprint. From the water to the fertilizers and equipment needed to maintain a well-kept, Americanized lawn, the toll on the environment is serious.
Most lawn equipment uses gasoline and are two-stroke or four-stroke engines. Thirty percent of the fuel in two-stroke engines don’t combust completely releasing high levels of exhaust emissions. While four-stroke engines are less harmful than two-stroke, one study found that a four-stroke engine running for an hour released emissions equivalent to a vehicle traveling for 500 miles. Five percent of total emissions in the United States are from lawn equipment with an average of 800 million gallons of fuel used annually and 17 million gallons of that spilled.
Interested in having a more environmentally friendly lawn? Here are a couple tips:
- Switch to electric lawn equipment! While electric equipment can cost more up front, you will save overtime by not having to maintain fuel. Electric lawn equipment is powerful, compact, and easy to use.
- Rather than planting turf grass that creates an artificial environment and stunts biodiversity in the local ecosystem, grow native plants on your lawn. Native grasses, flowers, and ground-cover plants require little maintenance and allow the local ecosystem to thrive.
By Addison Marr