IDEMA: Why have a lawn?

Nov 7, 2012

 

Perhaps we should look at climate change as Pascal (a French philosopher, physicist and mathematician, 1623-62) did in terms of the existence of God. His famous wager put forth the proposition that, if you believe in God, you have nothing to lose and much to gain; but if you place your bet on the nonexistence of God, there could be a horrible price to be paid.

Same with climate change, it seems to me. We gain more by believing in it, and doing something about it, than betting that it is a left-wing ideology and that there are no consequences for all the pollution we create.

Climate change has been barely discussed in the election cycle that mercifully will have ended by the time you read this (Or will we have recounts that prolong the agony?). So, let's discuss climate change here.

In all the years I have been reading articles on religion or letters to the editor in our West Michigan newspapers, rarely do I see someone who argues that the church should take active measures to do something about climate change. Would that be too controversial for a preacher or parish newsletter?

But, you might ask, what can we do as individuals or as a church to combat something as global as climate change? There are many things, of course. Energy-saving light bulbs; energy-efficient cars; monitoring the amount of electricity we use; taking advantage of Consumers Energy's program of signing up for "green" energy for our homes, churches and businesses instead of coal energy (that costs me an additional $16 a month for my home — but well worth it, I believe).

Here is another idea that probably you have not thought of: getting rid of your lawn. Let it be natural. Perhaps planting some indigenous plants is a nice addition to natural ground cover.

Green lawns are a European import, which are not natural to Michigan. We have to water them all the time in summer, which wastes a precious resource. The fertilizers are often bad for the environment. We get neurotic about the moles, which ruin the look of a green lawn. The heat of summer then turns the green grass to brown.

Moreover, in the fall, you think you have to rake up all of those beautiful leaves only to expose the dull lawns of fall. I would rather have wood chips, fallen leaves, ground cover, and some color with flowers and plants you don't have to mow, rake or water all that much.

Moreover, lawnmowers create noise pollution, along with all that smoke belching out into the heavens.

Getting rid of lawns for vegetation and plants natural to Michigan won't solve the problem of climate change, but it will save you from a losing battle against it as you try to keep that British and French import — green grass — looking green.

What is wrong with appreciating the beautiful dandelions in the spring? Or the piles of red, yellow and brown leaves that pile up on our lawns in our gorgeous autumns?

You can also do away with church lawns, as far as I am concerned. Think of how much money that would save in parish budgets!

I have a lawnmower for sale, if you need one. I will never need it again!

— By the Rev. Henry Idema, Tribune religion columnist
 

Comments

GH55

The obsession that is Lawn! National Geographic did an article a couple of years back of the astounding amount of cost and resources that wnet into Lawn. Unless you have a well and pump to sprinkle your Lawn, watering with purified water is ridiculous!
In LasVegas, to reduce the need to search out supplies of more water to supply the exponentially expanding population, for removal of Lawn, the government was offering to pay $2/square foot. Some golf courses were making millions from this opportunity.
75% of my yard is beach grass! I cut what I have with a manual push mower in less than 20 minutes. No watering, minimal hassle. Natural, sustainable! My neighbor has a $6000 yard tractor, blowers, sprinklers running everyday! What a waste!

Boater

And your beach grass is a haven for rodents. I think you probably jealous of your neighbor and their ability to afford to pay for those things. They can have a lawn if they want a lawn, it's not your business.

Only an idiot (and there are many of those out there) believe that Global Warming had anything to do with Hurricane Sandy. It's cyclical, just look back to 1954-58.

dyankee

The true waste will be the next 4 years on Pennsylvannia Ave. Henry, no one is saying climate change does not happen. However, educated people without an agenda will tell you that man has nothing to do with it. Climate change has been a natural occurance for millions of years. The cycle of changes are the earth's natural way of cleansing it's sole. If man can effect climate change then, why didn't we send our military out to engage Hurricane Sandy and push it off our shores or the Noreaster that is hitting them right now? Your curly light bulbs have mercury in them and will end up in land fills when you throw them out, but it doesn't matter to you as long as you feeeeel like you're doing something. The problem is, you want everyone else to join your stupidity. By way of correction, there is zero waste in watering lawns as the water is returned to the ground and the aquifers beneath them!!! Noise from a lawn mower is now considered "polution" to you? Perhaps, we can somehow apply this theory to a majority of your columns, as well.

Wingmaster

LOL on your wit dyankee. Oh, your views on climate change must surely be wrong as now that Obama has a mulligan term, the first thing he should be able to do is lower the sea levels.

43°North

why not? He obviously controls the weather too.

Vladtheimp

:Mulligan term" - now that thar is funny. Any bets that he's a hooker rather than a slicer? (I'll probably have my post removed for that one).

Tri-cities realist

Anything the left disagrees with is considered pollution.

dyankee

"soul" correction.

GH55

So you think adding to the tax burden to almost double the capacity of the water treatment and distribution system to water lawn is not a waste? That is interesting! Why would anyone spray purified drinking water on the ground is beyond me!
To ignore the effects of fossil fuel powered energy is ignorant! To ridicule the innumerable scientific studies that demonstrate clearly the effects of that activity is stupid. "Educated people without an agenda"? Is that like those scientists a few years back telling us that smoking was OK if not down right healthy?
There is already too much mercury in the Great Lakes from burning coal to produce electricity that we can only eat a minimal amount of the fish in the lake.
I guess the economy is much better than we were lead to believe if people have the money to waste by spending hundreds on watering lawns and all the associated activities that go with that and to ignore some of the other opportunities such as CFL's to help reduce their electric bills. Lets not even consider all the behemoths driving around on the roads that get less than 20mpg. I am sure I will be ridiculed for saying that 20mpg is wasteful!
I love all my rodents! And I am in no way shape or form jealous of my neighbor's lawn tractor! That is a waste of money and effort that is beyond reason!

Tri-cities realist

And you and your neighbor each have the right to live your lives as you see fit. Please don't legislate against our way of life, and we'll let you keep thinking that you are saving the planet by using mercury filled light bulbs. Deal?

Tri-cities realist

The water treatment systems don't need increased capacity due to lawn watering, the water goes into the ground, not your toilet, sinks, showers, or bathtubs. Did I really need to write such an obvious observation? Apparently. And those that water their lawn do not increase the tax burden, in fact it is just the opposite, since they PAY for their increased water usage, and are also charged (albeit at a lower rate during summer months) for waste water treatment, even though this water goes into the ground. So actually, those that water their lawns are subsidizing others, by paying for the treatment of water that never enters the sewer system. So I would rather you just thank those that water their lawns by subsidizing your water, rather than berate them here. Please site the names of the scientists who claimed that smoking is healthy. And if you are so worried about mercury, look at the packaging of the next high priced light bulb you buy. Wow.

43°North

where were you when they just increased the capacity of the water treatment plant? (intake, not the sewage treatment plant!!!!). They sure didn't do that to accommodate all the new transplants moving here...from the Trib, Sept 29, 2011...a renovation of the facility that expanded output from 15.5 million gallons per day to nearly 24 million gallons per day. To say watering your lawn doesn't cost anyone else money, you are wrong.

43°North

The cost of the expansion project was $15.4 million.

Tri-cities realist

I apologize. When I read water treatment plant, I was thinking of waste water treatment. Honest mistake, my bad. Thanks for catching it.

Wingmaster

You must be a treat to live next to...you like rodents and it appears you do not want to keep up your yard. You are actually adding to the tax burden if you allow the value of your home to fall, therefore paying less taxes. If you want to follow flawed science, how about the science back in the 70's that actually said the plant was cooling! Nature goes in cycles, if you live a long enough life, you will see it for yourself. Do you remember high lake levels a few years back when home owners on Lake Michigan were losing decks and homes to the lake? I'll be sure to wave at you in the ditch this winter as I drive comfortably and safely by you in my less than 20mph behemoth. If you flag me down for help, at least carry your own safety strap so I can pull your sorry butt out of the ditch.

Tri-cities realist

Rev. Idema, why would we need to "believe" in climate change if it was supported by science? Must have been a Freudian slip. And while we acknowledge that the planet gets warmer and cooler (like it has for millennia), some of us disagree with the theory that man is the cause of it. Perhaps it is God's will, just a thought.

snlfan

To deny that climate change is not real and impacted by the effects of pollution is to deny facts... you don't get to make up your own... the jury is in, science has spoken... We could start an endless listing of sources, I'll just post one creditable one and leave it at that...
http://news.nationalgeographic.c...

Wingmaster

Not so fast snlfan, the jury is not in. There are plenty of scientist that don't believe in this global warming nonsense. This hocus pocus was designed by the left an Al Gore to make money for their greedy little pockets. Your being duped. Ever heard of this little scheme called carbon credits? Great way to extort money don't you think. Your being a fool following these liberal leaders in this movement while they continue to live in the lap of luxury, big homes, big cars, air travel all of which we are supposed to give up to protect the environment

snlfan

Sorry you are wrong... I am have a technical degree and understand the science.. Please sight one source not funded by a right wing organization, that denies... you're argument does not hold any water... we used to believe the earth was flat, until we had evidence it wasn't.

Wingmaster

Oh please, you reference the liberal National Geographic magazine and then tell me not to reference a right wing source. Use your skull, we have only been producing carbon emissions for around 100 years. I could go on about other carbon emission sources but space here does not permit it. The earth has been going through climate cycles since its beginning. So no, I won't go dig up a source that debunks your global warming nonsense as you will just claim it is right wing. Using your technical degree, you should be able to understand you are looking at a snapshot in time to base the entire global warming theory upon.

snlfan

Wow... so wrong on so many levels... so you can not site a source? I figured you would dodge.

Wingmaster

Well snlfan, looks like TCR did that pretty well for you up above. You know my positions on global warming, you already short circuited my source of reply in your question, so what kind of answer were you looking for? So now that TCR did the homework, what say you? Or did you not read his links....figured you didn't!! ...Well until I just prompted you!

snlfan

Will be back... got busy day today...

Tri-cities realist

Oh boy, I can't let this educational moment go to waste. (I am not an educator by profession, but also have a technical education). If you have a technical degree and understand the scientific method, then certainly you must have heard the phrase "correlation does not imply causation." If not, PLEASE do yourself a favor and look it up (along with demanding a refund on your higher education). Anthropogenic Global warming by its very nature cannot be PROVEN (at least with today's technology). To do so, one would need to hold all other factors (like solar activity) constant to ascertain whether human activity was the CAUSE of the global warming. Hopefully you can appreciate that. So while there is a correlation between atmospheric CO2 and rising global temperatures, it is scientifically inaccurate to say that one caused the other. Perhaps it is the rising temperatures that creates the increased CO2 levels. Both are just theories. And since you asked for a list of scientists who disagree with the position of the IPCC, here you go: http://www.petitionproject.org/ this includes 31,487 signers with a BS or higher education, including 3,805 with Atmospheric, environmental, and Earth sciences degrees. Want another? Try This one: http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/bl... which includes 650 scientists including former IPCC members. Need a link to a government website? http://epw.senate.gov/public/ind... ... So... Since science is a method of discovery, please try seeking out other sites on your own, you never know what you might find. Ready to retract your statement "you're argument does not hold any water"? (or will you claim that the 30k plus are involved in some sort of vast right wing conspiracy?). Admitting you made a mistake takes a bit of courage, but it doesn't hurt so much. In fact, I did just that on this very page. Will you join me?

GH55

None of these are peer reviewed scientific studies, two are merely petitions and the other is an article with some comments in response to or in agreement with a vote in the Senate by Republicans! Ahhhhh, that is proof that climate change is a hoax? Not really!
The fact is that this country consumes an enormous amount of energy, most of which is produced by burning fossil fuels, compared to the rest of the world.
Skepticism is about seeking the truth and realizing the world is a complex place. Skepticism is about stepping away from superstition and dogma. Genuine skepticism in science is one of the ways that science progresses...Denial is something very different, it is a refusal to believe something, no matter what the evidence.
Consider the facts not the belief or the propaganda!

Tri-cities realist

GH55, I am sorry to have to tell you that you are factually wrong. The study by petitionproject.org WAS subject to peer review. Here is what their authors have to say: "The authors chose to submit this article for peer-review and publication by the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons because that journal was willing to waive its copyright and permit extensive reproduction and distribution of the article by the Petition Project." I'm sorry to burst your CO2 bubble! And by the way Petition Project does not accept donations from industry, it receives donations from its signers, so it makes sense that they would publish in a journal that is most cost effective, since they don't have the bank roll that an Al Gore or George Soros does. And I definitely will "Consider the facts not the belief or the propaganda" of an organization that will not reveal the data on which their report was based, the report most cited as the "evidence" of global warming by the IPCC. Thank you for the suggestion, please listen to what you wrote.

GH55

Arther B Robinson believes "Intelligent Design" is science, and here is some "stuff" on Willie Soon: "In 2011, it was revealed that Soon received over $1,000,000 from petroleum and coal interests since 2001. Documents obtained by Greenpeace under the US Freedom of Information Act show that the Charles G. Koch Foundation gave Soon two grants totaling $175,000 in 2005/6 and again in 2010. Multiple grants from the American Petroleum Institute between 2001 and 2007 totalled $274,000, and grants from Exxon Mobil totalled $335,000 between 2005 and 2010. Other coal and oil industry sources which funded him include the Mobil Foundation, the Texaco Foundation and the Electric Power Research Institute. Soon has stated unequivocally that he has "never been motivated by financial reward in any of my scientific research." and "would have accepted money from Greenpeace if they had offered it to do my research." Yeah, right!
I am thinking this "research" had an outcome planned before it started!
Sorry, not buying it!

Tri-cities realist

So to follow your logic, I shouldn't believe any research done by people who are supported financially by George Soros or other left thinkers. But that doesn't solve anything. We all know research takes money, even the leftists won't do it without pay. So rather than diverting the conversation to funding sources, why not discuss the skeptics' findings? Regardless of the source of funding, if the skeptics' research is flawed, it should be easy to point out their mistakes. Try giving that a go, and we can discuss. And will you be so brave as to publicly admit that you were wrong about "peer review"? You must have missed that section of my post, please re-read and feel free to comment.

GH55

http://www.energyadvocate.com/pe...
http://solar-center.stanford.edu...
So, many ways, so little time.
I won't waste any further energy with this as there is only denial here not skepticism!
Skepticism is about seeking the truth and realizing the world is a complex place. Skepticism is about stepping away from superstition and dogma. Genuine skepticism in science is one of the ways that science progresses...Denial is something very different, it is a refusal to believe something, no matter what the evidence.

Tri-cities realist

Nice sidestep. Why do you deny the evidence we provide?

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