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

Vladtheimp

Reggie Love, perhaps?

Tri-cities realist

I was thinking more local, but Reggie works too lol

Lanivan

And your point is? Sounds to me like you are promoting class warfare with all these references to your expensive toys in addition to being cavalier about your gas guzzling lifestyle.

Vladtheimp

Apparently you missed the point that this was an attempt to respond to SNL fan's listing of his many environmentally questionable toys, and his statement that Harleys are poorly engineered, compared to, say, Asian crotch rockets. The reference to Apocalypse Now might have also been a clue that this was an attempt at irony and humor. I will try to identify when I am using humor in the future with an *(H) for those without a funny bone. God Bless *(H) - reference to Bernard McGuirk/Imus.

Lanivan

I got the irony, Vlad ( i.e., Col Kurtz?).

43°North

how did I get thrown in there? I post a fact on here and get slammed? HATRED?? LOOK WITHIN YOU. You truly ASS-Sume too dam much dyankee! What an imbecilic rant!

43°North

What dribble! Better have the nurse at your 'home' wipe the corners of your mouth.

Wingmaster

Excellent retort. You have now moved everyone here to your positions!

GH55

This country makes up less than 5% of the World population but uses 20-25% of the annual consumption of energy! That doesn’t even take into account the energy used to produce the goods and services that are produced outside our borders and then consumed here.
My whole point is the wanton consumption, the gluttony that this country represents. Ask why we are even concerned with the Middle East, and essentially it all comes down to oil! Our insatiable thirst to burn fossil fuels. I don’ care what you think about what if any effect this may have on our environment, I am more concerned with our need to maintain a military force that seems to be centered on keeping the flow of oil intact. Just in the last few years, how many lives of our service men and women have been expended to keep that flow coming? If the need for huge quantities of oil, to power our massive SUV’s, and all of our toys and many garden implements, was reduced, and we could live within our means, then perhaps we would not be viewed by the rest of the World as the conspicuous consumers we are!
That is how we are viewed, as the mass consumers of the World. If a third world country has resources we need, we will get them, regardless of the means!
Even within our own country, if someone is seen to try and not participate in the mass consumption society, we are ridiculed. I have already been told I will be ignored if I end up in a ditch this winter in my small car, while the massive SUV driver motors merrily by! I can assure you that will never happen to me, never has and never will! I guess some feel they need a huge engine coupled to a massive vehicle to compensate for other failings. If I can’t consume the “Bacon-a-tor”, with a large order of fires and a 32 ounce Mtn Dew, I am a wimp!
I guess I am just cheap, I don’t understand the need to pay for excess stuff that I can get way cheaper by either not consuming so much of it or by other means of use, such as a rake instead of a raucous, smelly leaf blower, or a small car that more than suits my needs instead of a behemoth that sets 7 and tows 10,000 pounds to drive to work. I choose to ride a bike when I can, I enjoy sailing instead of power boating, I cross country ski instead of snowmobiling. Perhaps I could suggest a bit of exercise to burn off some of that vile, seething anger I sense in your post.
This country has fallen way down on the scale of innovation and number of educated people when compared to the rest of the world. Ignoring the education of our young people or not making provisions for affordable education is short sighted to say the least.
Mankind has proven time and again that we are indeed toxic to “Mother Earth”. I don’t need to go far to find many instances of rampant pollution with complete disregard for the environment and the citizens exposed to that pollution to enhance profit to support that position with overwhelming evidence: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lis... , this link is SuperFund sites in Michigan only. Without the regulations, from the EPA and the DNR, we would be back in the last century. And what is the cry heard all the time: “There is too much environmental regulation!”
You have fallen back into the same old rhetoric questioning my patriotism if I happen to express an opinion other than yours. As a matter of fact I spent four years in an Army uniform and several more providing engineering services on a missile program for the US Navy in Washington DC.

Tri-cities realist

Snlfan, hopefully you checked back in here. Please see my reply about 2/3 of the way down the page. Perhaps I can help you out.

Lanivan

Amazing how some of the people here seem to care so very little about environmental issues in general, or what kind of environment will be left for our children, but scream bloody murder about deficits and how our "children will have to pay for it". And the use of all that anti-climate change lingo that makes you sound all high-falootin' - oh please, get a grip. I'll bet you dollars to donuts if the Republicans did a Romney flip-flop and started to espouse climate change, you'd change your tune in a heart beat!

Vladtheimp

This may come as a shock, but I respectfully disagree. What comments lead to your conclusion that the conservatives on this forum want to leave a dirty environment for their children and grandchildren, other than the liberals nocturnal dream of a world without any "pollution" man made or otherwise? I note that the 100% natural CO2 is now considered a pollutant by environmental extremists. Since you brought up wagering, I'll bet that you, Lanivan, would not bet your hard-earned money on the weather forecast 30 days out being accurate. Yet you and your friends are willing to bet BILLIONS of taxpayer money, and the debt owed by our children and grandchildren, that computer climate and weather models 100 years out are accurate, even though they have already been proven to be wrong. In support of this belief, you and your friends turn a blind eye to the fraud that has been demonstrated coming out of East Anglia (and the ego of Michael Mann, subjecting his hockey stick to judicial discovery in his suit against Mark Steyn, will likely blow the whole fraud up in public). I refer you to the realistic studies cited by Realist (Nov 09, 2012
01:15 AM ). If you want to bet on the accuracy of the computer model driven forecasts for December, 2012, please pick a day, a forecast (since they differ dramatically) and how much you want to wager. I suspect there will be others not including me who will be willing to take you up on the bet - the forecasts have to be 90%-100% correct, to justify the bankrupting of our children on the "settled science" of global warming. Bye the bye, given your use of the term "dollars to doughnuts" I now think you are more mature than I had earlier believed. It's kind of fun to try to figure out stuff about the opponents in the joust.

Nov 09, 2012
01:15 AM

Lanivan

Just being tongue-in-cheek with the colloquialisms. My level of maturity may or may not reconcile with my age. You folks love to dance around the issues, cherry-picking "data". As to climate change, it's basically unanimous among the scientific community that global warming is different from historical cyclical weather conditions. The main contributor to current weather extremes and the speed of Arctic melting is essentially man-made. Scoff all you want.....the rest of the world recognizes the threat and is moving forward. Funny how folks discount that climate change is a threat, but love to feel threatened by their president, Muslims, Big Bird, women's rights, equal pay for equal work, etc.

Vladtheimp

Not willing to bet your hard earned money, eh? It was not so long ago, historically speaking, that scientists were unanimous in their understanding that the earth was flat and in the 70's there was near unanimity that global cooling would do us in. Realist has already blown your unanimity claim to smithereens if you cared to look at the information he provided, yet you continue spreading the manure based on claims of the media and left-wing activists. You also don't factor in the power of money like grant money that persuades some "scientists" to go with the flow. I am not threatened by Big Bird as long as he stays out of my pocket nor by equal pay for equal work, as long as the measurements and metrics are unburdened by politics. Do I feel threatened by a President that wants to undo the principles upon which this nation was founded and has succeeded from the beginning, and by Moslem extremists and Moslems who fail to criticize those extremists and their actions? You Betcha! Believe it or not, I had a mother, I have a sister, and my better half is actually a woman, and I have always supported their rights to equality. They, fortunately, do not equate their rights with Lily Ledbetter and the right to have FREE STUFF at the expense of others, from free medical care to free contraceptives to Obamaphones. Finally, you are right about attempting to correlate age with maturity - I'm sure you're the cat's (or kitten's) meow.

Tri-cities realist

Climate change couldn't be linked to solar activity, that would be absurd! And it is far from "basically unanimous", unless you discount the 30k+ scientists who have gone on the record to disagree with the IPCC. By the way, global warming of the planet has temporarily ended, which is now why it is being called "climate change". What specifically did we humans do to make the global temperature decline? It must have been all of our good intentions.

Tri-cities realist

To those not trained in the scientific method, it may seem "high-falootin'". That is understandable. But if we are going to discuss the "consensus" of scientists, then we need to understand the underlying science and its methods. Or we can just spout whatever BS we choose. I choose science. I don't care what politicians have to say about global warming, I will listen to the scientists whose data and methods are public and subject to peer review (unlike East Anglia, where their raw data was claimed to be "lost".) Here is a good summary of the controversy http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comme...

On a similar note, much attention was given to Romney's lack of details in his economic plan. How could someone who used this as a reason not to vote for Romney, then put all of their faith in global warming on reports that were based on data that was "lost" and not made public despite freedom of information requests? The answer once again is hypocrisy.

Speaking of which, according to petitionproject.org "The United Nations IPCC also publishes a research review in the form of a voluminous, occasionally-updated report on the subject of climate change, which the United Nations asserts is “authored” by approximately 600 scientists. These “authors” are not, however – as is ordinarily the custom in science – permitted power of approval the published review of which they are putative authors. They are permitted to comment on the draft text, but the final text neither conforms to nor includes many of their comments. The final text conforms instead to the United Nations objective of building support for world taxation and rationing of industrially-useful energy."

Wingmaster

Thanks again TCR for showing the homework. Your last sentence boils it down to what the real issue at stake is. I don't care what party you affiliate yourself with, as an American this should be very troubling. Not only is OUR money being redistributed here, they want it distributed abroad. Isn't the foreign aid money we p#** away enough. Sorry, I know I drifted off topic, but we have threats to our sovereignty coming at us from many angles as our dummed down citizens struggle thru their daily lives......and before you lefties jump me, I do not call our citizens dummed down in a derogatory sense, I state that as a result of what was started in the sixties during all the counter culture crap that many of you subscribe to.. There, that should be enough to spill some morning Latte in left la, la land!

jbfullerton

Father Idema posed the question, "Why Have A Lawn?" as an entree into the larger issue of conservation and stewardship of our planet. As usual, the comments quickly degenerate into name calling, character assasination and wild assumptions about those idiots who disagree.

The issue of global warming aside, lawns nearly killed Spring Lake, and the remedy was not cheap.

Lawns are an ego trip. Look at me! I have a well maintained, weed free, green, lush carpet outside my front door. Just by looking at my beautiful grass you can assume that I am a person of means, character, responsibility and discipline. And in this great country of ours, people with little imagination certainly have the right to landscape their property as they wish!

Historically lawns truly began to dominate the landscape during the great suburbanization post WWII, people eschewing the asphalt jungle from which they moved; a small patch of wilderness tamed by the gentleman farmer. Lawns provided a commonality, the leitmotif of the fifties.

So sixty years later, I would hope that we're a bit more adventurous, imaginitive and educated as to the collective impact of our individual actions. Father Idema was offering a positive alternative to the lawn. Embrace alternatives or maintain the status quo. Ever swim in a dead lake? Everyone's choice.

Wingmaster

Why bath, why wash dishes, why use the toilet, why wash cars. All are using the resource we should save for drinking. Hey, if you want a low maintenance yard like mine, go for it. When you put it up as some kind of partial solution for global warming dribble, you lost me. In fact green yards contribute to the healthy air we need to breath. They help cool and reduce evaporation of soil moisture. If you want to talk of creative ways to recycle the water for irrigation or low phosphorus ways to feed their lawns, I'm listening. Besides, without the open expanse of a yard how do you play volleyball, frisbee, catch, darts, badminton, or anything else that requires open area. Without name calling you look down your nose at them with disdain the same way. If they want lawns for crying out loud leave them alone and go enjoy your Hosta.

Vladtheimp

This is for the serious environmentalists - I used Snopes so even the liberals among them would believe it (and moderate republicans like Lanivan). http://www.snopes.com/politics/b...

Lanivan

You're right, Col Vlad. There is so much more we could be doing. We recycle at home and at our business, and all the other usual stuff, but it's barely a drop in the bucket. What do think of Obama's work with the auto industry to get mileage rates up by 2025? Oh wait, you'll probably see the glass 1/2 empty on that, as well. Sigh....

Vladtheimp

No word on the difference between the lifestyle of Lord Gore and the hated Boosh? I thought that might be a discussion of interest. What do I think of Obama's work with the auto industry - short synopsis - give GM and Chrysler to the UAW while screwing the bondholders and non-union Delphi workers; give millions to his own bundlers and foreign green automakers/ solar/battery companies that failed because there was no market for their products - make real auto companies try to comply with a CAFE standard that has caused, and will cause, thousands of deaths per annum due to simple physics. When Obama and his green friends can find an alternate energy source that can send you or I from Muskegon to Chicago in less than an hour, get back to me, or don't fly.

Tri-cities realist

The silence is deafening...

Lanivan

Hang on....still developing can't find anything to back up Vlad's recurring claims....only about Elliott/Paul buying Delphi and moving it to China....more later.

Vladtheimp

Hint: Google Delphi, Geithner, Treasury, interference and you should find something.

Wingmaster

Ya know, I almost feel sorry for her today. Probably should give her some time to freshen up a bit:-)

Vladtheimp

Hint 2 Re:"..only about Elliott/Paul buying Delphi and moving it to China....more later." You don't want to leave out Obama moving GM to China "Obama caves to China – GM EV (VOLT) Technology, Jobs, going to China" http://my.firedoglake.com/papau/...
and GM's big plans for China includes more Cadillac models http://content.usatoday.com/comm...

Lanivan

You do make a point, Wing and Vlad (aka, Col Kurtz) - Although NSview is very reasonable and logical in his approach to Rev Idema's piece, and it does reflect my viewpoint as well, there are a variety of ways we can reduce our environmental footprint without making major lifestyle changes. CFL bulbs are one example. Oh how you Tea Party GOPer's threw a toddler level hissy fit over Bush's mandate! But of course they save loads of energy and are a very easy thing for people to incorporate into their lifestyle. Wind energy is another thing states can invest in that makes a huge difference on a broader scale. Have you driven out west in the past few years? There are thousands (maybe millions?) of wind turbines and wind farms between here and the West Coast. (spare me a lengthy diatribe on the evils of wind energy, please). It's a very exciting time, and whether you want to call 99% of the global scientific community idiots for their climate change research or not, this is the direction the world is going in. But then, I know you guys are far more into "emotion", "drama", and "gut feelings" than hard facts, hence the gibberish coming from Rove on the eve of the election when they just knew Romney was going to bulldoze Ohio. Over and over you've proven the Romney campaign adage, "I'm not going to run the campaign based on fact-checkers".

Tri-cities realist

Yes some of us are intellectually honest enough to disagree with a President with whom we agree most of the time. (I also disagreed with the first stimulus spending). Can you say the same? For us Constitutional conservatives, we don't think the fed govt has any business mandating what kind of light bulbs we buy. If they are such a better product, why would we need to mandate their use? Why not let the market (people) decide? Oops I forgot govt knows what's best for us, how could I have forgotten that.

Tri-cities realist

With today's technology their is no way to economically store excess electrical energy on the grid. Once produced, if it is not instantaneously consumed it goes to waste. Have you driven north on US31 just south of Ludington? You don't need to travel out west to see a wind farm. And I think this wind farm may be one of the few that can actually reduce our dependence on the power plants. I am guessing that its proximity to the reservoir near Ludington is not coincidence. If the wind energy is being used to pump water up into the reservoir (to later be released through turbines creating electricity), then it appears to make sense. The real problem with wind and solar, is its lack of reliability based on the weather. I for one am not willing to go without electricity if it is not windy or sunny. Are you?

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