This heat wave is a reminder that lawns are horrible to the environment | Akin first

aSa A hot wave Across the United States, local and state governments are scrambling to find solutions to the threats posed by record-high temperatures. Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia have declared heat emergencies, activating public cooling centers and other safety measures across their cities, while Phoenix and Los Angeles continue to push programs to Factory New trees in working class neighborhoods with little canopy coverage. Many of these short-term solutions rely on water, a dangerous fact considering that nearly 50% of the country is too suffer A form of drought, with the number of Americans affected by drought increasing by 26.8% since last month. This looming threat has prompted one state, Nevada, to search for a long-term solution: banning non-working lawns.

garden herb Takes 2% of the total land in the United States. If it were a crop, it would be by far the largest irrigated crop in the country. Nevada, out of necessity, has taken the obvious but significant step of relieving some of the most urgent symptoms of the climate crisis and buying itself more time to take other measures. It is time for the federal government to push all states to do the same and create incentives to ensure this happens quickly and in a way that does not force the American working class to foot the bill.

The United States is experiencing the onset of water shortages. A 2021 study found drought in the western United States to be the worst in the region I have seen In 1200 years, and this is in large part the result of the current climate crisis. While meadows are not the biggest contributor to climate change, they do occupy an area of ​​vegetation that can offset carbon or slow wildfires, while still causing a weight of damage on their own.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, outdoor water use for lawns and gardens accounts for 60% of domestic use in arid regions of the country. And unlike indoor water use, much of that water is lost to evaporation and runoff. All in all, American Meadows use 3 trillion gallons of water each year – enough drinking water for billions of people annually – plus 59 million pounds of pesticides and 1.2 billion gallons of gasoline for Lawn mowers. These are all relative drops in a bucket given the full scope of the climate crisis, but given the utter futility of lawns, there are very few drops a lot.

The history of the prairie in the United States is deeply rooted in the racism and aristocratic ambitions of America’s ruling and middle classes. In the eighteenth century, something similar to modern lawns gained popularity among the wealthy elite in France and England, and was imported Through Founding Fathers such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. The difficulty of maintaining the Lawns made it the exclusive domain of the wealthiest Americans until it became popular in the 1950s after federal aid and a friendly lending market made it easier for Americans to buy homes and move to the country’s growing suburbs.

a confluence of two rivers Federal housing policies, discriminatory lending practices, and newly established homeowners’ associations have allowed white families to reap the full benefits of this growth almost exclusively. Whites fled the cities and claimed their own white fenced fiefdoms. Lawns have become a symbol of the American dream—a dream that has been postponed, for some. American lawn represents the worst of the United States, wasteful, vain, and full of shit. After all, lawns need fertilizer — which in America comes mixed with herbicides that kill native plants and pollinators.

This chaos of negative features is the reason Nevada’s move to ban non-functional turf lawns in southern Nevada. A committee was tasked with defining what fits this definition and creating a list that includes everything from condominium lawns to shopping center dividers – and it excluded single homeowners and places like cemeteries and football fields.

as For The New York Times, the state has spent decades pushing halving measures such as setting water use limits and creating financial incentives for residents to primarily sell their herbs to the state. But Lake Mead, which supplies 90% of southern Nevada’s drinking water, has become so empty that the agency in charge has had to build a new pumping station to extract the rest. With this new legislation, southern Nevada is expected to reduce the amount of water it extracts from Lake Mead and another reservoir by 10% this year.

The rest of the country should follow suit. While it won’t by itself avert the global catastrophe we are already in the midst of, it is the kind of logical reform that could generate support on both sides of the dimly lit aisle — as evidenced by the partisan nature of the Nevada bill. The federal government should step in and offer incentives to states to encourage citizens to give up lawns willingly, with stricter dates for mandatory removal of sites that fit criteria similar to those set by the Nevada Commission. Congress can also help by subsidizing some of the often costly replacements of lawns with native plants, or by doing so passing Legislation such as green job programs that could offset potential job losses in the lawn care industry – although the latter is clearly unlikely.

There are a number of beautiful proposals to replace the old-school modern lawn Victory Gardens — which allowed communities to band together to produce and help the government lower the cost of goods in the midst of World War II — just to stick with native plants and trees that could provide shade on hot days and absorb some carbon in the meantime.

This may seem like a bare minimum, and that’s because it is. It is time to at least do so.