Want to save the planet? Where should we start? Let’s start at our doorstep!

You can make some decisions as soon as you open your door that can lessen your impact on the planet. Stop mowing the lawn. Let’s think about the options.

The Great American Lawn A lot of folks want or have a yard that looks like the one above. It’s a monoculture environment that is usually maintained with a significant amount of chemicals and a lot of internal combustion. It doesn’t have to be that way, but that is the most common American approach.

It’s important to realize that your typical 4 horsepower lawnmower is a huge polluter compared to even the automobiles most of us drive every day.

The EPA estimates that gardners and lawn workers spill 17 million gallons of gasoline each year. That’s more petro gallons than the Exxon Valdez spilled in Prince William Sound. Of course it gets splashed all around instead of concentrated in one place so maybe it’s ok. And maybe not. I have a concern that long term and ubiquitous exposure to volatile chemicals may not be good for lots of God’s creatures.

If you want a lawn that looks the one above and you want to walk lightly on the earth, then here are a couple links for information and material support on maintaining a truly “green” lawn.

But there are some much healthier options than the lawn pictured above. Healthier in every way. Lawn and yard as ecosystem to a multitude of plants, insects, animals that coexist in the way that plants, animals, and insects have developed to coexist over millenia of evolution. Or “as God intelligently created these beings to coexist” for those of us with more dogma and structure than intuition and intelligence.

And this other option for our outdoor experience is the one that really interests me. It’s part yard and mostly garden. But garden in the permaculture sense of a sustainable environment that includes flowers, edibles, and creepy-crawlies. Eden was reported to be a pretty decent garden. Now that’s intelligent design.

So what do these great garden yards look like? And what is our work in their creation and our mutual sustenance?

We have been snapping some pictures around the South Sound of particularly good examples. There is a pretty nice neighborhood down south Capitol way where a lot of folks have established some pretty nice examples. Here’s one.

Closer look

Here’s one of my personal favorites from up in the Armory neighborhood. I walk by this home often for inspiration.

If this approach to urban living has appeal, stay tuned. We are planning to look at ways to go from lawn to urban eden.