Monday, January 14, 2013

Wasted Space

I read this interesting statistic yesterday....

America has thirty-five million acres of lawn and thirty-six million acres devoted to housing and feeding recreational horses, and that doesn’t even count golf courses.

Salatin, Joel Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World (p. 77). Center Street. Kindle Edition.

That is some 70 million acres devoted to grass that produces basically nothing. At 640 acres to the square mile that works out to  109,375 square miles. For comparison sake, England is 50,346 square miles and Greece is 50,949 square miles, so in the United States we have the equivalent of two entire European nations worth of grass that we spend billions of dollars, who knows how many gallons of chemicals and untold amounts of energy and time either mowing to meet an arbitrary standard of neatness or caring for horses that we mostly look at. The lawn care business (and the larger general industry of landscaping suburban homes that sit in neighborhoods that are largely abandoned during daylight hours) is a huge one and one of the most frivolous and unnecessary that we have.

I like our horses and I don't mind having some lawn but I do kind of question whether we need acres of meticulously manicured lawns and pastures full of horses that mostly stand around and turn hay into manure. Just something I found interesting,

2 comments:

Genoise said...

Not just lawns, but extra sq. feet in houses, rooms that rarely get used, families living on one fiscal cliff after another just to support the 2000+ sq ft home with the white picket fence; tanks of oil that could be used to give warmth to more than one family. Time, space energy that could all be managed so much more efficiently if we could just lay down our need for independence and shift to interdependence...

Arthur Sido said...

That is the thing, we don't like being dependent or at least reliant on one another. We covet our stuff jealously which is why every home in a neighborhood has a lawn mover when one would be sufficient for ten homes.