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Growing up, I absorbed a lot of values from my Ol’ Texas Daddy – a strong commitment to the Common Good, a healthy work ethic, and a lively sense of humor. But one thing about him I’ve rejected: His determination to have a perfect yard of thick, verdant, St. Augustine grass.
Lord, how he worked at it – laying sod, (watering), fertilizing, (watering), weeding, (watering), spreading pesticides, (watering), mowing… (more watering). But it was too hot, too dry, too infested with blight, bugs, slugs, and such. He was up against Texas nature, and he just couldn’t win.
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So, I’ve gone in the opposite direction – slowly nurturing a natural yard of native trees, drought-tolerant plants, and a general live-with-nature ethic in my little landscape. I’m hardly alone in this rejection of the uniform “green grass imperative.” A spontaneous yard rebellion is taking hold across our country as more and more households, neighborhoods, businesses, etc. shift to a nature-friendly approach. A particularly encouraging push for change is coming from school kids – elementary level through college – who’re appalled by the poisoning of our globe and organizing locally to do something that both makes a difference and makes a statement. One exemplary channel for their activism is a student movement called Re:wild Your Campus.
Of course, some people consider wild yards to be scruffy, ugly… unruly. That’s their choice, but some also insist that tidy grass lawns must be everyone’s choice. So they proclaim themselves to be the yard police, demanding that cities and homeowner associations make green-grass uniformity the law, filing busybody lawsuits and running right-wing social media campaigns targeting people and groups that disobey.
These attacks are silly because… well, they are silly, and also because they’re attacking the future, which is nearly always a loser strategy. To work for yard sanity and choice, go to Rewild.org.