Letter to the editor: Build your own carbon sink



Individuals can help address global warming, perhaps more so than institutions. Replacing lawns with native plants will absorb atmospheric carbon and reduce the need for toxic chemicals, irrigation and mowing.

Some 40 million acres are dedicated to lawns. The potential impact of converting lawns to native plants is enormous. Small gasoline engines (e.g. lawn mowers, blowers, trimmers, etc.) create as much pollution as 40 modern cars; lawn chemicals potentially poison people, pets and other organisms. Fertilizers run off into streams and lakes, causing algal and bacterial blooms.

Lawns progressively harden and destroy soil and require irrigation; two thirds of the amount of water dedicated to agriculture is used in lawn care. Water supplies will decline as the climate warms, dramatically so where the water supply is derived from mountain snowpack.

There are many benefits associated with the conversion of lawns to native plants. A web search or library visit will provide much information on the culture, history and biology of lawns; Some sample references are included below.

Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest, Kruckenberg and Chalker-Scott, 3rdEdition, 2019 University of Washington Press.

Lawns are an ecological disaster

Outgrowing the Traditional Grass Lawn

What is the Greenhouse Effect?

Bob Jamieson PhD

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