Friday, July 10, 2009

Lawns and Bees and change, oh my!

My mother's lovely garden and pesticide free lawn

This summer has brought about some interesting developments in my local community. The first is a short article in Burnaby Now where their headline was: "Is the lawn out of style?" and for many important reasons I think that it is. The article mentions a suburb of Sacramento, California, that has a Cash for Grass program, encouraging locals to remove their conventional grass lawns and replace them with drought-resistant plants. This is a sustainable option for areas with water scarcity. Lawns are a strange obsession in suburbia, driving people to use pesticides and other horrible chemicals to have perfectly groomed green grass that you never even see people walking on. Another wonderful option for use in cities and suburbs for conventional lawn space is for growing food. The price and demand for food is rising, you could use your lawn space to grow a small garden and feed your family fresh vegetables for a few months. This article mentioned that many California initiatives are adopted here in BC and they could see the Cash for Grass program being introduced here in the next few years.

A development that has been initiated here in Burnaby, by a unanimous city council is that homeowners can keep their own bees. Bee populations are on the decline worldwide and so this will allow us to help bees and encourage their vital survival. Some homeowners expressed concerns about bee stings, but bees rarely sting and are only interested in pollinating their hearts out. Many people mistake bee stings for wasps or hornets.

In Vancouver they have voted to allow homeowners to raise their own hens for eggs, also a great way to provide fresh food for our families. Not yet being a homeowner I can not get rid of my grass lawn, erect a bee house or have my own chickens but I try and do my part just the same. I planted annuals and perennials this year that attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds and I am growing tomatoes and green peppers in pots on my balcony. I am very encouraged to read articles from my community that show positive changes happening in the mindset of homeowners. Cities and suburbs must adapt their tiny patches of earth to make them as sustainable as possible. The benefits are endless and depending on how climate change affects us in the years to come these changes may become a matter of survival.

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