Launch of Lawn Reform Coalition

We need something like this in South Africa, such a great initiative:

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 14, 2009 — United by their common goal of reducing the impact of lawns on the environment and human and animal health, nine of the leading horticultural communicators in the United States announced the formation of the Lawn Reform Coalition, a media campaign that will provide up-to-date information for home and business owners across the country.

“With lawns covering as much as 50 million acres of our nation, requiring copious amounts of water, fertilizer, pesticides and fossil fuels to maintain, they have become a drain on precious resources that we can no longer afford to waste,” said filmmaker and author Paul Tukey from Maine. “At their worst, lawns are toxic blankets that aren’t even safe for our children and pets.”

Using the website LawnReform.org, social networking groups and downloadable materials, the members will focus their message on regionally appropriate lawn species, eco-friendly care for all lawns, and ways to reduce or replace lawns, including by growing food.

“If your lawn serves a useful purpose, like playing ball with your up-and-coming Cy Young Award winner, how about downsizing to the minimum necessary size, managing your water wisely, going fossil-free, and giving the chemicals a rest?” said Billy Goodnick, a California landscape architect, writer and television host.

“People need practical ideas for managing their yards in eco-friendly ways,” said Susan Harris of Washington, D.C., cofounder of the Garden Rant blog. “The good news is we’re starting to see better lawn types on the market, and more lawns – even golf courses – being cared for organically.”

Just as several Florida counties, Washington, D.C., and numerous other American municipalities consider restrictions on certain lawn and garden pesticides and fertilizers, the Lawn Reform Coalition stated several goals of its campaign, including: 1) Reduced fertilizer and pesticide runoff in waterways; 2) reduction of the use of potable water supplies for irrigation; 3) widespread education about lawn alternatives; and 4) reduction of the use of gasoline-powered mowers, trimmers and blowers, which account for 5 to 10 percent of air pollution in summer.

“My personal goal is to share design ideas to help you think outside the lawn!” said Shirley Bovshow, a landscape designer and television host from California.

Other members of the coalition include: Tom Christopher, a New York author; Tom Engelman, a California conservationist and founder of the Grass Roots Program; Evelyn Hadden, a Minnesota-based public speaker and founder of the website LessLawn.com; Susan Morrison, a northern California Master Gardener, designer and speaker; and Ginny Stibolt, a newspaper columnist and author based in Florida.

“As a garden designer, I’ve seen first-hand how willing people are to choose eco-friendly alternatives to lawns once they have the right information,” said Morrison. “I’m thrilled to be a part of the Lawn Reform Coalition’s mission to spread the word.”

For more information, visit www.LawnReform.org

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