Greener Lawns, Happier Polar Bears 2/26/08

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Is Organic Better? Lawns, as it turns out, can be a boon in the fight against climate change and water pollution, but not all lawns are equal. Milesi found out that all that turf captures quite a bit of carbon from the atmosphere, a whopping 37 billion pounds per year if you mow high and leave the clippings on the surface (two key elements of organic lawn care). If you remove the clippings, that number drops by nearly two thirds, and if you send the clippings off to the landfill, then their decomposition actually makes climate change worse because it produces methane which is even worse than carbon dioxide. What’s more, their study found that leaving the clippings in place made it possible to cut applications of synthetic fertilizers nearly in half, which means less runoff into streams and ponds, less groundwater pollution, and savings both in the energy needed to manufacture those fertilizers (also a climate change issue) and in the expense of cleaning up our water supplies. To read the original article on Milesi’s work on the NASA website, visit Notes & References – Milesi, C., S.W. Running, C.D. Elvidge, J.B. Dietz, B.T. Tuttle, R.R. Nemani. (2005) Mapping and modeling the biogeochemical cycling of turf grasses in the United States . Environmental Management 36(3), 426-438. source –

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