Sarah Baker lives on about an acre of land in St. Albans Township, Ohio, and she hasn't fired up the mower once this season. Township officials have deemed her lawn a "nuisance" and are threatening to send in a mowing company and to exact a steep fine. Baker isn't refusing out of laziness, however, she explains in the Washington Post. It's a conscious choice to let her lawn develop naturally, to foster an ecosystem "that had been waiting for the chance to emerge." She loves the results, and she writes that her disagreement with township officials about what constitutes a "nuisance" is one that's going on around the country. It's high time Americans rethink their lawns, she writes.
"Society needs to adjust its cultural norms on lawn aesthetics," she writes. "For the health of the planet, and for our own health, we need to start letting nature dictate how we design our outdoor spaces." Do people really need such mammoth lawns—and the gasoline, pollution, and pesticides that come with them? For now, Baker has fended off the mowing company by using a scythe to get her yard down to 8 inches. But she thinks a longer-term solution for her and others involves municipalities changing their laws on such things. "As the planet’s environmental problems mount, the real nuisances are mowed lawns and the laws that enforce them." Click for her full column.