Saturday, June 28, 2008

Lawns offer positive carbon footprint

Sustainability is a major topic of discussion these days, particularly at the recent Seeley Conference. It may not seem like it, but ultimately sustainability IS an economically-based subject whether you view it from a short-run or long-run perspective. The more the Green Industry can demonstrate its sustainable practices (and mitigate those that aren't), the better off economically the industry will be.

Several folks in the media and otherwise have articulated the need for our industry to be proactive in demonstrating its "sustainableness." Project Evergreen, America in Bloom, Arbor Day Foundation are examples of just that.

Research is desperately needed to document the carbon offset, or better yet, the "oxygen credit" that is provided by our industry's products. One such piece of research recently released is a study that documents the fact that healthy turfgrass can capture as much as four times more carbon from the air than is produced by lawnmower engines.

See for the full report.

Other university studies are underway, but it will take some time because life cycle analysis is far from an exact science at this point. But in the historic words of Larry the Cable Guy, let's "Git-R-Done!"


Steve Cissel said...

Dr. Hall,

After a 'green industry' brainstorming meeting that included all segments of the industry, we concluded that we as an industry need a message that resonates with the emotional heartstrings of our customers.

We left the meeting without a conclusion as to how to do it.

Then I heard a message about 'Carbon Footprint' and Googled 'Oxygen Footprint' knowing that our industry produces oxygen and filters pollutants in a BIG way.

I own and am ready to commit my resources to making it an industry initiative is the industry is interested.

Please contact me directly regarding this issue. Would like your input.



Steve Cissel, CEO
10-20 Media, Inc.

Anonymous said...

I disagree that lawns offer a positive carbon footprint (this is only a hypothesis). Most lawns receive tons of herbicides, insecticides and synthetic fertilizers that, in my opinion, would call into question a net positive carbon footprint. Think about all of the golf courses in the U.S. How much energy does it take to manufacture all of these chemicals that many lawns receive. Also, what about all of the water used on lawns (especially in areas of the U.S. that when left to themselves would be deserts). What kind of carbon footprint is left to get that water to the lawn (if any)?