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Fight Climate Change at Home: Landscaping with Native Grasses - Wild Roots
There’s no denying that we need a?government dedicated to keeping our water and air clean, and one that’s willing to join the global movement to combat climate change. At least there’s no denying that here within the walls of our home. We need policies that push us toward a clean energy future, and more politicians talking about green infrastructure jobs. We need all of this, and yet I also believe great things happen when communities of individuals decide to make a change at a smaller level. If you feel stressed the [expletive] out about the destruction of our earth, yet look out the windows of your home to little more than a turf?lawn, here’s an idea: channel some of that anxiety into making an impact in your own yard. Get off the internet, go outside, and plant some native grasslands. At the Native Plant Society of New Jersey spring conference, nurseryman and botanist Jared Rosenbaum of Wild Ridge Plants made a science-backed plea to the gardeners in the room to replace the 40M+ acres of detrimental, or at the very least unproductive, lawns in the U.S. with the sustainable and beautiful grassland ecosystems that once thrived in the Northeast. It’s simple, really: If climate change is caused by plants being metabolized into gasses, converting more gasses to plants is one way to reverse that process. In the blog post that inspired the talk, Return to the Hypsithermal, Jared lays out the specifics of how powerful of an opponent to climate change native grasses are. “Grasslands are ideal tools with which to sequester carbon in soils,” he writes. “An intact grassland can sequester 2-5 tons of carbon per year on every acre.” Native grasses are C4 plants, meaning they suck up more carbon dioxide and require less water than other plants. They represent only 5% of the Earth’s biomass, but account for 20-30% of CO2 fixation. Just think about the opportunity there. Replacing our lawns with diverse grasslands featuring native grasses will create a more authentic, natural American landscape that combats climate change and provides shelter and food for songbirds and other small mammals even through winter months. What’s not to love? Jared’s talk made me anxious to do more at home. We’ve been working hard to replace the mix of invasive plants, bulbs, and turf we acquired with the house, but not hard enough. We replaced the back portion of…