This is part of the Healthy Child Blog Carnival, Splendor in the Grass – an effort by Healthy Child Healthy World to help inspire a movement to protect children from harmful chemicals.
It was a beautiful New England morning as I headed out the door on my morning run. My headphones were in, iPod on, with the Black Eyed Peas telling me to Boom Boom Pow. After a few miles I was in the zone and feeling great. The grass all around was looking green and lush from all the recent rain. At some point during the run I glanced down and noticed small blue pellets sprinkled on the sidewalk. A little yellow sign was posted in the corner of a perfect little lawn which read “Keep Off-Pesticide Application”.
I was running through freshly spread lawn chemicals.
Ditch the Lawn Pesticides
Americans are obsessed with the quest for the perfect lawn and I will admit to having been a part of this fascination. It is hard to miss the aisles of fertilizers and other products promising to produce the perfect lawn. Unfortunately, a green lush lawn is about as unnatural a state for grass as possible. The “perfect lawn” is a futile pursuit, requiring applications of synthetic pesticides that are not only killing weeds and other naturally occurring plants, but are harmful to you and the environment. As I realized on my run, these toxins don’t stay on the lawn; they spread to our feet, hands, toys, wildlife and pets.
Over the past few years we have transitioned our yard to a chemical free zone. I can say with certainty that it is not the most beautiful yard in the hood; the color brown comes to mind. However, I love being able to let my kids and dog run around outside knowing our yard is a safe haven for them to play.
If only we could wave our magic wands and make all lawns toxin free-a cooperative effort to forgo chemical applications and let our lawns go wild. The pull towards the American Dream is strong; a dream of a detached house with a patch of green grass to call our own. My lawn and a few others are isolated patches of safe play spaces -but what about all the other places we go; friend’s backyards, baseball fields, parks-there is no way of knowing where our feet have traveled and what they have traveled through.
Take Your Shoes Off
In our house we are attempting to contain the toxin filled outdoors by declaring our home a “shoe free” zone. All shoes come off in the garage and they stay there until the next time we venture out. We try to remind our friends and family to honor our request for a shoeless house and we are grateful that everyone is very respectful. I have even been toying with the idea of posting a cute sign at the door reminding people to remove their shoes. We have found that making our home shoe free was a simple change in our lifestyle to keep some of the outdoor toxins from traveling into our living space. Perhaps one day pesticides will no longer be used on lawns, but until then let’s all try taking our shoes off. By doing this we are creating healthy home environments which protect our children and pets from toxic chemicals coming from the great outdoors.