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Debunking common myths about natural landscapes  RSS feed

 
                    
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The following statements are NOT true!

Tall meadow grass constitutes a fire hazard. In a landmark Wisconsin case from 1976, a United States Forest Service expert testified that a grass fire supports high heat for only 20 secondsÑnot long enough to pose a danger to a home.

Wild areas support rats and mosquitoes. Experts have proven in court that natural landscapes are neither homes nor sources of food for pests such as the Norway rat, nor are they breeding grounds for the common mosquito.

Natural landscapes cause allergies. Actually, health officials say that grass, trees, and herbaceous plants such as ragweed (not found in established meadows or prairies) cause the most sniffling and sneezing. Wildflowers, lupines, milkweeds, and other common natural-gardening plants don't produce airborne pollen, an allergy sufferer's worst enemy.

Natural yards aren't pretty or neat. Who can say whether a perfectly manicured lawn is prettier than a meadow of blooming wildflowers? In a court of law, aesthetics can't be measured, and beauty, as the old saying goes, is in the eye of the beholder.

-The Farmer's Almanac
 
MJ Solaro
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Location: Bellevue, WA
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This post reminds me of a news story I read recently about a couple in Glendale, California.

They decided that having a full green lawn in a drought-ridden city didn't make environmental or economic sense, so they let their lawn starve, and started to re-landscape with drought-resistant plants, putting in a dry creek bed, etc.

For this, the city of Glendale fined them and ordered them to have their yard 60% green in 90 days, or criminal charges might be filed.

Course, this is the same city that fined another couple $347,000 for trimming several trees in their yard.

It's deeply disturbing to me the guidelines that public cities and private communities have over land that we own. I wrote a blog post recently about how Connecticut residents are fighting for the right to hang clotheslines to dry their laundry outside and reduce their carbon footprints. Outdoor clotheslines are banned by most homeowner's associations across the state.

Anyway, I digress. Great list of widely believed false statements...
 
                    
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Regulation is started to help and ends up harming the community when it becomes a financial tool like the regulation of private property appearance to increase both public and private property values. We, as citizens, lose a certain amount of flexibility to adapt to larger issues like environmental concerns including natural disasters. Over-regulation becomes a strong temptation for cities and ends up really crippling the city's ability to adjust to both internal and external shifts in values (that are not necessarily monetary).

But it is also hard to get a community concensus on "back to nature." In the end the term "private property" means just that and we should be disturbed that our private money cannot buy us the room to try out our own private philosophies for making life better for ourselves and our communities. Just what is the point of earning purchasing power when that fundamental value of personal philosophy is denied?

It seems to me
 
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