Adapting To Climate Change Gives Us The Best Of The Old Along With Innovation
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has complained that energy conservation and shifts toward renewable, clean sources of energy “will produce devastation”. The devastation he’s referring to will be for fossil fuel corporations who profit from making American citizens pay for the vast economic harm caused by the pollution associated when their antiquated products are set on fire.
Those of us who don’t sit in the boardrooms of companies that profit from the burning of crude oil, coal, and methane, however, can get the best of both the old and the new. I was reminded of this walking past a bank of solar energy panels this morning, shining brightly even under the early sun. The push for renewable energy technologies has brought us technical innovations that lead to economic gains across society – not just for financial elites.
We can get much more than just new technology out of the push to slow down global climate change, however. This afternoon, I dug up a patch of lawn and replaced it with a combination of chives and day lilies. Both of these plants are easily transplanted, and can be easily expanded by the division of roots. Both plants spread underneath the ground, so that after just a few years of growth, what had been one plant forms a dense clump that can be divided to provide starts over large new areas. One old clump of chives that I uprooted provided enough small bulbs to cover 20 square feet of ground. Within a few years, these new plantings will in turn be divided to create yet more lawn alternative.
Replacing lawn with plants such as day lilies and chives creates a permanent groundcover that provides food (the flowers of day lilies can be eaten) and doesn’t need to be cut back with a gasoline-powered mower. The plants are larger than grass in a lawn ever will be, absorbing a little bit more carbon dioxide from the air, and they provide food for wild pollinators and richer, more aerated soil than a grass lawn, allowing for a better habitat for underground animals as well – without needing any herbicides, fungicides, or pesticides. Add some hardy herbs, such as oregano and thyme, into the mix, and the patch of green will even smell better.
Working with these plants is an old craft that serves us well now that the industrial-era extravagance of vast expanses of grass no longer makes sense. Only someone like Donald Trump could see the spread of such climate-friendly lawn alternatives as a form of devastation.