Tourists and the Capitol dome are reflected in a puddle left from sprinklers watering the lawn of the Mall during turf restoration efforts last year. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP) May 13 For many Americans, the first step to helping to save a million plant and animal species from being wiped out starts at the front porch. Lush green lawns are a tradition that dates back to the arrival of European colonists. But they are also an environmental nightmare that strips away shrubs, flowers and weeds, which thousands of animals need for habitat and food. Grass yards are the nation’s largest irrigated crop , covering “more than three times the number of acres that irrigated corn covers,” according to NASA. They suck up 9 billion gallons of water per day, the Environmental Protection Agency says, enough in a year to fill the Chesapeake Bay, one of the largest estuaries in the world. Last week’s United Nations biodiversity report was deeply troubling in the way it linked the plundering of nature and the disappearance of species to human survival, and many people wondered what they can do. While the world’s governments could spend decades considering the recommendations in the report, which said human […]

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