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Tales of Three Healthy Lawn Treaders: Fireflies, Rabbits and Robins

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Another benefit to having a lawn go natural, that is don’t use quick-release fertilizer or Roundup, is the wildlife that will make it their home. Ocean River Interns Robert Maughn, Erin McGill and Sophia Aronow talk with Rob about fireflies, rabbits and robins. Discover why fireflies need woodlots and wetlands more than fields; why rabbits are more abundant in cities, and that robins prefer shorter grass to longer grass.

ORI’s Lawns for Climate Restoration Challenge has focused on the symbiotic relationship between turf grass and soil microbes, as well as the life-giving process of grass pulling CO2 from the atmosphere and actively pumping liquid carbon into soils (3.64 tons CO2 photosynthesized for every ton of soil).
Recently, we stepped away from life beneath the turf to talk about three animals known for their associations with lawns that are not chemically treated. ORI Intern Robert Maughn talks about fireflies and how we may act to see more them lighting our landscapes. ORI Intern Erin McGill talks about rabbits and how we connect with their relative abundance in urban areas. ORI Intern Sophia Aronow completes the triad of lawn treaders with the American robin.

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From one’s own place how to leverage powerful actions to address the Climate Crisis

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It should come as no surprise that established lawns do not need fertilizing. Simply leaving the grass clippings on top after a mow is equivalent to one-pound of nitrogen fertilizer per thousand square feet of lawn in a year.
Erik the Red was able to establish a Viking settlement in Greenland by finding sufficient flat land to build up soil to support grass. This was a tenuous existence. If a man’s goat or sheep was found grazing on the lush grass, the plenty may be death. Without that bit of grass the family owning the patch might not make it through the winter. Four hundred years after the Vikings abandoned Greenland, taking with them the livestock, the distinct grass plots were found to be still green. The grass, lacking both chemical and livestock fertilizer, remained healthy due to symbiosis with the soil’s microbial ecosystem.
Remember when striving for the greater good, that we’re grassroots. We are becoming a vast field of grass reaching for the sky, pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere and pushing out liquid carbon from the tips of roots into soil. To create a ton of carbon in soil, grass plants photosynthesize 3.64 tons of CO2. The largest organisms in the world are mycorrhizal fungi that stretch in great networks (microbial bridges) beneath natural lawns (grass turf without fertilizer, pesticides or herbicide, as one application of Roundup kills a quarter of the mycorrhizal fungi). Grass is in symbiosis, part of a larger community, with fungi, bacteria, microbes, insects, worms, etc. The soil where carbon is stored is alive which in turn feeds the grass whatever it needs to flourish.
Melvina Reynold was correct when she sang “God bless that grass that grows through cement.” Grass in cracks pumps carbon into the ground. This causes the cement to rise, buckle and break apart. Never underestimate grassroots.
Let’s bust some ossified concepts with savvy conversations and actions. We’ve got carbon to capture and life cycles to save.

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Agriculture

The Green Amendment: Securing Our Right to a Healthy Environment

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The Green Amendment: Securing Our Right to a Healthy Environment

Maya K. van Rossum, the Delaware River Keeper and author of the book: The Green Amendment, securing our rights to a healthy environment talks with Rob about battles won for clean water and the battles being waged today.

When fracking threatened to destroy land and drinking water, Maya van Rossum and other petitioners, successfully made the case that people have rights to clean water and clean habitation in their homes and neighborhoods. Eight  years later they won a watershed legal victory that protected Pennsylvania communities from ruthless frackers.

They also launched the Green Amendment movement to affirm as a constitutional right a clean and healthy environment. For the generation dot org is dedicated to empowering every American community to mobilize to secure passage of Green Amendments (environmental rights amendments) in the Bill of Rights section of every state and the federal constitution and to ensure their strong and meaningful implementation.

https://www.delawareriverkeeper.org/

https://forthegenerations.org

Maya K. van Rossum, as the Delaware River Keeper, has been championing the rights of over 17 million people to a free-flowing, clean and healthy Delaware River and its tributary streams.  In 2013, she was on the original petitioners in the landmark Robinson Township vs Commonwealth of Pennsylvania case.  That case led to a watershed victory that strengthened the state’s Environmental Rights Amendment. Since 2002, she has served as an adjunct professor and director of the Environmental Law Clinic at Temple Beasley School of Law, which she founded. The Green Amendment, securing our right to a healthy environment was published by Disruption Books in 2017.

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