The global loss of insect life is critical, due to two factor, loss of habitat and pesticides. Insects, especially pollinators are the foundation of animal life on earth. While agriculture requires its share of land in order to feed the human population, cultural values influence excessive claim of vegetative surface for lawns, something our society could correct. Reclaiming lawn space with native plants, not simply decorative ones, could make a significant contribution to restoring lost animal life across the suburban and even urban landscapes.
The concept that creating life is within their power may not occur to most home owners. Yes gardening and landscaping will do that to some extent – but replacing lawn with pollinator friendly plants will do it with a dynamic array of animal life. Lawn space is essentially devoid of life. It’s a “green desert.” It is a monoculture system supporting little more than Japanese Beetle grubs.
Replacing lawn space with a pollinator garden or “pocket meadow” creates a diverse environment, feeding pollinators and birds abundantly. The garden shown in this picture is less than 3 years old and supports an abundance of pollinators as well as song birds. Gold Finches are eating the Cone Flower seeds and Field Sparrows fed their babies insects from this garden. The Common Yellow Throat may choose to nest in one of the shrubs next year. Butterflies are common, including Monarchs which hung their
pupae there last fall. Life is abundant here, in many forms where it previously did not exist.
In our modern culture, choosing to create life in this manner is balanced with the influences of art, science and the sacred. Speaking to the Presbyterian audience that has taken a stated position on the issue, we should ask them to respond to their denominational directive of “caring for God’s Creation”. It is in our constitution. “The earth is the Lord’s” Psalm 24: 1 . We should respect the Earth and avoid claiming it for our visual pleasure when science tells us that the collective sacrifice depletes our living resources. Restoring ½ of the American lawn space would amount to returning habitat space, the equivalent to the state of Pennsylvania.
Where science, sacred and culture overlap.