Friday, August 15, 2008

The cost of green lawns

The hidden price of maintaining an emerald-green lawn comes at a much higher cost than most homeowners, second homeowners, tourists and Wood River Valley residents realize. The cost I am referring to is far beyond the amount of water expended or the carbon footprint of gas required to operate the lawnmowers and landscaping company vehicles. There is the unseen, highly toxic chemical elements' taking a heavy toll on the health and longevity of human, canine, feline, avian and aquatic inhabitants of Blaine County.

Individual homeowners are some of the biggest users of over-the-counter toxic lawn-maintenance products. People using these poisonous lawn-care products seem to be deathly afraid of the lowly dandelion, considered a delicacy in salads in France when not sprayed or eradicated.

The amount of herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers being used in the Wood River Valley is staggering. Many of the active and inert ingredients are highly toxic and do not disappear conveniently or magically after application. What goes on your lawn does not just make it green. The chemicals leach into the soil and run off into the water table.

Many people ask why there is so much cancer in the Wood River Valley. The number of dogs and cats dying from cancer should be a big wake-up call for everyone. It is time for Blaine County to take control of the unnecessary and harmful use of pesticides and herbicides. Many landscaping companies are offering organic, non-toxic programs for lawn care with great success.

Contrary to what some might think, organic lawn care is effective, health and pet friendly, requires less watering than traditional pesticide and herbicide applications, and costs less if you take into consideration how expensive it is to have medical treatment for yourself and family, or veterinary care for your critically sick pets. Now is a good time to make Blaine County pesticide- and herbicide-spray-free.

Start the trend in your own yard: Educate yourself, share your knowledge with others and live a longer and healthier life. Personally, I would prefer to smell the flowers without the choking stench of chemical sprays.

Christine N. Cole

Sun Valley

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