Sharing nature, one lawn at a time

The David Suzuki Foundation has been working on the “Share Your Lawn” campaign for more than two years with its partners Nouveaux Voisins and Dark Matter Labs. From the beginning, we learned to see our public and private green spaces differently, from the parks that are so valuable for our mental health, to the often forgotten roadsides.

Published yesterday at 3:00 p.m.

Alexandre Huet

Responsible for citizen mobilization and public engagement for Quebec, David Suzuki Foundation

Maxime Fortin Faubert

Maxime Fortin Faubert

Postdoctoral fellow, INRS ETE Center and David Suzuki Foundation

Every day we see the transformative potential of what lies before our eyes and often beneath our feet. These large grassy spaces accompany us every day in our neighborhoods, our suburbs and our countryside. When we look more closely at the ecological value of these lawns, this is where we imagine several ways to give more space to nature and the important local biodiversity.

Although turfgrass provides some ecological benefits, it remains a relatively simple ecosystem and is one of the largest irrigated crops in North America. According to Statistics Canada, in 2015, 43% of Canadians with a lawn said they watered it! In 2019, three out of five households owned a lawn mower. Imagine the noise pollution and the liters of gasoline used to run them!

The objective of this campaign is not to eradicate all grassy areas, because they are useful to counter erosion, reduce urban heat islands or to support sports activities and other outdoor leisure activities, in addition to capture part of greenhouse gas emissions. Despite these benefits, the ecological value of the lawn remains low, compared to other more diversified vegetated infrastructures providing even more ecological services.

This is why we encourage people to transform part of their grassy areas by choosing native plants, trees, shrubs, nectar plants or food plants.

In addition to the population, we invite municipalities and businesses to leave more room for local fauna and flora on their land. Hence the origin of our slogan: “Nature at home, one lawn at a time.” »

Maintaining biodiversity

Did you know that almost 40% of the world’s insects are at risk of extinction due to the destruction of their habitats due to human activity? For more than 20 years, experts have noted a drastic drop in the population of monarch butterflies and various species of pollinators which are essential to maintaining biodiversity. It is therefore essential to transform our existing habitats in order to support them.

Let’s not forget that pollinators play a crucial role for human beings: much of the food we eat depends on pollination by insects!

However, we remain optimistic. Mentalities are changing. We’ve seen this in recent years with popular movements such as the Dandelion Challenge, the May Without Mower Challenge or when people leave dead leaves on the ground for insects to find shelter during the winter.

Several municipalities are following suit, although some of their regulations need to be revised. We are thinking in particular of differentiated mowing which is becoming more and more popular on municipal lands. There is a desire to reimagine our grassy spaces, to say that these immaculate green spaces are perhaps not the best solution for nature.

Collectively, let’s become allies for our nature by sharing nature one lawn at a time.

Visit the Share your lawn page

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