No matter who we are we all get the same allotment of 24 hours in a day. Figuring out how to use those 24 hours to the best of our ability is essential. Let’s face it, everyone loves a good life hack, right?
Enter children’s books. I was reviewing some nature-related children’s books for a special project when a lightbulb moment struck me! Children's books have the amazing ability to educate adults quickly.
For example, artificial turf installation is experiencing exponential growth. One artificial turf installation company reported a 30% increase in sales since 2020. Sports fields represented 63% of the installations and are projected to continue. I am seeing the push for this in my local community with parents saying they don’t want their kids’ games canceled because of mud. As someone who grew up playing sports on these same fields, I can attest that a little mud didn’t hurt any of us, nor did cancelling a few games in extreme situations.
While the idea of ‘maintenance-free’ fields; and year-round bright green fields may sound like the best idea since sliced bread, there are very real environmental impacts that need to be considered. Let’s start by using the precautionary principle, which includes taking a step back and doing a full scope analysis of potential complications or harm when innovations are presented. Had this been the case with past innovations such as plastic bottles and non-stick cookware, we might not have had the environmental catastrophes of ocean plastic pollution and deadly PFAS contaminants in our drinking water that we have today.
Some questions that need to be considered before installing artificial turf include, but are not limited to, how long will they last? What is the maintenance requirement? How will they be disposed of at the end of their lifecycle, and how will their disposal impact our environment?
While this type of turf may be a better alternative for rooftop terraces on city buildings or other spaces that are concrete and don’t easily lend themselves to the care required by grass, the idea of replacing natural lawns with artificial turf will have a deep impact on the complex living beings that live above and below the blades of green we see and recreate on.
To quickly learn how important dirt and having access to it is we can take a few minutes and read Kate Messner’s book, Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt. The book tells the story of a grandmother and grandson who plant a garden and discover the complex intertwined world that exists above and beneath the soil. Readers will take away a deeper appreciation of the many life forms that rely on access to soil and what naturally grows from it. This symbiotic, reciprocal relationship goes right up the food chain to include us, humans. As the saying goes, every action has a reaction. We may want to consider this before we further threaten the soil and all the ways it sustains us and other lifeforms before we cover it in artificial turf.
Check out Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt from your local library, pick up a copy at your local bookstore or buy it now: LINK
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