Green Schizophrenia

See entire August 20, 2010 newsletter

I think the world may truly be suffering from a new acute condition called green schizophrenia. People want green/they don’t want green. People want to save water/people want pretty lawns. People want less waste/people care less about less waste. To support my theory, two articles caught my attention today when I was reading the Wall Street Journal and thinking about the content for this newsletter.

First one, front page:  Snack Attack: Chip Eaters Make Noise about a Crunchy Bag. I couldn’t make this up. People are complaining how much noise it makes to open the new, 100% compostable Frito Lay Sun Chips bag. It gets worse. Someone started a Facebook page about it called “Sorry but I can’t hear you over this Sun Chips bag.” It has 29,949 fans. Brace yourself. There is a VIDEO on the WSJ’s video page which likens the noise to a plane exploding and to a real bomb going off. Not funny at all. (www.wsj.com/PageOne and search for article)

Loved Frito Lay’s response. They attached signs to shelves that read: “Yes, the bag is loud, that’s what change sounds like.” OMG – ingenious!

My take? Kudos to Frito Lay. It had to take lots of time, money & effort to make this happen. It’s a good thing. To the people with no life who have made videos about it? Get a scissor, volunteer, write about something that matters or something that is really funny. And turn your iPod down when you are sitting next to me on the plane. It’s annoying.

Second one, front page Personal Journal Section: Gardening Without a Sprinkler. (www.wsj.com/PageOne). The short version? More and more people around the country are either tired of spending lots of time, water and money to have the perfect lawn or they are simply wanting to move in a more ecor-friendly direction.  Some of them are creating beautiful, dry gardens, some moving to xeriscape, and some just letting nature do its thing.

Enter the dreaded HOAs (Home Owners Associations) and City Ordinances. Case in point: One couple actually went to the trouble to have their yard receive a “certified wildlife habitat” designation from the National Wildlife Federation. (Did you know about that?). The owners said they were tired of fighting an uphill battle with nature to keep their lawn picture perfect. They put up a sign saying their new garden provides food, water and shelter for birds and other pollinators. What a concept!

Unimpressed, City Hall in Hurst, Texas, sent them a letter calling their property a nuisance. They received one citation that called the yard “offensive to neighborhood.” What would Mother Nature have to say about that? Sigh.

My take and the truth? A natural lawn would stick out in a neighborhood with pristine, manicured lawns (that require time, water, fertilizer and are NOT natural). And it would take some getting used to but it’s an idea whose time has come – rather urgently if you read about the water shortages in our country. The article gave me pause and helped me to recalibrate my thoughts about those beautiful lawns and the smell of fresh cut grass – I’m trying to imagine birds chirping and those other pollinators as the “natural norm.”