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robertogreco : monoculture   10

Why we have grass lawns - Curbed
"With the invention of mechanical mowing, the lawn no longer required a small army of groundskeepers, and the once-unattainable lawn of the moneyed classes became available to the middle classes, which were now buying and building homes along streetcar lines outside of the city, in the first suburbs. The density of these suburbs relative to their later counterparts kept these lawns rather small, and the largest lawns tended to belong to those with large houses, keeping the big, grassy expanse aspirational.

With the massive car-based sprawl of the postwar era, the modern grassy, treeless lawn came into its own. The lawn, at this point, became part of American suburban culture: white and middle class, inextricable from the mundanities of conventional nuclear family life and the act of childrearing. Cold War paranoia placed a larger emphasis on surveillance in child-rearing, and the fenced-in, treeless backyard made it easier for parents to keep a continuous, watchful eye on their children.

Perhaps the most pervasive myth of the lawn is the oft-touted idea that lawns and fenced-in, grassy backyards are somehow safer or better for the activities of children than any alternative. This belief comes from a place of fear and isolationism. It subtly admonishes the decisions of non-suburban parents and erases the experiences of those children who grow up in the city or in rural areas. The idea that the woods or the city are unsafe for children is silly, as children have grown up in these environments for as long as people have lived in them. Rather than equipping children with the knowledge they need to be independent and adaptable to these environments, the de facto logic has been to eliminate all risk by only allowing children to play in a closed-off patch of turf grass.

Urban children may not have lawns, but they have public parks where they interact with other children from diverse backgrounds. Children (myself included) who grow up in rural places or near or in the woods are raised with information about the hazards of such environments and are taught the skills necessary to be self sufficient, such as plant and animal identification, navigation, first aid, and outdoor preparedness. The idea that children need a lawn, a cultural invention of the postwar era, is absurd.

Lawn care and horticulture are powerful industries whose future profits rely on the endurance of these myths and the persistent advance of sprawl. Many folks who enjoy the feeling of tending to land that the lawn gives them might scowl at me. The good news for people reading this and saying “what can I do?” is that wonderful alternatives to lawns are gaining momentum.

In desert climates, the most absurd places to have a lawn, xeriscaping—cultivating yards using native plants that require little irrigation—is becoming more and more popular because it saves time and resources. For others, taking space away from lawns and giving it to pollinator gardens, edible gardens, and vegetable beds, as well as gardening only with native plants that require much less fuss to keep alive, are great alternatives to the tyranny of the lawn, alternatives that not only save time, effort, resources, and money, but are good for the environment as well. Getting rid of turf grass and replacing it with native grasses, prairie, or whatever natural ground cover happens to be inherent to the place you live and that doesn’t require fertilization, pesticide use, or mowing is a great start. Allow native trees to grow, remove any invasive plants (sorry, folks, that means English ivy) from your yard, and the results will soon bear fruit, whether literally or figuratively, through the return of songbirds and pollinators to your outdoor space.

If you’re at all concerned about climate change and what you can do to help make the world a more habitable place for the millions of plants, animals, and people that live here, start by getting rid of your turf grass."
multispecies  plants  lawns  climate  ecology  monoculture  suburbia  2019  katewagner  cities  urban  urbanism  sustainability  xeriscaping  horticulture  children  safety  parks  cars 
may 2019 by robertogreco
Perennial Design, by Wilson Miner · Issue 4 · The Manual
"The modern practice of agriculture is based on a system of annual monoculture because it’s what gets results. Because the plants have no long-term systems to support, all their energy goes toward producing grains, which means bigger harvests. By planting huge fields with only one crop, the large commercial operations, where most of our food is produced, can operate as efficiently as possible. Year over year, annual monoculture feeds the most people the most efficiently. It’s also completely, transparently, inherently unsustainable.

We can’t afford to follow the same model. We’re beginning to recognize our own monocultures as the short-lived efficiencies we extracted from them begin to unravel. The premise that we can design for a manageable number of combinations of screen sizes, platforms, contexts, and devices is quickly eroding. The diversity of variables in our ever-changing digital environment demand thoughtful systems designed around principles durable enough to outlast increasingly brief cycles of obsolescence.

When we start with the assumption that optimizing for rapid, unbounded growth is a goal, we immediately narrow the possibility space. There are only so many choices we can make that will get us there. The same choices that made annual monoculture and the shopping mall the most efficient engines for short-term growth and profit are the same qualities that made them unsustainable in the long term."

[via http://tinyletter.com/intriguingthings/letters/5-intriguing-things-43
via http://bettyann.tumblr.com/post/74218411367 ]
monoculture  farming  agriculture  wendellberry  wilson  miner  sustainability  2014  growth  slow  small  diversity  environment  efficiency  obsolescence  profit  renewal  wesjackson  thelandinstitute  systemsthinking  durability  time  longterm  shortterm 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Chris Christie’s New Jersey Is Everything That’s Wrong With America - James Howard Kunstler - POLITICO Magazine
"These adjustments all hinge on the re-localization and downscaling of the major activities that add up to civilized life: we have to grow more of our food closer to home (as oil-based agri-business flounders); we have to move out of failing suburbia into more compact neighborhoods and towns; we have to prepare for the difficult, necessary contraction of our overgrown giant urban metroplexes (New York City in particular); we have to re-organize commerce away from the monocultures of car-dependent big box corporate despotism and rebuild resilient Main Street infrastructures of trade, and we have to do all these things with a kind of conscious and deliberate earnestness that amounts to a national sense of purpose—something sorely absent in these baleful days of Kardashians, universal obesity and comprehensive American anomie. In short, we have to become a lot less like New Jersey."
2014  urban  urbanism  suburbs  agriculture  chrischristie  newjersey  jameshowardkunstler  transportation  cars  publictransit  politics  policy  government  monoculture 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Art Rant #1 (with tweets) · tezcatlipoca · Storify
"there will always be artists and good art, but the mono culture provided a shared "enemy," some common ground and a vocabulary" — https://twitter.com/tezcatlipoca/status/265090655720718336

"I think I want a "show and tell…" a distilled collection of contemporary things people really love and why." — https://twitter.com/tezcatlipoca/status/265099091153928192

"This thought is drifting from original now, but everyone has a favorite song, lyrics that make them cry... How can we make work like that? Not just "oh cool, another arduino demo" … I WANT TO MAKE MY AUDIENCE WEEP." — https://twitter.com/tezcatlipoca/status/265094066310615040 + https://twitter.com/tezcatlipoca/status/265094216605130753 + https://twitter.com/tezcatlipoca/status/265094257549914113

"I actually think novels are way better than music at being meaningful, yet emotional, and building communities." — https://twitter.com/debcha/status/265096111939792896
glvo  emotions  novels  monoculture  writing  eleanorsaitta  storify  culture  media  reaction  music  art  2012  andrewsempere  debchachra 
november 2012 by robertogreco
William Gibson: on Atemporality — The High Bar
"William Gibson‘s writing is timeless. For mortals, conquering time is a Quixotic endeavor, only imaginable with the aid of good religion, better hallucinogens or great science fiction.

Today(?), Mr. Gibson walks into The High Bar and joins me to raise a toast to and raise the bar for… atemporality. Will time stand still and if so, what impact will it have on our memories, intimate or communal?

The legendary author (Neuromancer; Pattern Recognition) discusses his childhood, his craft and his hope for a future he has never truly predicted, even within the pages of his recent collection of articles and essays, Distrust That Particular Flavor."
self-projection  love  siri  technology  culture  prostheticmemory  fascism  patternrecognition  speculative  history  time  memory  nostalgia  distrustthatparticularflavor  monoculture  childhood  warrenetheredge  scifi  sciencefiction  williamgibson  2012  atemporality  conservatism 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Flaneurism shouldn’t be easy | I Am Pete Ashton
"When you think about it, relying on the likes of Google, YouTube, Facebook et al stand up for the niche and the curious is pretty naive. Where their interests coincide they will side with the mainstream, and those interests will coincide more and more. We can’t rely on large Internet companies to look after this stuff – Yahoo’s half-arsed custody of Flickr should have taught us that. If we’re going to have an infrastructure that enables the spirit of the cyberflaneur to thrive we’re going to have to build and maintain it ourselves, above and beyond the financial blinkers of the mainstream.

One of the most surprising things about the Internet is how people think there’s a single monolithic culture. There used to be, back when access was difficult and determined by circumstance. But it’s not like that now. The Internet is for everything and everyone, which means it’s like everything else, prone to mediocrity and abuses of power…"
monoculture  discovery  diy  serendipity  stateoftheweb  exploration  psychogeography  online  web  flaneur  cyberflaneurism  2012  evgenymorozov  peteashton 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Education - Change.org: Pharmer's Market: The Cost of Producing "Successful" Students
"Our education systems, seeking efficiency through standardization and conformity end up creating students who, just like their agricultural counterparts, are no longer well-adapted to their environment. Michael Pollan reminds us that, "Most of the efficiencies in an industrial system are achieved through simplification: doing lots of the same thing over and over." Like corn planted in a monoculture, removed from the diversity that protects it, or cattle fed an unnatural diet of corn, students today are fed a standardized diet of procedures and reproducible facts. This educational monoculture does nothing to nourish minds that have evolved to seek diversity, novelty and stimulation."
education  politics  teaching  standardization  curiosity  repetition  culture  society  schools  schooling  michaelpollan  schooliness  reform  change  efficiency  production  equity  diversity  community  costs  business  unschooling  deschooling  tcsnmy  lcproject  standards  industrial  monoculture  billfarren 
june 2009 by robertogreco

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