By Jonathan Parfrey
I hate artificial grass.
First, artificial grass is made from petroleum and old tires – think of all the wicked chemicals and greenhouse gas emissions associated with manufacturing those products. Bad for our climate.
Second, there are health concerns. Besides skidding on the fake grass and getting turf burns, the fake blades, and black crumbs that hold them together, routinely break down – the particles become airborne and are inhaled. Bad for our respiratory health.
Third, artificial grass kills the biome beneath it and creates dead zones where the soil no longer absorbs CO2 or stormwater. Bad for our natural habitat.
Last, artificial grass heats up the surrounding environment. Fake grass gathers and emits as much heat as black asphalt. A terrible effect considering our collective effort to reduce exponentially rising temperatures.
But I get it. I have friends that installed fake grass in their backyard. They love it. Their dogs run on it. The dogs poop on it and it’s easy to clean up.. And it doesn’t require watering. It’s low maintenance.
When I was a commissioner at LADWP during the last big drought, I remember voting to provide cash incentives to homeowners to rip out their grass lawns and replace them with fake grass. Knowing what I know now, it was the wrong decision.
So, what’s the best alternative for those who want to do the right thing and get rid of their grass lawns? Native species planted in good, healthy soil are best for home yards and public gardens. For our local parks and schools, the answer is real grass – lumpy, uneven and alive. Real grass is best for our Mediterranean environment, our local water supply, biodiversity, air quality and climate.
– Jonathan Parfrey