Yes, well said. Of course, there’s more than five paths to take. Consider stepping off the path.

The sixth climate action to show your love for the world is take a walk on a natural lawn, one that is not being fertilized or treated with chemicals, the one with robins and rabbits grazing. No plant other than the grass: saltmarsh grass, prairie grass and yes established lawn grass, push out as much liquid carbon as root exudate. When one steps on a blade, the plant is stimulated to repair itself. It releases enzymes into the mycorrhizal network, the wood wide web, what it needs from bacteria and receives back. Photosynthesis, drawing out of the atmosphere CO2 and water from outside the plant, produces carbohydrates to make fiber, plant material and to feed the microbial world below (the rhizosphere). When a ton of root exudate is pushed into the soil, the grass has pulled 8 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere, about half of which went to growth and about half went to ground.

Grass lawns can lay down an inch of soil a year. With four inches of soil the lawn can hold seven inches of rainwater protecting homes from extreme weather events.

Some of the soil will go through a chemical process to become humus. Humus will store carbon for thousands of years. Trees provide short-term carbon sequestration for hundreds of years; healthy soils long-term carbon sequestration for thousands of years. Of course, we want both trees and grass, silvapasture, whole assemblages of plants and animals.

Climate action #6 replace impervious surfaces, like that cement patio, with grass for cool comfort and to prepare the soil for other plants.

If we can increase water storage in our communities, restore local water cycles, research indicates we can decrease sea level rise by 25%.

And you’ll show your love for worms, insects, microbes, archaea, springtails, nematodes, rotifers, tardigrades, the full rhizosphere, not to mention the life above the turf. In Springfield MA lawns cut every two weeks instead of weekly were found to have 93 species of bees.

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Rob Moir, Ph.D. is Executive Director of the Ocean River Institute. He writes Clam Chowdah dot org blog and hosts Moir’s Environmental Dialogues iTalk radio.

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Rob Moir

Rob Moir

Rob Moir, Ph.D. is Executive Director of the Ocean River Institute. He writes Clam Chowdah dot org blog and hosts Moir’s Environmental Dialogues iTalk radio.

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