Long known for their expanses of shorn grass and highly manicured grounds, some golf course owners are taking a second look at their landscaping practices and striving to become more environmentally friendly. In the process, however, they seem to have made a few enemies. Great Lakes Radio Consortium commentator Julia King explains:
Long known for their expanses of shorn grass and highly manicured grounds,
some golf course owners are taking a second look at their landscaping practices and striving to become more environmentally friendly. In the process, however, they seem to have made a few enemies. Great Lakes Radio Consortium commentator Julia King explains:
In a nutshell, here’s the story: Golf Course Goes Green, Neighbors See Red.
Golf course owner Tony Krebs recently saw the environmental “light” and decided to reduce his use of pesticides, gasoline, and water. He wants to mow less, grow wildflowers, re-introduce native grasses and attract wildlife. The neighbors – instead of cheering – have filed formal complaints with the city.
Golf courses have long been havens for precision landscaping, places where the great outdoors are shaped into forms… well, unfamiliar to Mother Nature. So to some residents around golf courses, a new, more natural landscape looks suspiciously like neglect. But it’s not.
For a little over a decade, the Audubon Society has been helping to “green” golf courses with their Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program. While any course can become a member and receive environmental tips and guidelines, members earn certification by completing projects in specified areas. Out of an estimated 20,000 golf courses in the U.S., a select 2,300 have achieved certification.
In other words, the movement towards greater sustainability in the golf world is still young. And old standards of beauty die hard. According to an Audubon source, it’s not uncommon for bordering property owners to balk at a golf course’s naturalization. Just as one man’s treasure is another’s trash, apparently one man’s “wildflower” is another man’s “weed.”
But this is more than a beauty-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder tale. Health officials have linked weed killers to everything from childhood leukemia, to gender malformation in frogs. Yet here we have well-to-do citizens banding together to fight for such chemicals.
“We live in a community,” one concerned resident said. “We have to be accountable to one another.” But he was talking about standards of property upkeep, not about public safety or about the delicate ecosystem we share.
He’s right, though, we are accountable to one another. And not only to one another, but to those who come long after we’re gone. There is a price to be paid for that so-called “perfect” landscape, and it’s a price we will all have to pay. It’s time for responsible citizens not only to tolerate sustainability, but to demand it.
Host Tag: Julia King lives and writes in Goshen, Indiana. She comes to us by way of the Great Lakes Radio Consortium.