[OPINION] Brown Is The New Green

In his lifetime in Westport — as a youngster, a Staples High School Class of 1979 student, and now an author and homeowner — Tom Greenwald has seen a lot.

Right now, green lawns have him seeing red. Tom writes:

Green usually means good. But this summer, it means bad.

Setting aside my leaf-blower obsession for a minute (though I’m sure that will be back in full bloom in the fall), my newest fixation is lawns.

(Who would have thought I would become all about yardwork? Certainly not me, and most certainly not my wife.)

Anyone who’s conscious knows that there is a drought on. A pretty big, pretty bad one.

Yet there as still gorgeous green lawns all over Westport. When I see sprinklers sprinkling (which is often), it makes me a little mad.

Green lawn during a brown drought. (Photo/Tom Greenwald)

I get it: Everyone wants a nice property. And most people who live in Westport have made it here because they’re not used to settling for less than what they want. But the time has come to allow our lawns to look a little bad, for the greater good.

I also get that the rules are murky, and not everyone knows them. (In case you don’t, here they are.

But if you do know them, and you’re ignoring them — well, that’s just not cool.

So come on, fellow Westporters: Embrace the brown.

Let’s let whatever water is out there be used for things like cooking, showers and hydration for humans and animals.

By next spring you’ll be showing off your gorgeous lawns. This stretch will be a dry, distant memory.

But for now: No more Lawns Of Shame in our town!

Tom Greenwald enjoys his (brown) lawn.

(“06880” covers the drought — and everything else going on in Westport. Please click here to support your local blog.)

15 responses to “[OPINION] Brown Is The New Green

  1. And the golf courses…the town sets a shitty example by wasting thousands of gallons daily so golfers have greens…the town is a lousy neighbor and should mend its ways, now.

    • WHAT! they are still watering golf courses? ….and telling everyone else to save water?? How is this possible??? …and not criminal????

  2. Why doesn’t The town issue citations for this! Maybe the entitled folks will realize they put on their pants like the rest of us.

  3. Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70

    Might I suggest a vigil commencing Saturday morning and lasting through Labor Day at the RSC Memorial Bridge where all lost causes go to die.

    • I’m with all of you with your comments about preserving water, however, it may make us less irritated to know that there are some of us who do follow the 2X a week lawn watering and have green lawns. I’m one of them.
      Some of us with small lots, shade trees and a limited southern exposure can maintain a mostly green lawn AND follow the rules.
      I’m anxious that my little plot here by the beach will be pictured next. Just sharing.

      • Thanks, Eric, for your passive aggressive comment, exuding a hopelessness that Nietzsche himself would blush at, and you, Marion, but making this kind plea for help all about you… your lawn isn’t pictured, so no need to get flustered. Westporters can be served a nice serving of comeuppance every once and a while.

  4. Embrace the brown! Love it! We are all in. Thanks for the post.

  5. This also relates to the obsession with cutting down trees. I’m always startled when developers or residents cut down old hardwoods. Leave the trees which create shade and protect the green grass (not to mention, reducing water run-off – admittedly not an issue right now, but often). I haven’t watered the grass in twenty years. While nobody would mistake my yard for a golf course, it largely remains green, because of the trees.

    • How about “No more lawns (period!) in our town.”? As as been pointed out, it’s not just the wasted water that is horrific but also the vast amount of chemicals that makes its way into Long Island Sound. I’m in the slow process of getting rid of (what passes for) our front lawn, substituting native plants, trees and paths for grass. I’m trying to be part of the Pollinator Pathway project not only for the above reasons, but also to provide habitat for our disappearing insects, birds and other wildlife. Grass, meticulously groomed and cared for, feeds nothing except people’s egos. Now don’t get me started on golf courses….

  6. Tag-teaming here: Same deal with lawn pesticides. We need to re-think what’s attractive in light of the bigger picture, and normalize imperfection again.

  7. Valerie Seiling Jacobs

    Glad for this post! And BTW: why are people still using gas leaf blowers on their lawns? They desiccate the soil and remove the clippings which are a natural form of fertilizer. Of course, gas blowers also contribute to the ozone problem–using one gas blower for 1 hour produces as much smog-forming pollution as driving 1100 miles in a Camry. Let’s hope our RTM finally acts to limit their use.

    • Big Question – Why is the Town of Westport excluded from this proposed regulation !!!! It is not even worth considering unless they are excluded.

  8. We turned off our sprinkler system when it seemed pointless with the heat wave and we got a nasty note from Aquarion saying we were a “big user.” Also attached was a big fat bill. Brown is the new green.

  9. Ellen Dale Naftalin

    I’ve been strewing clover seeds for years. They attract bumble bees, they don’t require as much water and they grow to be 2 inches and flower, so much less mowing.

  10. When I moved to Westport I shut the sprinkler system on the property I purchased. The property was situated on wetlands which made me ponder why someone would install such a system. I soon found out! They didn’t appreciate clover it seems so they decided to annihilate it with pesticides and constant mowing. I being Irish love clover and my wife and I were diligent in promoting the growth of the lovely ground cover .

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