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Tear Out Your Turf!


Sherri Park



The day before we flew to Paris was memorable because my husband fell off the bed of a pickup truck and landed on his nose. He was hurt but he didn't want to cancel the trip. He flew to France looking like a boxer the day after a fight. Both his eyes were black and his nose was not great, either. He looked frightful. It was our first time in Europe. We sat in a café while we waited for the Louvre to open. It was romantic like everything in Paris but also very cramped. The waiter placed us next to someone who pulled out a cigarette and lit it. There were no rules against smoking in the year 1984 but this fellow seemed to be pushing it. He was throwing ash around and blowing smoke in our direction. Neither of us spoke French well enough to tell him to put it out. My husband was in no mood to be trifled with. He was still recovering from his head injury. He didn't feel good and he looked pretty scary. When the man set his cigarette in the ashtray next to us, my husband reached over and put it out. The man took a close look at his face and wisely left the café.

My point is that social stigma can extinguish smoking behavior. Everyone smoked when I was a child in the Fifties. All the big stars smoked in movies. There was a whole culture built up around used cigarette packs. As children, we always stamped our feet on Lucky Strike packs.

Why did people stop smoking? Smoking was cool until 1964 when it was found to cause cancer. Then, it was no longer considered groovy and began to be offensive. Basically, smoking was not considered attractive and neither were smokers. It turned into a dirty habit that most smokers tried to hide.

Old movies on TV now carry a warning for smoking. Sex, violence, and smoking are listed as possible activities a viewer might want to avoid seeing.

The same thing can happen with the overuse of water. The social stigma of having a thirsty lawn in front of your house can stop being dope as in cool and start being dope as in only an idiot would grow turf.

Those of us who want to save the lake need to apply all kinds of pressure, including social pressure, on those who overuse water. It is a given that there are others besides homeowners and businesses who use too much water, such as farmers. But this is an effort to concentrate on those closest to us.

Exerting social pressure on turf growers is as easy as tearing out your own turf (if you have any) and explaining to others why you removed it.

You could also post a sign on your lawn: “I tore out my turf to save the Great Salt Lake.”

Small signs that read, “Tear Out Your Turf” could be placed on properties that have grass. Of course, the signs will be removed but the point will still be made.

Growing grass needs to be a thing of the past.

Xeriscape yard. Small light red rocks with desert palm tree growing
Xeriscape - Nevada
Xeriscape yard. Assortment of small to medium rocks with a desert flower growing from them. Desert flower is small with long thin green leaves and a light purple 5 leaf flower.
Xeriscape - Desert Flower

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