Undergraduate Sustainability Award
My essay, “Cooked Nature: What Three Classic Books on the American Lawn Can Tell Us About Our Current Struggle to Mitigate Climate Change,” attempts to explain the dissonance between our collective desire for sustainability and our inability to reduce our own carbon footprints. Through the history of the American lawn, one can learn how culture and industry have shaped the landscape of our country, and how they continue to shape our lives today.
This paper grew out of my lifelong confusion regarding our lawns. Why do they exist? Why is it often expected that they be perfectly green year-round? Why is it desirable that they be composed of a single variety of grass? It was only after beginning to research these questions that I realized the interconnections between our lawns and climate change. Not only do lawns have immense potential as carbon sinks, but also our current treatment of them is indicative of the cultural challenges involved in creating a sustainable society in the United States.
I wrote this essay as my research project for SUSTCOMM 533: Urban Greening Theory & Practice, taught by Professor Theodore Eisenman. This class focuses on the process of integrating green space into cities, with an emphasis on the multitude of benefits provided by plants in the landscape. For my research, I drew upon the library’s JSTOR database, as well as several books. My approach to this project is interdisciplinary, combining elements from both the natural and social sciences.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.