All Things Water II – Turf & The Grass Blade

All Things Water II

In the wake of the Flint water disaster, a moment of silence and a punctuation point, about this all important pillar of life – water.

The Grass Blade or the Cumulative Benefits to Water Infiltration

In a far, far away place at the tip of an island, a patch of reconstituted land boasts green initiatives. All organic fertilizers, conversations with the river, a plethora of fauna and flora are invited into the community’s backyard. Newer buildings boastfully display LEED Gold and Platinum perfectly polished signage at their door and so it goes, a reputation has been established.

But that was a long, long time ago. The political process and small self-centered interest groups have hijacked the day. In the rendition of a story, it would seem that someone on some committee has a friend. Not an ordinary friend. One that has a stake in non-other but – astroturf. The lovely ballfields were the first casualty. Over the course of a year, the grounds that had always been well-maintained, were left strangely unattended. And a just-in-time published article (conveniently following a torrential rain episode) in the reporting forum of a community paper (catering to a handful of interest groups), lamented the ills of natural grass and expounded the benefits of yes – you guessed it – astroturf. That lovely material that requires its own hefty share of infrastructure and maintenance headaches was tooted (without the mention of the foregoing depletives) as the panacea for an all-seasons league. The idea was sold (to a few) especially the parents of the little leaguers. But then again these are the most vocal voices in the community. The toxic cocktail of pollutants stagnating at the surface of the green carpet on which their kids would be scraping their knees and breathing into? Never mind. Wow, extra play time. Sold!

It was a disaster area following the first snowstorm, and an even bigger disaster following super storm Sandy with the water having no place to go but run. The grounds were closed of course for an inordinate length of time to repair the damages but not one word was mentioned in the community’s paper. Could it be that the supplier of the astroturf, the friend of a friend on some community panel, also provided maintenance services?

And it does not stop at that. A couple of years thereafter, the lovely small patch of green, immaculate for the fifteen years prior, suddenly lay derelict. All efforts to save it – failed!

The invigorating smell of grass blades patiently monitoring air quality, absorbing and turning around toxins into oxygenated richness, gone! the nurturing mini-ecosystem, gone! The natural patch of green, green grass carefully inviting rainfall to seep into its layers of natural infiltration, minimizing runoff and doing its part to increase the richness of the aquifer, gone! In its stead, another patch of astroturf. Could it be that the same supplier was called upon, given its experience in the neighborhood?

Soon, there will be artificial trees and plants lining the lawns just like the narrative in Dr. Seuss’s storybook. Thanks to the moms and dads of the little leaguers, what was it that swayed the votes? Was it the extra run of laundry?

And the neighborhood? It goes by the name of Battery Park City. But like it are many more!

Egad! Away with you small interest groups, corrupt politicians and unethical reporting!