Anti-Lawn Movement Is Using Memes to Grow Online

Ah, spring. Birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, days are getting longer… and social media is rife with memes making fun of lawns. In early May, Twitter user @anatlfn’s Thread of “anti grass memes”The viral video was shared almost 250,000 times. “Friendship ended with monoculture lawns. Now vegetable food garden lawns with biodiversity is my friend,” One reads.

AnotherUses The Spongebob is getting more buffTo compare the weaker “gardens when planted with monocultures”To the more powerful “gardens that mimic native ecosystems and contain an abundance of native plants.”

In another photo, a huge red circle has been traced across the photo of a green lawn. “No more lawns,”It says. “Society has progressed past the need for lawns.”

@anatlfn is not the only one who has this ability. “found anti grass memes.”A seasoned movement of environmental activists, regular users and regular users are raising awareness on various threats through different platforms. “green carpet”Lawns can be a threat to the environment.

Their online concerns mirror theirs An increasing offline understandingThe governments of CaliforniaAnd Utah, for instance, are offering turf buyback programs to incentivize people to switch their lawns to less water-consuming alternatives, while smaller towns like Maryland’s College Park Rewriting their city codesEncourage openly “naturalized and native landscapes.” 

Lawmakers in Nevada even Passed a law banning non essential turfSouthern Nevada Water Authority provides water services in the Las Vegas area. 

According Download a 2018 Science ReportLawns are the most important irrigated non-food crop in the United States. Kentucky bluegrass—the main variety that now populates yards across the U.S.—was first imported to America alongside livestock from Europe in the 1600s so that horses and cows could graze. This perennial grass became a status symbol for the upper and mid classes over the centuries. 

But since this type of grass has no agricultural value, displaying a tidy, green lawn in front of one’s property essentially Was solely a mark of wealth. As technologies like sprinklers and lawn mowers made this type of garden less expensive to maintain, lawns became associated with civic virtue in white, middle-class suburbs—and have stayed so to this day.

And these memetic, anti-lawn movements are attempting to show that a cornerstone of American culture isn’t worth the environmental harm.

“These grasses are foreign to our climate and habitat, and to keep them healthy we have to rely on mowers, blowers, additional water, fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides,”Healthy Yards is a grassroots group It explains on its website. “Not only are these practices expensive and time-consuming, they are also detrimental to our soil, our surface water and our wildlife.”

Healthy Yards has turned to Instagram to reach a wider audience. Sharing their memesInfographics. One of the most well-known is this image, which is being shared all over Twitter and shows a man dressed as an 18th Century nobleman standing on a green lawn. “Are you still dressed like this?” The picture asks. “Then why does your yard still look like this”

And since Kentucky bluegrass turns yellow when it’s not watered, maintaining a green lawn at all times requires regular watering as well as fertilizers and pesticides, depending on the region. According to the EPA, maintaining green lawns requires 9 billion gallonsA day of water

Movements against “green carpet”Monoculture has been a problem for lawns, causing water waste and threatening native ecosystems. Since the mid-1900sThey have been empowered by climate change, which has made the issue even more urgent. In 2015, California was experiencing a severe drought. Local politicians encouraged people to voteTo “drought-shame”Neighbors who wasted water to irrigate their lawns. 

Drought Continue to be a major concernTo this day, the following are the Southern and Western states An early 2022 studyThe U.S. West is now in the middle a megadrought which has turned the region into the driest place it’s ever been in 1,200 year.

It’s only natural, then, that online creators found a community for their concerns. Tumblr user Headspace Hotel posted several antilawn memes, asking others to share them. “steal and repost my anti-lawn memes to as many Pinterest boards and Facebook pages as possible.” The post ended up with more than 104,000 notes

Videos tagged #nolawns on TikTok have had 6 million views. Most of the videos there are either posts by environmentalist creators like @eco.amical—who Documentation of the process of removing her house’s lawn to make way for a more eco-friendly backyard—or informational explainers on why lawns are bad for the ecosystem. But that doesn’t mean the platform doesn’t host Its share in memesAnd Even a songWritten by @melbryantmusic. The chorus goes “fuck your lawns, plant a garden, or better yet let your weeds get high as Willie Nelson.”

@ismisehegzReal gardens have native biodiversity🤓 #landscaping #gardening #cottagecore #garden #lawn #antilawn #biodiversity ♬ A work of art by s_johnson_voiceovers – Stefan Johnson

Reddit’s r/nolawns was established in 2019 and has at least 65,000 members. There are photos shared by members. “alternative”Lawns bursting with native plants, tips on how they can turn their garden away from monocultures, fights with neighbors and homeowners associations over unmowed yards. There are many memes.

“Memes and TikToks are big at spreading the word to people who may not have considered alternatives to the lawn,” one of r/nolawn’s moderators, u/TriniTornado, told the Daily Dot. “We want to ensure the content quality is high, but we also don’t want to exclude interest from people who are just opening their eyes to the fact that the lawn is not an ecological norm.”

His personal experience sparked his interest in the topic. 

“I bought a property with a manicured lawn and garden and used to sit outside and wonder why I never saw any birds or butterflies. It sparked an interest in native plants and pollinator gardens,”He said. He began to ask questions. “Why do we find it normal that we need to re-seed and add herbicides and pesticides every year to maintain a lawn, when there are so many plants that actually want to be in your yard without needing any inputs?”

Many anti-lawn activists are particularly concerned about the fate pollinators. This category includes bees and butterflies as well small animals such as moths, beetles or beetles. Pollinators are essential to any ecosystem. They produce 1,400 of our food and plant-based products. Nearly 80% are requiredPollination by animals And, According to multiple studies they thrive in lawns that aren’t clean-cut and tidy.

According to u/TriniTornado societal complaints are also much larger. “The lawn began as a symbol of being so rich that you don’t need to use all your land to grow food. And as people fall behind financially, they get fined by the city for growing tomatoes in their front yard or leaving some violets for the pollinators.”

He’s referring to the fact that homeowners associations, first founded with the Unwritten goal to keep Black Americans in the workforce from suburban neighborhoods, are still well-known for policing—and fining—people for not maintaining a neat lawn. A 72-year-old Bangladeshi immigrant was arrested last year. Judge openly shames meHe neglected to maintain his yard during treatment for cancer.

“If I could give you jail time on this I would. That is totally inappropriate,”The judge said it. 

As inequality continues its rise in the United States, well-tended yards have become the symbol of wealth that they were once meant to be. This is inspiring a movement against them. 

The creator of A viral anti-grass meme@theexxiledduck highlighted the political goals behind these photos. 

“I am fully aware that my memes somehow find a way to the average suburban liberal or conservative who doesn’t see an issue with their lawn,”They said it to the Daily Dot. “And I generally do interact with them, trying to say ‘hey look, if you plant some native species you can bring back some pollinators in your area.’ It’s not much, but it is something that suburbanites have some control over. The next step really is addressing the homeowners associations and how they enforce monocultural invasive grass lawns.”

Under his meme—a picture of an average suburban lawn with no native plants, reading “mfs be like why are the bees and butterflies dying / my brother in christ, your lawn looks like this”—plenty of people are posting pictures of their progress in turning their lawn into something other than a monoculture.

“We just ordered some white clover and ground ivy seeds for our lawn, and over the weekend we planted some creeping phlox and other ground cover and flowering bushes! Biodiversity is the way to go!” A user replied.

It’s a movement that, cultivated online, is actually starting to grow. 

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