Butterflies on Echinacea



As Sergeant Joe Friday, the character in the 1950’s television show Dragnet, would say, “Just the facts, mamm.”  So, that’s what we’ll do in this post.  They’re not pretty, unless you’re a fan of concrete, asphalt, bluegrass and ribbons of highway that stretch across our once beautiful country.  Thankfully, there still are pockets of pristine wilderness, but even those are under tremendous pressure to be developed or mined for their natural resource.  

According to the USDA Economic Research Service:

     •     In 1900, 60% of US population lived in rural areas

     •     In 1959, 36%

     •     In 2000, 17.4%

     •     In 2005, 83% of US population live in urban areas

By 1986, we had converted over 69 million acres to managed urban and suburban landscape.  That’s 53 times the size of Delaware.  In Pennsylvania, less than 1% of the state can now be considered “wild”.  

According to the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service:

     •     Between 1982 to 1997, 2 million acres or the size of Yellowstone National Park was lost to development each year

     •     Since 1960, suburbia has increased 5909% in some areas of the country

     •     By 2004, we had paved over 4 million miles of road or 43,480 square miles of pavement when you add parking lots and driveways that equal an area 5.5 times the size of New Jersey

According to NASA researcher, Christina Milesi:

     •     By 2005, we had converted somewhere between 32 to 40 million acres or as much as 62,500 square miles to suburban lawns that equal converting an area 8 times the size of New Jersey to alien sterile grasses

When you look at the composite effect that we humans have on our natural world, it’s easy to see why so many wild species are under pressure for survival.  So, the question is: “What can we as individuals do about it?”

We already know that we can’t legislate our way to restoring our country’s natural balance, so that just leaves each of us to effect change all by ourselves.  Truthfully, we don’t really need the government to guide us down the right path when it’s so easy to find our way back to nature in our own yards and gardens through a sustainable approach to landscape design.  Imagine the urban and suburban landscape dotted with small islands of native grasses, trees and flowers stretching like a sting of pearls across our country and you can begin to see a possible future that restores wildlife to our country and our lives.

Just the facts, OMG...

Thursday, January 6, 2011