On Thursday, May 30, the League of Women Voters of Montgomery County and the Wabash College Library kicked off their 10th season of provocative films that introduce viewers to a wide range of issues affecting the environment in which we now live. This season features seven films dealing with a wide variety of topics. Each film is shown in Korb Classroom in the Wabash College Fine Arts Center (570 S. Grant Street). Showings begin at 7 pm. Viewings are free and open to the public. Each film is followed by an audience discussion.
The May 30 film was “Gimme Green.”
When asked what America’s most abundant crop is, most people would pause a moment while they decide whether to guess corn or soybeans. In another part of the country, people might guess wheat, but here in the Midwest we would give a solid vote for one of the two crops we see lining our rural roadways. We would be wrong.
As director Isaac Brown’s playful, informative film “Gimme Green” lets us know, by far America’s most abundant crop is lawn grass. We “farm” somewhere around 50,000 square miles of lawn, and despite water shortages out West, this acreage has stayed pretty steady for over a half century. In the 21st century, that amount will need to shrink or, plainly, we won’t have enough water to drink. Currently it’s estimated that Americans use approximately 50 percent of their household water on their yards.
It would seem reasonable once we home and yard owners become aware of this, that we would cut back on our lawn acreage and the $30-$40 billion we spend on lawn care products each year, many of those chemicals hazardous to our health and to our groundwater system. That we will change our habits is certainly not a given: lawns are undeniably an American symbol and have been since about 1900, but what do they really symbolize? Pride and prosperity? Or waste and conformity?
“Gimme Green” is a humorous look at the American obsession with the residential lawn and the effects it has on our environment, our wallets, and our outlook on life. By examining many aspects of social, commercial, and environmental pressures surrounding the green grass aesthetic, viewers begin to see how a non-edible resource-intensive plant became our nation’s largest irrigated crop. Spanning a wide range of perspectives and locales, and employing “a delightful blend of gravity and levity,” this brief film gets us thinking about Americans’ underlying motives for maintaining lush green lawns. “Gimme Green” is currently available on line for free viewing by googling the film title.
Since the 1960s, The League of Women Voters has advocated for the preservation of the physical, chemical, and biological integrity of the earth’s ecosystem essential for maximum protection of public health and the environment while also providing pathways to economic prosperity. Earlier this year, the League along with over 600 other organizations urged Congress to directly address “the gravest environmental crisis humanity has ever faced in order to protect all present and future generations around the world, while centering the rights of those communities and workers most impacted.”

The LWV, open to men as well as women, is a nonpartisan organization which encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase public understanding of major policy issues and influences public policy through education and advocacy. For information about the LWV, visit the website: www.lwvmontcoin.org or send a message to LWV, PO Box 101, Crawfordsville, IN 47933