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Households Need Turf. New research shows the health necessity of having natural grass

06 Nov 2017

The Water Corp’s answer  to Perth outgrowing it’s obsolete water supply system is social engineering and not actual engineering, while The Minister of Water’s answer is to rip up your lawn! Both are behind the times and show a lack of imagination and foresight. All we can say is thank god C Y O’Conner was not around now or the Goldfields wouldn’t have happened  and St Georges Terrace wouldn’t exist! Our Water Minister has turned his back on the massive amount of research that shows the necessity of natural turf to Urban liveability, not only for the environmental and economic benefits, but as this latest research shows, the massive need for grass for it’s health benefits.

While the Minister is not saying to rip out all turf in your backyard, it is unfortunate that the implications of his statement paints turf as being an unnecessary luxury. This is contradictory to all research which proves unequivocally that turf is not a luxury to urban liveability, but a necessity. It is ironic that he talks about reducing your amount of turf in your yard when most new yards, due to the ever decreasing block sizes, barely have enough room to plant any turf! This in itself is a major concern regarding the health implications that come with our children having more “screen time then green time”. Studies have shown that 84% of parents want a lawn for their children to play on. What a joke, on a 250 sqm block, good luck with that!

So not only does Australia’s iconic lawn get turfed out of the equation on these new tiny blocks, our Water Minister wants to give it another blow. I think turf should become known as the new Little Aussie Battler, as it quietly and without appreciation does the job of helping to keep us mentally and physically healthy, it is great for the environment, it adds value to our home, it prevents our city from looking like a third world country, so helping tourism and it provides a social place to enjoy our Australian lifestyle. Imagine a world with no grass, no carpet beneath the canopy so to speak.

 

Below is a article from Lawn Solutions Australia, detailing the results from the research. It was written in January this year and I don’t think our water Minister read the article!!

 

   No longer is turf being pillared as water-guzzling and requiring large quantities of fertiliser and nutrients with high maintenance costs. Natural turf has made a significant resurgence; as better management and greater appreciation for its benefits comes to the fore, including not only the well known environmental and economic benefits, but also the new study showing the massive health benefits.

 A new $3.2M study has gathered evidence-based data on the ‘lifetime’ health-effects of green space. Research has shown that a well maintained lawn and green space areas have a positive benefit on public health outcomes. This research has linked the importance of green space and turf from urban planning and health perspectives.

 

In Brief:

Turfgrasses play a critical role in the general health and welfare of our nation and as a result of increasing urbanisation and deforestation, they are becoming more and more important for human health.

Studies have shown that lawns and parks provide areas of cool, clean and calm that are critical to improved health; they are oases that are somewhat more free of the stresses of daily life in an urban environment.

New research being carried out in Australia aims to provide measurable evidence of the health benefits of green space and the minimum amount of local green space – parks, gardens, trees and turf needed for favourable health and societal outcomes.

New research to examine health benefits of turf and green space

It has long been widely recognised that large open greenspace areas with healthy lawn and turf provide many positives to the community, especially in regards to health.

The obvious benefits of sport and leisure, access to safe areas for increased activity and relaxation are typical of many city-park-type settings; yet these spaces are becoming increasingly more important as land values in Australia skyrocket and house-block sizes are squeezed and high-rise units spring up in many quarters.

The traditional backyard is slowly becoming a thing of the past and these days the public park becomes the go-to place for much outdoor activity.

Studies have shown that lawns and parks provide areas of cool, clean and calm that are critical to improved health; they are an oasis of green in urban sitting, often cooler and quieter and somewhat more stress-free than the hardscapes of surrounding areas.

New research being carried out in Australia aims to provide measurable evidence of the health benefits of green space and the minimum amount of local green space – parks, gardens, trees and turf needed for favourable health and societal outcomes.

Lawn Solutions Australia member Turfgrowers have contributed funding towards a world-first study announced late last year that will look at measuring the actual benefits of green space has on the community.

The $3.2 million, five-year project entitled Greener Cities, Healthier Lives has been funded by Research Council Horticulture Australia’s Green Cities fund in partnership with the Population Wellbeing and Environment Research Lab, which is part of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Wollongong (UOW).

The research is hoped to provide the first systemic evidence on the benefits of green space from birth to older age and ultimately give industry and policy makers some solid numbers for the amount of local green space – parks, gardens, trees and turf – that are needed for favourable health and societal outcomes.

These results will build upon the growing body of evince that points to turf and lawns as being a most important contributor to health in our urban environments:

  • Turf reduces noise and heat which in turn helps reduce stress
  • It improves air quality and helps keep our cities and towns clean
  • Every major city uses grass in parks and other public spaces as an essential part of the city landscape and to keep cities clean and local environments safer
  • When people live or work close to nature they are more relaxed and therefore less susceptible to high blood pressure, stress and depression
  • Families who walk in the park report better quality of family life and reduced problems with child behaviour
  • Hospital patients with a view of parkland recover much quicker than patients who don’t
  • Residents of high rise housing with access to open green spaces enjoy a range of health benefits including better mental health, immunity to disease and greater productivity in their working lives
  • It provides a healthy clean environment that’s ideal for people of all ages. Whether your need is raising a family, walking the dog, playing professional sport or just having a kick around with friends, there’s no better surface
  • Whatever you use it for, turf is the safest surface for outdoor leisure activities, games and sports. It reduces the incident of personal injuries through its cushioning ability
  • Children in particular are much better protected when playing and falling on grass than any other surface
  • Not only is turf ideal for cleaning up blood and bacteria associated with sports usage, but it also helps with spills from general outdoor entertaining whether it be a BBQ or the kids picnic birthday party
  • And of course, mowing a lawn also gets you outdoors and provides valuable cardiovascular exercise.
  • Psychologically, the colour green makes us feel closer to nature by being beautiful, restful and relaxing
  • Beauty and nature are essential parts of the human experience and turf grasses play a vital part of the landscape with which we like to surround ourselves

 

The health benefits depicted here are only a small part of the turfgrass story with many other environmental and economic benefits realised through its use.

Natural turfgrass has made a resounding comeback as a favoured surface covering as quality parks and green space areas become more sought-after in denser urban settings.

 

 

 

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