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domingo, 22 de marzo de 2009

...(They) Americans have traditionally looked on (their) front lawns as nothing less than an institution of democracy. Beginning in the 19th century, at the urging of such landscape designer-reformers as Frederick Law Olmsted and Andrew Jackson Downing, we took down our old-world walls and hedges (which they had declared to be "selfish" and "undemocratic") and spread an uninterrupted green carpet of turfgrass across our yards, down our streets, along our highways and, by and by, across the entire continent...

...Front lawns, we decided, would unite us, and, ever since, their maintenance has been regarded as an important ritual of consensus in America, even a civic obligation. Indeed, the citizen who neglects to vote is sooner tolerated -- and far more common -- than the citizen who neglects to mow: in hundreds of communities the failure to mow is punishable by fines. That's because our quasi-public unhedged front yards all run together -- in a sense, the White House lawn is contiguous with every other lawn in the land -- and the laggard who neglects to tend his lawn spoils the effect for everyone...

...
The democratic symbolism of the lawn may be appealing, but it carries an absurd and, today, unsupportable environmental price tag. In our quest for the perfect lawn, we waste vast quantities of water and energy, human as well as petrochemical... But the deeper problem with the American lawn, and the reason I believe the White House lawn must go, is less chemical than metaphysical. The lawn is a symbol of everything that's wrong with our relationship to the land. Lawns require pampering because we ask them to thrive where they do not belong...

...Turfgrasses are not native to America, yet we have insisted on spreading them from the Chesapeake watershed to the deserts of California without the slightest regard for local geography. Imposed upon the land with the help of our technology, lawns encourage us in the dangerous belief that we can always bend nature to our will. They may bespeak democratic sentiments toward our neighbors, but with respect to nature the politics of lawns are totalitarian...

...What we need is for the President to take the lead -- to stride out onto the South Lawn, drive the sharp edge of his spade into that unnaturally plush sod and toss the first chunk of White House lawn onto the compost pile. To do so would constitute an act of environmental shock therapy...

...The President's choice of a replacement for the White House lawn gives him an unprecedented opportunity to reinvent the American front yard -- and, in the process, promote a saner approach to the environment...

A propósito del nuevo huerto de los Obama en la Casa Blanca. Extracto de un artículo de opinión del NY Times escrito... en 1991!

Nota al margen:
...la naturaleza no puede quejarse y la doblegamos imponiéndole nuestra voluntad. Es así para domesticar su/nuestro progenie/sustento. Pero también es un elemento más de diseño. Una manifestación cultural. Un tema clásico en cualquier clase sobre historia del paisajismo. Recreación romántica frente a geometría renacentista. Jardines ingleses (ruina incluida) frente a parterres barrocos. Recomiendo echar un vistazo al precioso jardín silvestre de la Fundación Cartier en París para ver que otro jardín es posible...
...y, preocupaciones mediambientales y paisajísticas aparte, con un poco de cuidado... y tacto, podríamos extender la reflexión de este articulo al campo de las civilizaciones humanas. Nuestra bien ganada democracia es válida para nosotros y nuestro vecindario, pero cuando intentamos extenderla a otras civilizaciones se convierte en un totalitarismo...

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