Many people in industrial societies live in the suburbs which are really neither city nor country living. Many people have openly criticized the suburban way of life as the apex of consumer lifestyle highly dependent on fossil fuel input. Suburban life is a sort of pseudo-rural life where affluent middle and upper-class people purchase land “in the country” in order to enjoy the tranquility of being close to nature and having less population density surrounding them.
However, this proximity to nature is superficial and superfluous since the majority of suburban people have little direct contact with the land on which they live. They are, in essence, people who make their living in the city and who have an urban mentality but who have the affluence that permits them to commute from a very human-controlled rural area to the urban areas that sustain them monetarily.
Besides the enormous amount of fossil fuels used simply in commuting back and forth, another hallmark of wastefulness that characterizes suburban neighborhoods is the lawn. Those vast expanses of pesticide-filled green monocultures that surround every house actually began in Victorian England. Lawns were a way for the rich to show the rest of their neighbors that they had enough land that they could afford to leave large parts of their holdings follow and not grow anything productive.
What began as an arrogant display of wealth has grown into an essential part of almost every suburban home. When considered from a distance, lawns are the quintessential display of the insanity of our current civilization. The typical suburban family in any industrialized nation probably has between 1-2 acres of land that they dedicate several hours to each week mowing, fertilizing and spreading chemicals in order to maintain the “weeds” at bay.
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