A Weed by Any Other Name

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2009-05-01
  • Publisher: Beacon Press
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Lawns bring conflicting feelings for many who live with them. On one hand, we sense that our neighbours believe a weed-free, perfect carpet of lawn is desirable for every lawn on the street, and we want to uphold the neighborhood standard. On the other hand, some of us have a sense, either through environmental awareness, logic, or natural skepticism, that this kind of lawn isn't really reasonable and perhaps that the pesticides involved must have some unintended consequences. Is there more virtue in a weedy lawn, or in a "perfect" lawn? In A Weed by Any Other Name, environmental studies professor Nancy Gift, acting director of the Rachel Carson Center at Chatham University, offers a different perspective: that "weeds" themselves are desirable, both for their beauty - texture, color, variety - and for their ecological function. Throughout the book, weeds feature as characters in her family's lives and as members of a healthy lawn ecosystem. Ranging from her own yard to her college campus, to the lawns and flowerbeds of friends and family across the country, to the local playground and beyond, this book will make everyone re-think what they consider a weed - and what they do upon labeling a plant as such.

Author Biography

Nancy Gift is assistant professor of environmental studies and acting director of the Rachel Carson Institute at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and a lawn full of weeds.

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