The grass is always greener – over Bill Clinton’s head

So Bill Clinton is getting on the green bandwagon – by advocating you sod your roof as a way to help cut greenhouse gas emissions; a sod roof doesn’t get as hot, meaning you don’t have to use as much energy to cool your home.

I’m not going to argue with anyone who advocates “relentless home improvement” and going green in general but when it comes to sodding the rooftops my question is … what’s he been smoking??

I mean it is possible.

We conducted a little research yesterday, and while sod roofs are far more common in places like African villages, we came across a pair of Vermont home builders — Tim Rice and Steve Jacob — who agree with Mr. Clinton that the time is right for a “revival of the old-time sod roof.”

But probable or practical? I think not. Most of us have enough lawn to mow right now, let alone putting more on the roof. Lawnmowers are already the #1 source of home improvement related injuries and now we’re going to take them to the rooftops as well?

Letting your rooftop lawn go isn’t an option either, not in this society. A beautiful lawn is one of North America’s great obsessions. It’s a cult! I speak as a person who occasionally drinks the Kool Aid.

What I mean by the lawn as moral issue is its place in human relations and its role in public shaming. In North America today, a lawn is the quickest, surest indicator that the deadliest of the seven deadly sins has attacked from within. As the death of a canary announces the presence of gas in a mine, so a dandelion’s appearance on a lawn indicates that Sloth has taken up residence in paradise and is about to spread evil in every direction. And when a whole lawn comes alive with dandelions–it can happen overnight, as many know to our sorrow–then that property instantly becomes an affront to the street and to the middle-class world of which the street is a part. Pretty as they might look to some, dandelions demonstrate a weakness of the soul. They announce that the owner of the house refuses to respect the neighbourhood’s right to peace, order, good government, and the absence of airborne dandelion seeds.
- Robert Fulford, The Lawn: North America’s magnificent obsession

Are we going to put the dandelions where lawn obsessives can’t reach them? It isn’t going to happen; some people just won’t be able to “leave them be”.

Other concerns I’ve seen noted: how sod roofs will fare in hurricane conditions, the water weight after a week of rain, and the need for more government regulation around such an undertaking. All legitimate concerns.

Bill Clinton is a smart guy. But to sell green to the masses, he needs to pitch simple, elegant solutions. Energy efficient windows. Yeah! Wind turbines. Yeah! Metal roofs that offer the same benefits? Yeah! A dandelion haven on our rooftops? No thank you Mr. Clinton.

But if you’re curious as to how it could be done, you can read more at

This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 12th, 2007 at 8:53 am and is filed under Energy Savers, Global Warming, Going Green, Green, Green Home, Lawn Care. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

1 Comment so far

  1. [...] The question then goes back to whether the environmental threat is real and how effectively legislation can reasonably combat that threat. Pardon my cynicism but the “liberty and prosperity” in jeopardy argument just doesn’t wash. Tracinski needs to get off his soapbox and “get real”. The liberal influencers are as affluent as the conservative ones and for all their talk about the issues (Al Gore & Global Warming, Bill Clinton and his sod roofs), have yet to give up their affluent lifestyles. It just ain’t gonna happen. The influencers can say what they want, but the decision-makers report back to the voters and middle America isn’t ready to support any kind of “Global Warming Police State”, now or in the near future. [...]

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