Remembering the Puzzling Days of the Dandelion

bumblebee and dandelion

 

“In today’s history lesson, we’ll examine a very strange time in human history – the early 2000s.

During this troubling period, humans on the planet Earth had collectively decided that this flower was a scourge:

 

Dandelion flower

 

Taraxacum, more commonly known as dandelion, was a perennial, herbaceous plant that grew on Earth. It had long taproots that helped naturally aerate the soil. The entire plant was edible, and it had many medicinal purposes.

However, major chemical companies spent millions of dollars on advertising to convince consumers that dandelions were bad.

 

dandelions in a garden

 

During this same time period, many people grew large patches of non-native grass in their yards. Although the natural habit of plants on Earth was to diversify, the humans spent long hours removing dandelions and tending their large swaths of fescue grass.

Lawns were a lot of work. They weren’t practical or sustainable, but most people still had them because it was the norm.

A yard of bright green, weed-free grass was a status symbol at the time. Some lived in neighborhoods with HOAs that called dandelions “noxious weeds” and required their removal.

 

bee and dandelion

 

Water was becoming scarce. Droughts were increasing worldwide at a rapid pace, yet inexplicably the humans continued to use precious water on their large swaths of turf.

The humans rarely enjoyed or even stepped on their yards of grass.

 

perfect lawn

 

They maintained them mostly for show.

 

honey bee and dandelion

 

The media outlets of this era regularly reported the alarming facts that bee populations were dwindling rapidly. In 2017, Time magazine reported that 700 North American bee species were headed for extinction.

Dandelions were a natural pollinator that bees loved, but for some reason this did not stop the humans from trying to eradicate the yellow flowers from their turf patches.

 

dandelion bee

 

Water supplies were becoming increasingly polluted in the early 2000s.

Weed killers were big business. Humans purchased billions of dollars of toxic chemicals to eradicate the dandelions, clover, crabgrass and other plants that naturally sprouted up in their lawns. The chemicals seeped into the Earth’s surface water, groundwater and soil. Herbicide residue was found in many foods.

 

Ortho weed killer

weed killer

 

The weedkiller glyphosate was linked to cancer and other diseases in humans, but the chemical companies funded research studies that refuted the claims.

The chemical companies financed like-minded politicians through political action committees, and hired lobbyists to weaken and eliminate restrictions on toxic herbicides.

Despite the widespread adoption of the internet around the turn of the 2000 millennium, it was a period of great misinformation and the people had not yet figured out how to discern the truth.

While we may never fully understand the mistakes and motivations of the Earth people of the early 2000s, we can learn from their catastrophic errors in judgment and take better care of our planet Kepler-186f.

We must remember to always demand clean, independent scientific research. We must remember to vigorously keep dark money out of politics. We must always hold our elected officials accountable to preserving our planet’s resources.

Let the early 2000s always remind us that seemingly innocuous actions by a large number of people can result in terrible consequences.

Let history remind us to seek and revere the truth.

And let us never forget the dandelion.”

Dandelion

 

Lawn photo by Sir Mildred Pierce.

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

5 comments to Remembering the Puzzling Days of the Dandelion

  • Eliza, I was thinking of this very topic when I was pulling “noxious weeds” in our HOA-compliant yard today. So I read a few articles on the subject. It appears that regional weeds not only allow a healthy insect life above ground, but also they promote a healthier micro-organism environment below the surface. When my husband and I downsize to our little retirement home, we want a neighborhood that will allow a natural area on our lot for bees and butterflies. And I’m SCARED of bees, but I understand how important they are for our ecosystem. Thank you so much for this post!

    • Hi, Priscilla,
      I love your thinking as you look for your next home; a more natural habitat would be wonderful. I, too, pull the dandelions from our front lawn and daydream of a more unstructured yard. Thanks so much for sharing your findings about regional weeds!
      xo,
      Eliza

  • Lyn

    Eliza – – I love this post. I just drove past a neighbor’s house and thought how lovely it was to see all those wonderful yellow flowers in their back yard. Why is it that we don’t appreciate the dandelion more? From here on, I will not remove them from my gardens or my lawn. They are so much more useful and good looking than other weeds. Thank you!! Lyn

  • Jill

    Dandelions will always be welcome on my “lawn”. I love how bright and happy they look and I have noticed they are quite popular with the bees. Once, upon seeing my dandelion infested front yard, my father-in-law commented, “You like dandelions?” and I just gave him a big smile and replied, “Why yes I do.” Now, my veggie and flower beds, it’s a different story – any dandelion that happens to wander into those areas is going to get pulled out by hand.

  • Oh my! I do hope that at least some of us are able to escape to Kepler-186f.

    I fear what’s left of my “lawn” has been infected with a fungus, so I’ve been busy digging the remains out – as well as miles of bindweed roots. My plan is to fill the yard with flowers & plants for the bees. We’ll see how it goes…

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