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We are in the midst of a world changing at the speed of hyper drive. Sure, we’ve been through the agricultural, innovation, industrialization and communication revolutions. But this one, a social revolution, holds the potential to undo all the former ones. That is enough to give someone dreams about forgotten locker combinations.

One of the avenues for this change is being constructed in the name of “going green.” I recently heard a man joke about getting his second Prius. “So do we have Priuses or Prii?” He said they don’t emit smog, they emit smug. Hey, I’m as green and smug as the next Martian. I recycle, grow organic, love wilderness areas and shop at Good Earth. In an alternate reality I drive a Tesla roadster. (In that reality, I also run marathons and have a PHD.)

But I would rather not infringe on the rights of others, compelling them to comply with the collective’s assessment of what is “green.” If they choose not to recycle, that’s their choice; I’m not going to put solar panels on my roof. (But I might stick some in my garden beneath a wind generator someday.)

Consider the difference between “stewardship” and “conservationism.” When we moved into our home, the land had been allowed to return to its natural state. Beneath the green, growing weeds and accumulated tumble weeds that blew in, a hard clay soil continued to bake. We chose, rather than conserving this natural state, to exercise stewardship over it. Earth movers were brought in, trenches for drainage and sprinklers were dug. Flower beds were shaped, a fence, wall, patio and deck were built, lights and pipes laid. Then hundreds of plantings brought in. I love the results, and it is far more productive. I live in a state that was a desert when settled and because of irrigation, and hard work, it produced grain, orchards, and rich communities.

Now, across the street, and upwind from us, is a lot that the landlord has not exercised stewardship over. And that is his choice, until it infringes upon my property. When the seeds of quack grass, dandelions, bindweed, and other noxious plants blow into my yard, I get frustrated. My husband gets red in the face and, after conversations with the renters where they express their lack of desire to do any thing, and with their permission, he goes over with a shovel, and sometimes sprays their weeds with something not so organic.

Thankfully our city has an ordinance that such weeds cannot be allowed to grow above six inches. So after unsuccessfully trying to contact the landlord, we have considered approaching the city. Not because we want to impose upon the landowner what we think a yard should look like (plant three trees in the park strip, paint your shutters, and haul away old cars type stuff), but because his crop is infringing upon us.

That’s my standard. It comes from “Do all that you agree to do, and don’t infringe on others or their property.” I would add, “And clean up after yourself.” You know, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” So although I wouldn’t compell him to plant petunias and zuchinni, I would hold him to keeping his stuff inside his property. He can build a fence and conserve those weeds all he wants, as long as they don’t blow across the street.

In the meantime, I’m going to get a composter, pick up the tumbleweeds that have blown in, and figure out where that wind turbine could go.

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