Water Positive Landscapes Initiative: Lawn and Gardening With a Purpose
By Mark Slavens, ScottsMiracle-Gro VP of Environmental Affairs
Without question, the planet’s most important resource is water. In too many places, it is either polluted or scarce. And since water is clearly essential to gardening and to all plant life, we know that it is our responsibility as the lawn and garden industry leader to help homeowners use water more efficiently and to protect it when using our products.
Water responsibility isn’t new for our company. We’ve been engaged in the conversation about water responsibility for the past 15 years and view it as the most important goal in our environmental sustainability efforts. That’s why we’ve taken dramatic steps in recent years like removing phosphorous from all of our lawn fertilizers, reformulating our fertilizer products to include more slow-release nitrogen, improving application that reduces or eliminates the potential for runoff and bringing new water-saving product innovations to the market.
I’ll admit, though, the majority of what we have done to date has been more reactive or working to improve existing issues. Water Positive Landscapes is our way of being proactive and purposeful with our water stewardship, and showing homeowners how they can do the same.
However, we cannot do it alone. To truly drive meaningful change, we’ve made it our mission to form strategic partnerships with the leading authorities on water stewardship across the country.
I’m proud to say that we have achieved that mission, and then some. Through our Water Positive National Partner Network of leading water authorities – which includes the Alliance for the Great Lakes, Restore America’s Estuaries, and the Alliance for Water Efficiency – we are leveraging each other’s strengths, networks and knowledge to find long-term solutions to issues affecting the nation’s most fragile waterways.
We are also working with leading universities like Cornell, Texas A&M and UC Davis to design the landscape of the future: landscapes that are as good for the environment as they are beautiful. Together, we’re studying the relationship between water, grass type and climates to quantify what a “water positive” landscape looks like across different U.S. regions in order to help homeowners use water more responsibly, but still grow the landscape they want.
Water Positive is about changing our mindsets about water. Everyone can use water responsibly to maintain lawns and gardens with a purpose. Through collaboration with our partners, we’re excited to show the world how.