Note: This is the last Film Club for the 2022-23 school year.
The perfect lawn: A bright green flag that tells the world and the neighbors you’ve achieved the American dream. “How to Fall Out of Love With Your Lawn” is a six-minute Opinion video that explores the “ugly truth hiding behind America’s glorification of grass.” Filmmakers Agnes Walton and Kirby Ferguson argue that lawns are bad for you, your pets and the planet. And, propose that it’s time for all of us to move on to greener pastures.
How persuasive is their argument? Do you agree that we need to ditch this powerful symbol of the American dream?
1. Watch the short film above. While you watch, you might take notes using our Film Club Double-Entry Journal (PDF) to help you remember specific moments.
2. After watching, think about these questions:
What questions do you still have?
What connections can you make between this film and your own life or experience? Why? Does this film remind you of anything else you’ve read or seen? If so, how and why?
3. An additional challenge | Respond to the essential question at the top of this post: Is it time to ditch a powerful symbol of the American dream — the perfect green lawn?
4. Next, join the conversation by clicking on the comment button and posting in the box that opens on the right. (Students 13 and older are invited to comment, although teachers of younger students are welcome to post what their students have to say.)
5. After you have posted, try reading back to see what others have said, then respond to someone else by posting another comment. Use the “Reply” button or the @ symbol to address that student directly.
6. To learn more, read “Kill Your Lawn, Before It Kills You.” Agnes Walton and Kirby Ferguson, the filmmakers, write:
Seen from above, it’s not the undulating rows of square houses that make American suburbia so recognizable. It’s the wide rivers of lush, almost neon-green grass that cut through the landscape. And on long, hot summer days, the lawn is where suburban living reaches its idyllic peak.
But while the lawn may be a powerful symbol of American postwar prosperity, it’s also an ecological dead zone that’s sucking the nation’s aquifers dry.
In this video essay we argue that it’s time to kill your lawn, not just to save the planet, but for your own health and sanity too. And while the idea of euthanizing such a beloved member of the family might seem harsh, we show the alternatives that could make the loss more bearable.
Want more student-friendly videos? Visit our Film Club column.
Students 13 and older in the United States and Britain, and 16 and older elsewhere, are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.