Climate Change

The Triumph of Image over Substance

By Ryan McGreal
Published May 25, 2007

The BBC reports that London flew in enough sod (dug up from Yorkshire) to cover Trafalgar Square with a lawn to demonstrate how London is "the greenest capital in the world."

London's Trafalgar Square is covered in grass (Image Credit: BBC)
London's Trafalgar Square is covered in grass (Image Credit: BBC)

Yep, nothing says "green city" like transporting grass in an airplane from a different part of the country to it for a photo op.


Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan wrote a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. His articles have also been published in The Walrus, HuffPost and Behind the Numbers. He maintains a personal website, has been known to share passing thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and posts the occasional cat photo on Instagram.


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By jason (registered) | Posted May 25, 2007 at 12:29:50

ha ha....classic story. Don't people think before they do such stupid things? I love the one guy sitting there enjoying the beautiful day....biggest yard he's ever chilled on.

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 25, 2007 at 13:16:04

how about finding us a picture of Yorkshire where they dug this all up from?? I'm assuming it's a REAL green city (except for right now when all it's grass is on display in London).

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By Rusty (registered) - website | Posted May 25, 2007 at 14:44:03

Ah c'mon folks. Don't be so cynical! I think, if nothing else, all that Yorkshire sod shows Londoners the POSSIBILITIES. It will help them see how life can be if we only allowed ourselves to go green.

It reminds of a rally they had in Toronto once, where a truck pulled up and all the activists laid sod along King Street downtown. Or the recent Queens Quay makeover where they laid sod on the road for one week only.

It allows us to see how things can be if we only have the will.


PS I think the sod might have come from Leeds United's Elland Road ground. After the season they had perhaps they figured they'd be better off playing on concrete...

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By Ted Mitchell (registered) | Posted May 27, 2007 at 12:09:28

There is no greater irony in that manicured grass, so literally green, is so figuratively not.

But there are many who don't - can't- get that concept. The marketing line is too powerful, who could not love the lush, green, "healthy" lawn.

That's what they see. I see the floral equivalent of a dialysis patient with metastatic cancer who's just had an extreme makeover.

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By Ted Mitchell (registered) | Posted May 27, 2007 at 12:14:41

You know what, I'm sorry, that was not a good analogy. Apologies to people with cancer and kidney failure, those are both diseases of bad luck, not conscious self-destruction.

Heroin addiction would be a better metaphor.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted May 27, 2007 at 14:58:21

How's this for an analogy, Ted: turf grass is 'green' the way an embalmed corpse is 'lifelike'.

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