This garden was named the ugliest in the world, but it’s for a good reason

editor’s Note: Call to Earth is a CNN editorial series committed to reporting on the environmental challenges facing our planet as well as showcasing solutions to those challenges. Rolex’s Perpetual Planet initiative has partnered with CNN to raise awareness and education on key sustainability issues and inspire positive action.

(CNN) — A garden of dry, brown weeds is not something many gardeners want to brag about.

But that’s exactly what yard contest organizers in Sweden were looking for when they launched the “World’s Ugliest Garden” award.

People from around the world were invited to post photos of their dehydrated grass on social media in a bid to garner dubious praise.

According to those responsible for the project, the intention was to raise awareness about “saving water globally by changing the norm of green grass”.

The contest was launched in collaboration with Hollywood actress and environmentalist Shailene Woodley, who called the contest “a great way to motivate people to use less water.”

Lawns, which can require large amounts of water to maintain, are coming under increasing scrutiny as drought periods become more frequent and intense due to climate change.

Lawn Garden Award

Kathleen Murray’s lawn in Tasmania, Australia has become a home to wildlife. Credit: Region Gotland

The global initiative was launched on the official website of Gotland, Sweden. Their website explains why: “Enormous amounts of water are used to irrigate lawns for aesthetic purposes. As the world warms, water scarcity is a growing problem.”

According to UNESCO data, 2.4 billion people are expected to be affected by water scarcity in urban areas in 2050.

Organizers of the contest said, “By not watering the lawn for aesthetic reasons, we can protect the availability of groundwater.”

This title was awarded to Kathleen Murray, resident of Sandford, Tasmania, Australia.

According to organisers, Murray’s lawn “reflects a deep, dry groove made by three wild bandicoots (small marsupials endemic to Australia) and not a dust-covered decimeter is wasted in watering it.”

A press release sent to CNN by Gotland’s office on Thursday said: “For this, the planet, and its dwindling reserves of life-giving fluids, thank you, Kathleen, as well as those mischievous, mischievous bandicoots who live in your Let’s mark the property.” greater good.”

Murray said in the press release about his win: “I’m incredibly proud! I knew I’d get 5 minutes of fame, even if it was just for having the ugliest lawn on the planet! Now I get to mow my grass. I’m free to mow the lawn again.”

garden lawn

According to organizers, Murray’s field “boasts deep, dry divisions.” Credit: Region Gotland

Murray now has a certificate and a recycled T-shirt declaring him “the proud owner of the world’s ugliest lawn.”

Organizers said: “Gotland aims to change the norm by changing the norm to save water and show Sweden and the world that sustainable behavior doesn’t have to be boring.”

A similar competition for the ugliest grass on Gotland took place in 2022.


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