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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

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The American lawn

2 minutes

An odd and completely unnatural institution, why is the front lawn so beloved by Americans?

‘The conceit of the American suburb is that we’re all in a great park together.’

Front lawns are unnatural and generally serve little practical use, and yet they’re a staple of suburban culture, carefully manicured by their owners and so ubiquitous that they’re the largest irrigated crop in the United States. In this brief video, the US food and nature writer Michael Pollan ponders the ‘peculiar institution’ of the American lawn, taken for granted as natural by many Americans when, technically, it’s anything but.

Video by RadioWest

Support Aeon

Ideas can change the world

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.

But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Become a Friend for $5 a month or Make a one-off donation

Essay/Anthropology
Infanticide

There is nothing so horrific as child murder, yet it’s ubiquitous in human history. What drives a parent to kill a baby?

Sandra Newman

Essay/Rituals & Celebrations
Who first buried the dead?

Evidence of burial rites by the primitive, small-brained Homo naledi suggests that symbolic behaviour is very ancient indeed

Paige Madison