Environment Forum

Baa baa green sheep, have you any grass?

October 29, 2008

Farming often gets a bad wrap for causing global warming but at least two sheep in Norway are doing their bit to go green.

Grass has been growing on the backs of the sheep on the island Vega off Norway’s northwest coast — apparently from seeds that fell onto them during the night when they were sleeping in a shed under some stacks of hay.

“Their backs are green as lawns,” farmer Arvid Olsen (pictured left) told Ingvar Andersen, who works for the Norwegian regional newspaper Brønnøysunds Avis and who took these two photos.

The sheep can in theory nibble on each other if they are hungry. Among other joking suggestions were that the sheep were camouflaging themselves to hide from predators. Norway has both wolves and bears on the mainland. 

And these sheep won’t need to be sheared — instead Olsen will have to get out his lawnmower.

Farm animals are also big sources of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, from their digestive tracks — in some countries such as New Zealand, sheep are among the biggest contributors to national emissions

So the tiny portable lawns mean that the sheep are doing at least a bit to offset climate change because plants soak up greenhouse gases.

Maybe all sheep should be sprinkled with seeds in spring? Or maybe white sheep are better after all — they help reflect sunlight back into space?

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