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Activism Environment Garden

Leafblowers are a Scourge Upon the Earth

Liked Opinion | Leaf Blowers Destroy the Environment by Margaret Renkl (nytimes.com)

Nearly everything about how Americans “care” for their lawns is deadly, but these machines exist in a category of environmental hell all their own.

[The monsters] come in a deafening, surging swarm, blasting from lawn to lawn and filling the air with the stench of gasoline and death. I would call them mechanical locusts, descending upon every patch of gold in the neighborhood the way the grasshoppers of old would arrive, in numbers so great they darkened the sky, to lay bare a cornfield in minutes. But that comparison is unfair to locusts.

Grasshoppers belong here. Gasoline-powered leaf blowers are invaders, the most maddening of all the maddening, environment-destroying tools of the American lawn-care industry.

“”Some produce more than 100 decibels of low-frequency, wall-penetrating sound — or as much noise as a plane taking off — at levels that can cause tinnitus and hearing loss with long exposure,” Monica Cardoza wrote for Audubon Magazine this year.”

Vouch.

They landscaping guys who use them have ear protection (though probably not enough), I don’t.

Holy cow, not only are they the most heinous sound on Earth but also they’re horrendous gas hogs:

“A 2011 study by Edmunds found that a two-stroke gasoline-powered leaf blower spewed out more pollution than a 6,200-pound Ford F-150 SVT Raptor pickup truck. Jason Kavanagh, the engineering editor at Edmunds at the time, noted that “hydrocarbon emissions from a half-hour of yard work with the two-stroke leaf blower are about the same as a 3,900-mile drive from Texas to Alaska in a Raptor.””

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at tracy.durnell@gmail.com. She/her.

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