.... the ethical imperative to garden differently is glaring. This from AMERICAN GREEN by Ted Steinberg:
1) Between 1994 and 2004, an estimated average of 75,884 Americans each year were injured using lawn mowers, or roughly the same number of people injured by firearms.
2) Using a gas-powered leaf blower for half an hour creates as many polluting hydrocarbon emissions as driving a car 7,700 miles at a speed of 30mph.
3) Approximately 7 million birds die each year because of lawn-care pesticides (and that's just lawn care, not including shrubs, trees, flowers, or agriculture).
4) In the process of refueling lawn care equipment, Americans spill 17 million gallons of gas every summer, or 50% more oil than the Exxon Valdez spilled off of Alaska.
5) A single golf course in Tampa (Florida alone has over 1,000 courses) uses 178,800 gallons of water per day, enough to meet the daily fresh water needs of more than 2,200 Americans.
6) Lawn chemicals are tracked into the home often, where they build up in carpet, this placing small children, whose developing bodies are far more vulnerable to toxins, at risk of chronic exposure.
Implicit in the above data is the fact that current lawn care practices are unhealthy for humans and the planet. Too bad the end users can't connect the dots between their actions and their health. Until mainstream media uses tabloid-type headlines to frighten the public about the unhealthy consequences of perpetuating traditional lawn care practices, nothing will change.
Great stats, Professor Prairie. That's a big price to pay for all those places, you know, "to rest one's eyes on" :-(
I would much rather see people spending their time and resources growing a vegetable garden rather than growing a lawn but if a car gets 30 miles per gallon it is going to burn 257 gallons of gasoline in that 7,700 miles. A leaf blower will at most use 2 gallons of gas in that thirty minutes. A gallon of gas is going to release x amount of hydrocarbons regardless of how it is burned. How can the statement that a leaf blower will create more hydrocarbons in thirty minutes than a car traveling 7,700 miles?
Larry-- because cars exhaust is regulated a lot tougher than mower / blower exhaust.
Regardless of that we are talking about a chemical reaction. Oxidizing a gallon of gas will always produce the same amount of reaction products. Won't it?
As long as the population of the United States remains scientifically illiterate -- check out the resistance to ideas like evolution and global warming -- the American public will lack the tools to interpret facts like the ones you mention. When the BP oil platform spilled millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf, I was told in all seriousness by several people not to worry; the water will wash it away. It's maddening. The fact that we have reduced education to test-taking means that there is more of the same up the road.
PS Because of you, there is milkweed in my garden.
BP has a commercial telling of how devoted to the environment they are. Goodie, tell it to the dead fish. How stupid are we?
By "Polluting hydrocarbons", I'm sure they're not counting CO2. 2 cycle engines burn far less thoroughly, and remove far less complex hydrocarbons than a modern fuel injected car with a catalytic convertor. Of course, excess CO2 causes its own problems, but that's not the point being made.
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