Help Quiet Our Public Space, Get A Rake!
Leaf Blowers Are A Pain In The Arse
(I hope it rains all week)
A weekend in the U.P. woods reminded me of the noisiness of city living. Some of it is fine, like a constant hum that reminds you that you are here. Other noises, like the whining of leaf blowers, have very few redeemable characteristics (if any) nor reasons to be accepted as part of the public noise-shed. They are relatively new inventions (30 years +/-) and are trying to replace a very effective tool: the rake.
This week’s New Yorker has the scoop on one community’s ongoing debate with the leaf blower titled, “Blowback: The Great Suburban Lead War.” Apart from griping about them with friends and chiding my neighbors, I didn’t realize the debate had escalated to war or that there are other reasons to despise the machine, like air pollution. One hour of blower use is equal to the tailpipe emissions for an automobile driving 350 miles. In addition, the fine dust particulate material kicked up and spread indiscriminately across the neighborhood contains all those lawn chemicals people use to degrade their lawns.
What most of us notice is the noise and despite often being considerably above local noise ordinances, the leaf blower persists. In fact, in Traverse City, it gets a pass in our local noise ordinance (652.05-b). That’s dumb…Is there anything to be done? Considering all the other crap we put up with, leaf blowing is best dealt with as local as possible; public shaming works on many people.
The above mentioned article describes the fight that Peter and Susan Kendall of Orinda, California are leading, but the fight is certainly not the first nor the only one. It’s sensitive, because what would otherwise be a private affair, someone taking care of their own lawn, has now expanded beyond private property lines in a very visible audible way.
I prefer the rake; I wished others did as well. Here are 5 good reasons:
- Raking is just as quick
- Raking is great exercise (AARP endorsed)
- It’s better for your lawn
- Save money.
- Your neighbors will like you better
There’s probably more…
Is anyone else bothered by leaf blower noise?
Or, perhaps it’s an indispensable tool for you…please share the reasoning.
NOTE: In New Yorker fashion, the above article digs deep and highlights the interesting socio-economic dynamic of the the Orinda debate.