Solutions to avoid using gas powered leaf blowers

Solutions exist that don’t require dangerous gas powered leaf blowers. A combination of healthy lawn and garden maintenance practices and safer tool choices makes it possible to achieve beautiful outdoor spaces and also keep our neighborhoods quiet and safe. Advocating for gas free maintenance in our own homes and in public spaces will also help keep workers safer by eliminating their exposure to these harmful tools.


PRACTICE HEALTHY YARD CARE

It is entirely possible to maintain a healthy, beautiful yard without the noise and toxic emissions from gas leaf blowers and other gas-powered equipment. The best way to achieve this while promoting the health of ecosystems and people is through the principles of ecological/sustainable landscape design and maintenance. Yards designed according to these principles are easy to care for, look lovely, and are healthier for the planet. 

Here is a useful list of sustainable landscape principles. And here is a great website on healthy yards.

So embrace a less manicured look and let nature do its thing! The more flexible we are about a few leaves here and there, the less time-consuming our yards are to maintain, and the healthier the soil and garden will be. There is really no need to keep things looking “un-naturally” clean. 

Here are some additional resources:

  • Leave the leaves” – leave leaves and other plant matter under trees and shrubs to help build mulch, healthy soil and habitat for pollinators and wildlife.
  • Grasscycling – leave grass clippings on the lawn or use a mulching mower. Clippings are a natural fertilizer, beneficial for the lawn and will decompose and disappear quickly.
  • Plant care – avoid the use of leaf blowers around plantings as they erode and compact the soil, and damage habitat for beneficial insects and pollinators
  • Help pollinators – plant native plants with staggered blooming times and do not use pesticides
  • Reduce or replace your lawn – lawns take lots of water and labor to maintain and account for huge quantities of fertilizer and gasoline use.  Reduce the size of your lawn or replace it altogether with plants that take less water and maintenance and which provide habitat for insects and birds.

CHOOSE SAFER TOOLS

Tools that don’t create toxic fumes, dust and noise are gentler on the environment. Gas blowers are often overkill for the work that is required, and good alternatives exist for light cleaning and even for heavy leaf clearing.

SUPPORT HEALTHY JOBS

Help create demand for green healthy jobs. Gas blowers are most dangerous for the workers who operate them.  By signalling that you care about the air quality in your neighborhood, you are helping your neighbors and creating healthier jobs for our local workers.




Prélude à l’après-midi d’un leaf blower

Gunning at dawn

as if to secure

the right to water

the lawn, to leave

the engine on, to burn

what we please

and pile the debris

on someone else’s

doorstep, to adjust

one’s mask before

asphyxiating others,

a two-stroke civic

discourse at full

throttle keeps

the peace and

quiet clean.


Verse thanks to Jennifer Martenson