July 21, 2011

Sinful (Astonishingly, Still Legal) Acts Against our Environment.

Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

(Part 1)

I’m not much for holidays. Including the 4th of July.

So there I was celebrating the night before Independence Day compiling and researching this list of affronts and inadequacies we all encounter in our everyday lives…that just plain need to be changed to afford us all some peace of mind and breathing room… and could also go a long way to improving life in the sectors of planet Earth wealthy enough to support such atrocities.

The original meaning of the word sin is to miss the mark. This list is of human inventions and activities that have drastically missed the mark and significantly contribute to personal and planetary suffering. Given our ever-burgeoning brilliance, there are many other offensives. So, I am counting on you to add to this list.

I have avoided the more obvious culprits such as driving gasoline powered cars, eating fake food, GMO food and having to pay income tax to support illegal wars, oil spill clean-ups, nuclear disasters and genocides at home and abroad. I have tried to include ordinary everyday items and activities along with some shocking statistics. At the end of each commentary I offer possible solutions to the problem.

In making this list, I ended up with about 15 items. Rather than give brief commentary on many, I am going a little more in-depth on each. In a loose way, the list will begin with the least offensive, getting more offensive each week (unless I am simply inspired to write about one out of the so-called order).

I’ll mention just one item per article and try to get one up a week.  At the end of each post, I’ll mention solution suggestions, when appropriate. So this sinful list will continue in a series of subsequent postings as Part II, III, IV, etc. So check on back!

Photo: Mangpages

Here goes in semi-random order from least to most still legally sinful:

LEAF BLOWERS. Leaf blowers suck. Period. Even though they blow. Gas-powered blowers suck the worst. They utilize the nasty two-stroke engine technology (along with their sinful siblings, the weed-whacker and lawn edger) to pollute the air a noxious smoke.

They also disappear valuable mulch, which would otherwise protect plants and keep moisture in the ground around plants in our ever-warming and artificial cities.

Leaf blowers send dirt, dust and pollution (including herbicides and pesticides used on lawns and around sidewalks) airborne, sullying already polluted air.

According to Zero Air Pollution, LA: “The two-stroke motor was banned in the form of water scooters on Lake Tahoe because it polluted the water, leaving a shimmer of oil around two-stroke motor boats.  Two-stroke pollution includes the carcinogen benzene.  Yet, this motor is used daily throughout California in the form of dirt blowers (aka leaf blowers, my insert) and lawn edgers.  They waste the same gas and oil, and “belch” the same air pollution from fuel as the banned water scooters.  They disrupt the peace and quiet of residents and visitors alike.”

I despise leaf blowers enough that if for no other reason (and there were many) I would have left Los Angeles 10 years ago just for their presence—they go all day long and seemingly everywhere! I used to get into my car or on my bike, or sometimes just run away on foot, to get away from them. And everywhere I ran away, a leaf blower or mower would start up within close proximity, wherever I went!

So, I finally decided it was time to leave the city altogether, which I did.  And, it has made all the difference in quality of life… though I left for many other reasons as well.

The noise alone is insanity! In fact, both leaf blowers and thumpy sub-woofer music impede the patent beating of our hearts and prevent us from feeling our hearts beat. When I lived in the city, I wrote several anti-leaf blower/pro-mulch poems (one called Leaf Blower Lies appears in my first book of poems, Nature of the Heart).

I used to put these poems on the windshields of gardeners (a criminal euphemism in itself, as these people usually have nothing to do with real gardens, which are places of refuge, quiet, and beauty) while they were busy spewing smoky fumes. I was arrested once for trespassing onto a neighbor’s property while he leaf-blew on a Sunday. I was furious, especially because the only semi-sane days in cities are Sundays and non-fireworks holidays.

I wrote many letters to the Los Angeles mayor and policy-makers disparaging leaf blowers and fighting for their ban.

Before I left that city, gas leaf blowers became illegal to use and I was told by an ally in the city council that I was instrumental in their disarmament. The law was never enforced, but you could, and still can, call the police to have offenders shut down.

Last I heard, electric powered blowers were still legal in the city. They should be illegal too for their noise, dust and poison-raising.

Since moving to Hawaii, I have not had to listen leaf blowers for the last 10 years. Pure bliss and sanity!

SOLUTION. Educate gardeners that leaves and organic matter are just that. They belong on the ground to keep in moisture and to make dirt to nourish plants. Use a hand broom if you have to sanitize a place of nature. Write your policy-makers to encourage the law to be enforced.

Call your local police to shut down offenders. We need a lot more peace and quiet in our world to feel our (non-leaf blower induced) feelings and to be creatively inspired for how to change the status quo, aka the “status woe.” Break out the rake or broom if you have to get rid of leaves and move nature debris elsewhere. Oh, I know, so much work! Support sanity; lead a leaf blower free life.

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