So despite coming from a staunch conservative family and the gas consumption state of Texas (where the number of suburbans to people is astonishing, especially considering the number of miles the folks drive*), the love of the outdoors and the proverbial writing on the wall have made me into quite the evironmentalist/hippie.
Veggie garden? Check
Commute by bike as much as possible? Check
CSA member? Check
The list goes on. But this week, I came across something that really is a microcosm of the problem(s) with this country as a whole. I live in an neighborhood were most people have a “yard man” that takes care of their lawn.**
The problems with this country can be wrapped up with the tool you see below…
When was the last time you saw someone using a broom? When was the last time you saw a “yard man” using one? They don’t people don’t. By my estimates, it would take about 50 calories to sweet up the trimmings from mowing and edging a yard. Personally, I sweep, scoop with the mega dustpan and add to the compost heap.
But for most people, and most of america, both homeowners and “yard men” alike, the tool of choice is the leafblower.
So every week, these people pay someone to mow their lawn. Then they use this highly inefficent leafblower to blow the detritous from their yard. And the yardman blows it. Into the street. Into the wind, into the neighbor’s yard.
And then the next day, the yardman comes back and does the neighbor’s yard and blows it all back.
How many kilocalories are burned by these gas powered, 2-stroke leafblowers that do little to clean the neighbors yards but do significant work to secure the yeard man’s job?
When a simple broom and dustpan would suffice?
* I remember back when I lived that that the idea of an 8 hour drive was trivial or commonplace. The number of mile I put on a car in the name of bike racing boggles the mind.
** To the point, I have considered making t-shirts “SOPWAMTOL” for the friends I have in the ‘hood that care for their own house – Society Of People Who Actually Mow Their Own Lawn