The Fall and the Rise of Leaf Blowers
Why do people use leaf blowers? Do they really think that blowing their leaves off their yards and driveways will achieve anything, other than deafening themselves and others? And annoying the Noise Curmudgeon? Especially when the leaves are STILL falling!!
Perhaps the issue is this, as noted at ‘Newsfromthehomefront’: “Give a guy a leaf blower and he wields it like an oversized penis.” ( http://www.newsfromthehomefront.ca/2012/04/17/tell-me-why-we-still-allow-leaf-blowers/) (Did Freud say anything about noise?)
Here you can read a good article, which includes information on how leaf blowers work and why they are so loud. The author also discusses what he calls ‘psychoscaping’ – the creation of unusable and unused yards, on which you use these loud machines.
See this picture? I think a leaf once landed on that lawn! Damn its eyes! This is what he labels ‘psychoscaping’.
Noise Curmudgeon Video Time:
What IS this person blowing away? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEa4T2uLTIk
I feel very badly for this guy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8rBQH5Pv0k
(Notice that there are NO fallen leaves in sight!)
Listen to what this person in the UK has to deal with: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfEhC_4N1lg
What is to be done? Legislation at the local level is one option.
If you live in Santa Monica, you will be glad to know that leaf blowers are banned within the city! And here you can see a somewhat out-of-date list of cities in good old California which have banned leaf blowers.
In Canada, we have not yet gone full out in banning leaf blowers. If you live in Toronto, there is a weak little by-law re: noise pollution. Vancouver’s bylaw is a bit tougher. (See the reference to leaf blowers being banned completely in Vancouver’s West End. I wonder how they pulled that off?) Victoria’s noise bylaw makes specific reference to leaf blowers, noting that they must not exceed 65 dB at full throttle. So – check with your city government to see if there are noise by-laws regarding leaf blowers.
In the world of social media, you can also track issues regarding leaf blowers and noise on Facebook.
OR – if you STILL think you need technological/machine help with your leaves, try a leaf sweeper:
Of course, there is a strong lobby from the landscaping industry to stop by-laws against leaf blowers and other such machines. Here you can read some of their thinking – please note their snide comments about rich people complaining! If you read this article, you will find, near the end, a description of how the City of Los Angeles tested the efficacy of leaf blowers vs. a grandmother with a broom and a rake – and she won! So there, landscaping industry. (Did you know? “The leaf blower industry employs a full-time lobbyist who travels the country attempting to quiet anti-blower legislative activity.” (http://www.csmonitor.com/1997/1003/100397.opin.opin.1.html/%28page%29/2))
But – here is a link to a US lawncare business which is embracing new approaches and quiet technologies. See what they offer.
And here is a good piece from a landscaper who makes it very clear that leaf blowers ‘blow’.
So you could also deal with some of this issue by finding and hiring local landscapers who do not use leaf blowers.
Allow me to end this post with a quote from Stuart Thomson of the Edmonton Journal:
“Knowing what we know [about leaf blowers and their impact], can we really allow this to continue? I can imagine a world in which none of our leaves are blown (a few are raked, that’s quite all right as long as no one scrapes the metal rake along the concrete, please) and it is a good world indeed. Sure, sometimes there will be too many leaves in one spot, some brown and soggy from the rain, but I have faith in our tenacity and spirit as Canadians to handle this.” (http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2012/11/17/on-leaf-blowers-the-scourge-of-autumn/)