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Living with Nature: Love Your Leaves
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Living with Nature: Love Your Leaves

Tags: solar, water

Posted October 10, 2011 by maryzakrasek

Are you Blowing Money Away?
How did the quest to rid yards of leaves grow into a nationwide culture of leaf-blowing? 

This fall, people will travel hundreds of miles to see leaves changing.
But it seems, once a leaf hits the ground, they change into unsightly debris that needs to be removed as soon as possible.In searching for books on leaves, I found it so interesting that almost all of them are children’s books...where leaves are celebrated for their beauty, joyously stomped on in the fall, and lovingly collected as treasures.

As I’m sitting in my office smelling gas fumes coming through the window and hearing the unsettling drone of yet another leaf blower.... I’m wondering....When did people lose their Love for Leaves?  And, why are they paying so much to get rid of them?

What happened?

America now has millions of gas powered leaf blowers creating:

  • multiple health hazards for those using them including hearing loss and respiratory conditions
  • multiple health hazards for those those exposed to the exhaust and billowing clouds of particulates 
  • critical impacts on the environment.

 Watch the video by concerned neighbors in Studio City, California including Ed Begley, Jr.

The irony of it all is that gardeners LOVE leaves.  They know that leaves are the perfect natural fertilizer for the soil.  And, if left to turn into mulch, no chemical fertilizers are ever needed.  In fact, when leaves are turned into compost, gardeners call it Black Gold because it is the deepest, darkest, most nutrient rich soil there is.

Meanwhile, in the now soil-stripped, leaf-blown yards, chemical fertilizers have to be purchased to help the plants and grass grow and bags of soil are brought in to replace the topsoil which is now a thin film of dirt that has been blown all over the surrounding area.

Now, more and more cities are passing laws to ban gas leaf blowers and require replacements with non-polluting and lower noise electric or manual powered equipment.

Beverly HIlls was one of the first in 1978.  And, 400 other cities have followed:

But...I wonder if the real problem is simply a misunderstanding about nature.  

This fall, when leaves float down into your yard...what will you do?  

WIll you look at them as unsightly debris?

Or, will you look at them as the life-giving nutrients they are?

Here are some great reads to connect with Leaves this Fall Season:

The Book of Leaves: A Leaf-by-Leaf Guide to Six Hundred of the World's Great Trees [Hardcover] 

Leaves in Myth, Magic & Medicine [Bargain Price] [Hardcover]  A beloved book, written by an 87-year-old woman...her first...after 30 years of researching leaves.  

Children’s Books:

We're Going On A Leaf Hunt [Paperback]

Leaves [Hardcover]