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Clean, quiet lawn care is within our power | Leaf Probably

I also describe the advances being made in the city. For example, Sustainable Wellesley has begun a dialogue with Department of Public Works officials, urging them to change the way the city maintains its community lands and to follow the example of other communities across the country who are contributing , providing impetus for cleaner and quieter maintenance Practices Methods Exercises.

What started as a small group addressing the public health and environmental impacts of gas-powered land maintenance is now evolving into a national movement, gained momentum by the pandemic as more people work from home and go to work Go to school. Momentum is building.

In mid-December, I attended a Zoom meeting sponsored by Boston University and Quiet Communities Inc. (QCi), a Massachusetts-based nonprofit organization of which I am a board member. The event was called The Quiet Transition: Leading by Example in Clean, Quiet Land Care. The conversation included community, state and county officials from Alabama, Massachusetts, New York and California who are concerned about the harmful effects of gas-fired appliances and lead by example in implementing and advocating more sustainable solutions.

Here’s what I’ve learned: Sustainable change can be achieved with structured, well thought-out programs. Positive solutions alone or paired with sensible regulations can have a lasting effect. Municipalities make this possible by starting their municipal operations. The momentum is now shifting to the state level.

Consider the state of California, where lawmakers recently voted to phase out sales of new gas-powered lawn and garden equipment by 2024 and to incentivize commercial businesses to purchase zero-emission electrical equipment. In this case, it was about air pollution.

This type of legislation has far-reaching implications, notes Jamie Banks, environmental scientist and founder of QCi. “What are the benefits of the silent transition? The health of workers and the public will benefit from the reduction in toxic, carcinogenic emissions and noise,” says Banks. “The planet benefits from the reduction in carbon emissions. Ecosystems and the environment benefit from a reduction in fuel spills, toxic waste and damage to soil health. Communities, businesses and other organizations benefit from any long-term savings that can accrue, and the economy benefits from a cleaner, greener workforce. It is the triple bottom line of people, planet and profits.”

But there are challenges.

Some municipalities and businesses are wary of the price tag for migrating to new equipment and are unsure whether battery-powered equipment is viable in the field or up to the task. Organizations like the American Green Zone Alliance provide support and guidance, and state and local governments are considering incentives and funding.

In Massachusetts, State Representative Michelle Ciccolo of Lexington has proposed legislation creating a fund to help small businesses make the switch to electrical equipment.

The move would help Lexington, where residents voted at the November city meeting to limit the use of gas-powered leaf blowers and eventually ban their use citywide. At the local elections in March, voters will be asked whether they agree to the measure.

But residents don’t have to wait to start making progress on their own lots. January and February are good months to step back and think about changes. Here are some steps to consider:

Observe other properties around town and reset your expectations of a manicured landscape.

  • Leaves, berries, and flower seed pods left in garden beds provide food for birds and wintering grounds for beneficial insects, and can look prettily adorned in the snow. A scatter of fall foliage left in place provides cover and nutrients to the soil.
  • When designing a border or garden, consider native plants that attract pollinators and birds and try a completely chemical-free approach.
  • Could a push mower or rake work on smaller areas? keep an open mind
  • If you rent your home, discuss landscaping practices with your landlord.
  • How does your company’s office space manage property maintenance, your child’s school, your city? Ask and if you are not satisfied with the status quo, inform about alternatives.

If you work with a landscaping company, this is a great time of year to get in touch. Let the manager know that it’s important to you to transition to a calmer, healthier approach. Consider purchasing a better rake or your own electric leaf blower or electric mower for your use or for a crew to use on your property.

Talk to your friends and neighbors. Some may have to warm to the idea of ​​making changes, others, like I once did, may not have realized that they have options, and some may be glad you asked and want to work with you to make it happen join the silent movement to educate others in the neighborhood and beyond.

Tricia Glass is an author, director of Sustainable Wellesley, and a board member of the nonprofit organization Quiet Communities, Inc.

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