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Lawn Mowing Season

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified Jun 20, 2012 01:01 AM
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by Alex Wilson last modified Jun 19, 2012

Author name:  Alex Wilson Blog Category:  Energy Solutions My quest for a greener lawn mowing option. Black & Deckers 36-volt battery-powered electric mower. Click on image to enlarge. Photo Credit: Black & Decker I’ve never liked mowing the lawn. And it’s not just because of the gasoline used in the process. Lawns carry huge environmental burdens in this country, and we have a lot of them. I profiled some of these impacts once for an article in Environmental Building News back in the 1990s. From the information I found then, the total lawn area in the U.S. is 50,000 square miles—an area larger than the state of New York. We spend $25 billion per year on their care. We dump 3-6 million tons of fertilizer on them, and the runoff from those lawns is one of the largest pollution problems in our lakes and rivers. We apply something like 34,000 tons of herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, and other pesticides on them, accounting for a whopping 14% of total pesticide use in the U.S.—and 34% of insecticide use. On a per-acre basis, this amounts to about two pounds per year. And while not as big an issue in Vermont as elsewhere, we use a huge amount of water maintaining our emerald-green oases. “Kentucky” bluegrass is not from Kentucky (it’s from Europe), and it takes about 40 inches of water per year to keep it that lush green we’ve come to know and love. In much of the country, irrigating lawns is the single largest consumptive use of water (we use a lot more water in cooling thermo-electric power plants, but most of that water is only “borrowed” for power generation, then returned to the source), often accounting for 40-60% of total municipal water use. read more






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