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EDITORIAL: Did you do No Mow May?


ONLY 6 DAYS TO GO and we can pull on the gloves and the hat and the sunscreen and pour the gasoline and, Yes! Mow the lawn again. Watch as the dandelions give way to disciplined corridors of greenery. We should congratulate ourselves that we have improved the economy and made the planet greener by participating in a month-long observance called No Mow May. You get it… right?

We have a small front lawn and when we bought our home I got out the gas mower. I knew the flap on the side was missing but it seemed to work alright. The mower sprayed whatever was beneath the blades. That worked until I reached the driveway of the guy who lived next door. Twigs and gravel and a little grass too were spraying from my mower into his car. A convertible. The roof was down.

He was understanding but we never got to know each other well.

My next mower was a push type. No motor. Good exercise. It was sleek and green and light weight. My father had one that worked the same way when I was a kid except that my father’s mower had thick steel wheels and weighed a ton. It was a second hand purchase left over from the Depression. It still carried the emblem “National Recovery Administration.” I hated my father’s mower. It was tough to cut the grass even when pushing downhill. I never warmed up to push mowers.

The current mower is battery powered. A fully charged battery gets it through mowing front and back yards. It doesn’t idle and waste battery life. You turn it off. We’ve had the same battery for four years. Full disclosure: I don’t mow very often unless company’s coming. A friend mows the lawn.

I was hoping that people along my street would get behind No Mow May because it doesn’t cost anything to not mow your lawn. But I can imagine landlords and tenants might not want their properties to look disheveled. The army of lawn care businesses can’t be thrilled at the thought of losing customers either.

The reason to give your lawn a break in May is because that’s the time when many native plant species pollinate. And mowing less means less air pollution. The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that gasoline mowers emit 5% of our country’s air pollution.

I think we were one of two or three homes on our block whose lawns looked like they were on board with No Mow May. Is it a failure? No. It’s a benchmark. It will tell us the number of new participants. We don’t have much time to prepare ourselves and others to the changes we call climate change next year and beyond.

Maybe you have a postage stamp lawn. How can that make any difference? How about organizing with other small-lawn citizens. It’s not just about gasoline mowers. It’s about slowing down a warming World. Plant some wildflowers that don’t need to be mowed and you’re already taking a step in the right direction.

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