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Pollution, Environmental Destruction, & the Poisoning of Our Suburbs

You can use a rake and broom instead of polluting. You can use a rake and broom instead of polluting.

I live in the suburbs. Everything looks green, tidy and pleasant. But I’m surrounded by death, pollution, environmental destruction, climate change, poisons, and toxic waste. Here’s why…

A typical Saturday morning here in the burbs.  A few birds are singing; suddenly they’re drowned out by my next-door neighbor. The one who pours fertilizer on his lawn so it’s dark green and grows two inches per day. Fertilizer that runs off his lawn, into the storm drains and aquifers. Fertilizer that kills creeks and rivers.

All that fertilizer means lots of mowing. He curses and moans as he fires up the mower. Says he hates mowing. But he does it twice a week spring to fall. Compulsively, as if it’s a commandment from some god.

Every hour he mows creates as much air pollution as a car being driven 350 miles. During the course of one year, his mower spews hundreds of pounds of carbon and other climate change pollution into my air.

In the course of an average mower’s longevity, it creates as much pollution as 43 cars each being driven 12,000 miles.

I rush to close my windows and put earplugs in my ears. Not only does his mower create clouds of air pollution that makes my house smell like an gasoline byproducts, it also creates 110 decibels of raw, vicious noise.

There’s no way for me to even have a conversation inside my own house when he’s cutting his lawn. And of course say goodbye to sleeping in on Saturday morning.

He bags the grass, wrapping it in non-biodegradable plastic bags that fill up the local landfill. Composting is too much work for him.

Everything looks green, tidy and pleasant. But ...Everything looks green, tidy and pleasant. But ...After he’s done mowing the lawn so it looks like a golf course, he sprays various types of pesticides and herbicides. The poison vapors drift into my yard, killing bees, shriveling my flowers and vegetable plants, making it impossible for me to enjoy my own yard.

Now comes the leaf blower and weed whacker. Indulgent, unnecessary devices that put out even more pollution per hour than a mower. Again, the noise is deafening.

And just about the time he finishes, around 10 am, the other guys are firing up their gasoline-powered devices, filling sprayers with poisons, turning my neighborhood into a toxic dead zone awash in air pollution, fertilizer runoff, pesticide vapors, and machine noise.

Pollution is humanity’s biggest export.

There goes my Saturday, and sometimes it continues into Sunday, when the heavier equipment- chainsaws, riding mowers- comes out.

Yes, I live in the lovely American suburbs. Land of “the American dream.” Trapped by pollution, pesticides, herbicides, fertilizer runoffs, gasoline smells, and the death of nature. The birds and bees are leaving, dying. I too will soon leave, so I won’t die too.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 09 November 2010 18:34

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