Leaf blowers must be the perfect gizmo for a lazy man

If I ever forget that I’m on the wrong planet (which is rare) the leaf blower is one of the things that brings me back to reality. They are so horribly annoying, loud and senseless – blowing leaves from one side of the garden to another so that Mother Nature can blow them back: what a waste of time. Whoever invented this irritating piece of machinery should be blown away. Whoever sells it should be robbed (daily) and whoever uses it should be whacked across the head with a rake.  

The leaf blower pollutes the air with noise and fumes. A gasoline-powered leaf blower generates as much tailpipe emissions in one hour as an automobile does over 350 miles. We use up precious raw materials to make a leaf blower, you need crude oil to run it and lazy humans to use it. The leaf blower is the perfect lazy man’s apparatus.  

Sacramento, California’s city code is spot on, “Every person in the city is entitled to live in an environment free from excessive, unnecessary or offensive noise levels.” Leaf blowers are routinely used less than 50 feet from pedestrians and neighbouring homes that may be occupied by home workers, retirees, day sleepers, children, the ill or disabled, and pets. 

Is it really worth manufacturing such an irritating, noise-making and pollution-causing gadget – just to blow leaves back and forth? There’s even an I Hate Leaf Blowers Facebook page. I knew eventually I’d find an excuse to become part of the social network.  

What’s wrong with a rake and broom? “Nothing,” says grandmother Diane Wolfberg of Los Angeles. In three tests involving gas-powered leaf blowers and battery-powered leaf blowers, Diane cleaned several areas using rakes or brooms faster than any of the battery-powered blowers and almost as fast as the gas-powered leaf blowers. Approximately 400 cities in the US have a partial or total ban on leaf blowers, including major California cities such as Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, Hermosa Beach, Carmel and Berkeley.  

And let’s consider the dangerous chemicals. Leaf blowers spread dust, dirt, animal droppings, herbicides and pesticides into the air, then into your nose, over your cars and into the windows of your home. Because of leaf blowers, we use more valuable water, because everyone in the neighbourhood has to wash their car after the leaves have zig-zagged pollution across the yards.  

Another reason why leaf blowers are bad for your health is because you only burn about 10 per cent of the calories using a leaf blower as compared to when you use a rake and broom. In the tropics, leaf blowers are an extra annoyance. Money-spending tourists sit on the beach listening to seabirds and waves lapping on the shore when here comes some lazy gardener blowing coconut fronds that won’t move. Airborne sand sticks to sun screened bodies and clouds up the clear water. By the time you complain to management your beach bag, iPod and cell phone are full of sand and seaweed.  

I believe people who enjoy working with leaf blowers think they’re some sort of Rambo. Why use a sissy rake and broom when you can strap some earsplitting contraption on your back, wear a mask and goggles and blow up ants and butterflies? Is it really worth using such a pollution-causing device just to move the leaves and debris out of your back yard and into the neighbours? There are better ways to irritate your neighbours. I send them the annoying people who sell Watchtower magazines.  


Barefoot Man is a tropical beachcomber, Caribbean roamer, Chasin’ dreams and fulfilling fantasies. You can contact Barefoot at [email protected] 

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