New York Times opinion writer calls leaf blowers ‘death’ machines

The New York Times highlighted the latest enemy causing climate change: leaf blowers.

On Tuesday, the Gray Lady published an opinion piece titled “The First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All the Leaf Blowers” by contributing opinion writer Margaret Renkl. Renkl describes her utter disdain for leaf blowers, referring to them as “mechanical locusts.”

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“They come in a deafening, surging swarm, blasting from lawn to lawn and filling the air with the stench of gasoline and death. I would call them mechanical locusts, descending upon every patch of gold in the neighborhood the way the grasshoppers of old would arrive, in numbers so great they darkened the sky, to lay bare a cornfield in minutes. But that comparison is unfair to locusts,” Renkl wrote.

A worker wearing a protective mask uses a blower to remove leafs from a walkway during sunny autumn weather near Stallikon, Switzerland October 27, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

A worker wearing a protective mask uses a blower to remove leafs from a walkway during sunny autumn weather near Stallikon, Switzerland October 27, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
(Reuters)

However, Renkl insisted that her hatred for leaf blowers primarily comes from their pollution.

“But the gasoline-powered leaf blower exists in a category of environmental hell all its own, spewing pollutants — carbon monoxide, smog-forming nitrous oxides, carcinogenic hydrocarbons — into the atmosphere at a literally breathtaking rate,” she wrote.

She cited several studies that claimed that gasoline-powered leaf blowers were harmful polluters to the environment. Electric-powered leaf blowers, though, she still claimed as awful for their damage to “biodiversity.”

“But the trouble with leaf blowers isn’t only their pollution-spewing health consequences. It’s also the damage they do to biodiversity. Fallen leaves provide protection for overwintering insects and the egg sacs of others. Leaf blowers, whether electric or gasoline-powered, dislodge the leaf litter that is so essential to insect life — the insect life that in turn is so essential to birds and other wildlife,” Renkl explained.

A gardener uses a leaf blower to clean a park in Vienna November 14, 2014. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader (AUSTRIA - Tags: ENVIRONMENT)

A gardener uses a leaf blower to clean a park in Vienna November 14, 2014. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader (AUSTRIA – Tags: ENVIRONMENT)
(Reuters)

She finally concluded that leaves are simply “so much prettier” than a green lawn produced by stench-spewing machinery.

“And the leaves that fall across every inch of this wild half acre of suburbia are so much prettier than any unnaturally green lawn beaten into submission by stench-spewing machinery. All those golden sugar maple leaves hold onto the light, and for weeks it looks as though our whole yard is on fire, even in the rain. Who could be troubled by a blanket made of light? A blanket keeping all the little creatures safe from the cold?” Renkl finished.

California Governor Gavin Newsom makes an appearance after the polls close on the recall election, at the California Democratic Party headquarters in Sacramento, California, U.S., September 14, 2021. REUTERS/Fred Greaves

California Governor Gavin Newsom makes an appearance after the polls close on the recall election, at the California Democratic Party headquarters in Sacramento, California, U.S., September 14, 2021. REUTERS/Fred Greaves
(Reuters)

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Earlier this month, Democrat California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill that would ban the selling of new gas-powered equipment including leaf blowers. While Renkl cited more than 100 cities that have similarly banned or restricted gas-powered leaf blowers, California is the only state that has mandated it.

The ban on leaf blowers was also one of many laws enacted by Newsom that is expected to go into effect in 2024.

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