Mow green to lower emissions and noise

It’s hard to believe but it’s in the middle of summer already. How did that happen? And unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, you may have noticed some extreme weather events happening around the world along with an extreme (and at times horrifying) wildfire season in Canada and the US. 

Earlier this year, staff presented a climate projections report based on available science to City Council describing how climate change will impact the Burlington community. Essentially, we can expect warmer, wetter and wilder – and in the words of one of our councillors, “it’s scary”.

In order to be prepared and plan for these changes, the City is embarking on Climate Resilient Burlington: A Plan to Adapt to Our Warmer, Wetter and Wilder Weather by assessing our risks and vulnerabilities. Stay tuned as we share more information about this project over the next year.

In the meantime, what can we do to reduce our use of fossil fuels to minimize our own contribution to greenhouse gas emissions? 

If you have a yard, this may also come with a need to cut grass and use a trimmer to maintain your lawn. Electric equipment for lawn maintenance has come a long way, particularly cordless equipment with interchangeable batteries. My husband purchased a cordless electric trimmer which he loves because of how quiet it is compared to gas and how well it works. He was hoping for a sale on electric mowers of the same brand, so he could swap batteries if necessary while charging, but our local hardware store sold out of their inventory before they could even have an end of season sale. Not a bad problem to have to see that people are making the switch (on that note, check out BurlingtonGreen’s webpage on ‘Make the Switch’). 

There are many benefits to using electric landscape equipment.

  1. Less noise: One complaint about living in an urban area is often the noise. Just the other day I was sitting in my backyard enjoying a beautiful afternoon with my in-laws when my neighbour decided to cut her grass with her gas lawn mower. Let’s just say the conversation came to an end while she was cutting her grass. Electric equipment is so much quieter as my husband has pleasantly discovered.
  2. Less pollution: Small engines are a significant source of air pollution contributing carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides.
  3. Convenience: There is no need to drive to the gas station to fill up a gas can and risk a spill.

Check out the electric options for your lawn. Hopefully you’ll be just as pleasantly surprised as my husband on how well they work. And yes, depending on your lawn, there are other actions you can take to minimize your impact on climate change – use a manual mower if your lawn is small, and consider reducing the size of your lawn by using alternative groundcovers and plants which attract pollinators. 

And if you are making the switch to electric equipment, please decommission your old equipment instead of selling so we can retire the emissions. 

Take Action Burlington! We can all take steps to reduce our personal greenhouse gas emissions. Collectively we can make a difference.

This post was submitted by Lynn, City of Burlington staff

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