Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Leaf Blowers

Well, the first leaves are falling and the "yard crews" are out around the subdivisions and malls.  This reminded me of a post I wrote for my older VBGarden blog.  My feelings haven't changed, so I just swiped it from that blog and I'm editing and reposting it here for the beginning of fall.  With all of the pre-election posturing (not action, mind you, just loud rhetoric) about the unsolved environmental problems here in Virginia, the imagery still fits.

"Today I drove past a number of landscaping crews busily cleaning up business "yards" and subdivision entrances in the aftermath of a quick series of storms that brought down the last of the fall leaves. The workers were armed with safety goggles and leaf blowers, which they aimed ferociously, like weapons, at the leaves and litter, blasting them to new locations off the property they were hired to protect.

It occurs to me that the irresponsible attitudes that have weakened our society can be related to the effect of leaf blowers. (Yes, I know it sounds mad, but hear me out.)

Do you remember, years ago, how each business owner would be up and out early in the morning, diligently tidying the entrance to his/her shop, sweeping and raking the area and gathering the debris into the trash bin or compost? People swept and cleaned the sidewalks in front of their homes. Leaves were gathered and composted or burned (and I still guiltily miss that wonderful fall smell). Each resident took responsibility not only for cleaning their personal area but also for making sure the material gathered was disposed of properly. Compare this to our manic, modern work crews and residents with their noisy blowers. Sure the leaves and trash get rapidly moved out of the way, from the sidewalk or parking lot into the street - or neighboring property - but is it actually taken care of? No, it's just loudly shuffled far enough to become someone else's problem.
Too many of us, individuals and government representatives alike, have been behaving exactly like those landscape crews. Problems are never really solved, no one takes responsibility for seeing that a situation was truly "cleaned up and put away" - problems are just quickly shuffled off - with a lot of blustering! - for someone else to deal with... again.

Now when I hear someone say that they took a problem in to be solved and the representative or responsible person "just blew it off", I know exactly what image fits."

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't agree more! No one is held responsible for anything anymore! The "leaf blower crews" don't even have the foresight to see, or maybe they just don't care, that when they blow the leaves and clippings into the street and a car goes by, it blows them right back to where they were! Some city ordinances prohibit contractors from blowing leaves and clippings into the streets, but no one enforces it. Then they get washed into the storm drain and we have to pay to have the drains flushed. What happened to caring?


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