Every fall the leaves cascade down across my front and back lawns. I love the look of the various reds, browns, and orange leaves. The cooler days, fresh air and fall colors bring reflection on one of the best times of year in New England. However, I hate raking the leaves. Each year I try to wait until Thanksgiving before I rake. Usually there is a windstorm that blows most leaves off my lawn (and onto my neighbors) by the end of November. I would love to say this is motived by climate change, but it is mostly simply me being lazy.
When it comes to raking, there is a climate change concern I do take in mind. I don’t bag the leaves. Luckily there are some woods next to my backyard where I can dump the piles from the endless garbage bins that I fill. Avoiding the bagging is a simple way to avoid having the city having to pick up my yard waste. The trucks burn gasoline and create CO2 emissions.
This past week, I came across an article from the Mass Audubon society titled, “Leave the Leaves.” I was thrilled to learn that my laziness, was helping the environment. “The vast majority of butterfly and moth species don’t migrate but rather overwinter in leaf litter.” By not sending my leaves to the landfill, “our native pollinators, including bees, butterflies, beetles, and moths, who rely on leaf litter for food and shelter to help them survive winter.”
As I did some more research, the news kept getting better. In a USA Today story from last fall on raking leaves, they highlighted that “according to the EPA, 10.8 million tons of yard waste went to landfills, accounting for just under 8% of all waste in landfills.” Leaves take up space and they also can break down with other organic waste to create methane, a potent greenhouse gas which contributes to climate change.
I was glad to see some growing coverage from The Buzz from The Forest Preserve District of Will County, and the InsideHook, as this help in my leak raking negotiation at home. Lazy leaf-rakers unite!!