“It is long past overdue that these devices of a gas-wasting era were retired.” – Former Sonoma Councilmember Larry Barnett

And to that sentiment, let’s add water-wasting, climate-change contributing and noise-polluting gadgets to the discussion.

pressurewasher1 Want to live in an Oregon tree house?

Ahh…This is the good life. One is surrounded by stately Douglas fir trees, visited by grazing deer, chirping birds, scurrying squirrels and the occasional barn owl or Americana chicken.

Best of all, your neighborhood cares about the environment big time and subscribes to the perils of climate change. If you don’t believe me just check out the front-lawn poetry dispensers or the bumper-stickers on the backs of their non-renewable fuel-burning cars … yep even the Prius’.

Life is just swell in the urban forest that is until it is time for your neighbor to pressure-wash the sidewalk, incinerate tree limbs and branches, blow away the leaves etc. Did we discuss chainsaws? Lots and lots of chainsaws.

leafblower

And each of these (any combo of) water gulping, fossil-fuel burning, carbon-monoxide, nitrous oxide-hydrocarbon emitting, climate-change contributing gadgets could easily compete with Led Zeppelin for volume. The only difference is one can choose when to check out Robert Plant and Jimmy Page; you have no choice when it comes to 7 am Sunday morning pressure washings by your thoughtful neighbors.

Our sidewalks have never looked so good.

Soccer Moms, Mini-Vans, Garage Sales

Before moving north to Eugene, Oregon to pursue an advanced degree, the author of Almost DailyBrett lived in a tacky-tracky, known as “Bird Land” (e.g., Sandpiper Way), in Pleasanton, California.

P-Town is located just over the hill from the Silicon Valley. Some days the community is influenced by the fog from San Francisco and other days the heat from the San Joaquin Valley.

This particular “burb” is flat, which is perfect for bike riding, playing soccer at Pleasanton Middle School or PMS or driving the mini-van (not me) to the next garage sale.

My Monopoly ranch-style residence was surrounded on three sides by five other nearly identical ranch-style houses. Even though our ecosystem was suburban with an occasional raccoon or migrating ducks, it was pleasantly tranquil. In some respects, boringly quiet.

Moving to Eugene after 15 years of making horrific to-and-from commutes to the Silicon Valley, SF Peninsula or The City itself, I was welcoming a change in lifestyle. Would it be bucolic to reside in South Eugene with only the sounds of chirping birds in harmony with nature?

Beware of What You Want

… You may get it.

Second-growth forests are gorgeous. The trees absolutely dig Oregon’s intermittent sunshine (e.g., sun breaks) and about 36-inches of precipitation each year. For the most part, it is neither too cold nor too warm with the annual temps ranging between the 40s and 70s.

Oregonians may grouse about growing traffic, rising real estate prices and polluted campgrounds, but the vitriol about “Californicators” has largely subsided. These progressives are now rightly concerned about global warming and they have the pictures of sad polar bears to prove it.

Words are one thing. Actions are another. pressurewasher

Has anyone ever checked out the specs on a pressure washer, the very same noise polluter that is being used to clean-up a Eugene sidewalk (e.g., first-world crisis)? Let’s see these monsters can put out with incredible force anywhere from 2 gallons to 4.9 gallons of precious water per minute.

Wasn’t there some discussion earlier this year about a drought in much of the Western U.S.? And didn’t the leader of the free world and others point to climate change as the culprit?

Yet these eco-warriors are spraying down their sidewalks, wasting water, and using (gasp) gasoline-powered pressure washers. And where is the exhaust including hydrocarbons from these machines going? Hmmm … into the atmosphere.

Now one can argue that wood chippers, leaf blowers, weed whackers are electric-powered and therefore may be sensitive to one’s ear drums, but maybe not to the planet. The same argument cannot be made with gasoline powered pressure washers and chainsaws.

Yes, some work with trees does require a chain saw and/or a wood chipper, particularly after a major storm. Trees are beautiful, but they are temperamental to a certain extent always reminding us of their presence and urge to reproduce.

Earth Friendly, Low-Tech, Aerobic Devices

Having said that, trees and sidewalks do not require a pressure washer, a leaf-blower or a weed whacker. Has anyone ever heard of the “humble rake,” the “venerable broom” or a dust pan? These low-tech gadgets provide instantaneous aerobic exercise. They do not contribute to climate change. They are virtually silent, therefore not disturbing the deer, owls or neighbors.

rake And yet those who profess deep concern for the plight of Mother Earth are out there with their pressure washers or revving up their chain saws. There is a four-syllable word that begins with…ah…”hip” that immediately comes to mind.

California communities in Los Angeles, Monterey, Marin and Sonoma Counties have taken steps to ban at least leaf blowers or severely restrict their use. Seattle is considering the same.

Would the City of Eugene or Lane County do the same in order to protect the environment and head off climate change? Something tells Almost DailyBrett this ordinance would draw opposition from those who may not be as “green” as they think.

Almost DailyBrett note: The author of this august blog worked for those who used chainsaws to manage forests for four years. He will never be labeled as an “environmentalist.” He will accept the word, “consistent.”

http://sonomacountygazette.blogspot.com/2011/02/leaf-blower-rules-for-sonoma-county.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/how-bad-for-the-environment-are-gas-powered-leaf-blowers/2013/09/16/8eed7b9a-18bb-11e3-a628-7e6dde8f889d_story.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pressure_washer

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chainsaws

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