AUTUMN is my favourite time of year. With it comes the bright fiery tones of falling leaves, pumpkin-spiced lattes and an opportunity to reintroduce my favourite accessory — scarves.
However, while those autumnal leaves look beautiful as they fall from the boughs of trees, they don’t look quite as nice when they turn into the brown slimy, mulch in which I have ruined many pairs of shoes.
Call in the leaf blowers! In a time when we are constantly measuring our CO2 to finance ratio, what could be more useful than a gas guzzling noise machine, which only performs that which Mother Nature can do anyway, or will reverse the efforts minutes after ceasing. Currently, there is a man outside wasting time and University money doing just that. A boondoggle if ever I’ve seen one, and I feel I must add my voice to the dispute against these blasted things.
Luckily for the aforementioned employer, he has been issued with a pair of soundproofing earmuffs, whereas I, sat at my desk, struggling to work on my dissertation, have to put up with the racket that the leaf blower is causing. At this rate, I will have to make my way over to the Library to get any peace and quiet, but I am determined to sit this one out. It is my right as a student to stay in my pyjamas all day… provided I get some work done.
But coming back to the main point I’d like to make, leaf blowers are about as useful as a fifth wheel. Their only purpose seems to be blowing leaves from one end of a park to another. If they were used to help deposit leaves into a container of some sorts (preferably a compost bin), I could go along with that, but in my green mind, I just cannot see the advantages of them over a rake or a broom. Far cheaper and environmentally friendly, the rake appears to have lost favour among gardeners, so why are we not using them?
It would appear that marketing people have been very successful at exploiting our gullibility, but I think it’s time to return to methods that are more basic. Although an argument can be raised for the cost of speed and efficiency (there is the understanding that the use of rakes takes more time), I have found plenty of evidence to the contrary on YouTube. Nevertheless, surely any money spent on time will come from what we currently spend on petrol.
The University of London and Camden Council have already seen fit to ban leaf blowers, preferring the quiet and lower polluting rake or broom.
The University of Reading is “a leading environmental university” with plans to reduce their “carbon footprint by 35% by 2015/16”. One-step towards this goal would be to follow suit and ban the use of leaf blowers on campus and at the halls of residence.
Mother Nature appears to agree with me: just this second, she has blown all of the fallen leaves, including a few more from the trees, in the opposite direction of the leaf blower’s intended destination. It is with grim satisfaction that I watch this, though the leaf blower has lost today’s battle, he will undoubtedly return tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day until we do something about it; not just by the University, but also by councils nationwide.