Remember Odysseus? On his journey home he had his men lash him to the mast so when he was lulled into complacency by the song of the Sirens his ship wouldn’t be directed off course.
Does today’s riding lawn mower have anything in common with the ancient Greek Sirens? Maybe so! Who, aside from professional lawn care folks, doesn’t think it’s kind of cool to ride around on these cute little mini-tractors? They’re relatively comfortable, require no physical exertion, and “work” gets done while riding - work that’s easier than any other lawn or garden chore I can think of.
If you’re like me, with a rider it’s easy to be lulled into deciding to trim up the yard more often than may actually be necessary, or to extend the mowed area. We love seeing those green expanses! And when riding is all it takes, it’s easy to keep lawns cleanly cropped. (Imagine how our priorities would change if we did all this trimming using old-fashioned reel push mowers.) These beautiful green expanses are what we’ve come to expect. But they exact a price.
- According to the EPA one gas powered lawn mower produces the same amount of volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides emissions air pollution in one hour of operation as 11 cars each being driven for one hour.
- Estimates vary, but it's likely Americans burn more than 600 million gallons of gasoline a year cutting grass.
- Somewhere between a third to half of residential water use is for lawn and garden irrigation; half is wasted by poor watering practices.
- Lakes, like those in Madison, continually struggle with excessive algae growth partially as a result of lawn fertilizer run-off.