Did you know the highest polluter in the USA of gasoline engine pollutants is the lawn mower? That and other lawn maintenance engines throw out more than all of the cars on the highways. This has a lot to do with the catalytic converter and such emission control items required for automobiles but not for lawn equipment.
The other part of this issue has to do with our attitudes towards our lawns. Most folks want to have a nice, flattish, green patch of short grass surrounding their house with shrubs, trees and flowers landscaped in for effect. This is typically what a nice yard is considered to look like, but most of the grasses and plants chosen are not native and require such intense maintenance that we are required to use motorized lawn equipment.
This morning I took out my edger to cut the crisp line between the walkway and grass. As I made the line clean along the walk, I thought what many different things could be planted instead of what was there. For instance, buffalo grass is native and only gets about 8 inches tall, eliminating the need to mow. Now, it would take a lot of effort, money and time to change out all this fescue and other invasives, lay down sod and keep it watered, and I don't have those resources. When I do change things in my yard though, or a plant dies, or there is some digging work that has to be
done, I can take those opportunities to make small changes towards something more natural. Over time the yard will transform into a healthy, native landscape that will require much less of my time, effort and fossil fuel.