Sunday, June 9, 2013

Energy and the lawn

So I wrote Senator Coburn,

Dr. Coburn,

A friend gave me a two-hand scythe some years back. To my regret, I haven't found anyone that remembers using one for field harvest, that can show me how to make the silly thing work, easily, cleanly, all day long. Go figure, living four miles from the Conoco home refinery. I did find a scythe stone on, and it helps a lot, keeping the blade sharp without running for the shop, the vise, and the grinding wheel.

 But I was thinking. . .

1) Carbon cycles. Harvesting hay preserves the summer's carbon for use in winter. That boosts the CO2 and other airborne carbons, as well as build fertilizers for the coming growing seasons, at a time that a blanket of snow would seem to suppress the carbon, delaying spring.  If we want to boost CO2 usage, and growing cycles, what would happen if we concentrated industrial use of fossil fuels to mid and late winter? The intent would be to shift consumption to support boosting an abundant springtime, and use natural growing cycles to make best use of all that carbon.

2) Lawn care.It seems wasteful of resources to build and industry that blankets Ponca City, and other places, with scores of trucks pulling trailers filled with high dollar, modern technology lawn mowers and trimmers. Just as it is ignorant to think that building new, battery powered cars will take less energy than maintaining an existing vehicle, with increasing maintenance requirements, for years and years -- building new riding lawn mowers cannot make sense, in an energy sense.

Where in the past people could plan a lawn with the intent of pushing an unpowered mower -- we could still do that. Reel type mowers work as well today as before. And having a few lawns to mow wouldn't hurt some young people, or many others. Besides, keeping lawn and home care in the neighborhood increases person-to-person contact and builds communities as well as the character of young people.

3) Hand-gathered harvest. Enhance the USDA Organic label program. Provide labels for crops and products cultivated and gathered with tools and equipment that use no fossil fuels. Permit use of horse or oxen drawn wagons and equipment, just nothing with a battery, gasoline, diesel, propane, or other fossil fueled device.

Providing, now, for challenges in supply lines and fuel price and access might get more people thinking about alternatives.

We should recognize that what worked for our ancestors before the glut of affluence from burning fossil fuels, still works today. But we have to rediscover the techniques and tools, and recover from regulations that presume continued growth and universal affluence.

Because, 4) we could support home owners that mow their lawn but once a month, pull weeds by hand instead of chemical pesticides, etc.

Thank you,

1 comment:

  1. I've been networking with a guy that's been trying to get a technology off the ground that uses the grass from mowing to make energy pellets that fully fuel the mower... that would cut down significantly on gas consumption but wouldn't really fix the overall problem...