What do yards have to do with climate change?

When a homeowner goes out to mow their lawn on a Sunday afternoon, they probably aren’t thinking about climate change. Once the connection is pointed out, however, it isn’t hard to see.

All gas-powered equipment, including lawnmowers, contributes to climate change by consuming fossil fuels and producing greenhouse gases. While yard equipment may be small, it doesn’t have to meet the same standards as bigger equipment, like cars. This means that it often emits a surprising amount of carbon and other pollutants.

How lawnmowers stack up to cars depends on how the test is run, but as an example, this test concluded that a leafblower idling for eight minutes produces more carbon emissions than an SUV being driven 200 miles.

While drivers are typically insulated from their car’s emissions, a person using yard equipment is directly exposed to the emissions being produced. This page describes the contents of those emissions, and their effects on health and climate.

Lastly, while cars put greenhouse gases into the air, lawnmowers also reduce the ability of vegetation to reabsorb and sequester those gases. As described in this post, turf grass can’t provide enough air-cleaning services to offset the emissions produced by its own maintenance.

Greenhouse gas emissions and vegetation loss are the two main drivers of climate change. Turf grass contributes to both of them.

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What do yards have to do with climate change?

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