Open letter to neighbors

Given our climate crisis, it blows me away to see, hear and smell two stroke engines roaring around me. I have noticed a proliferation of what I call “mow-and-blow teams” that come through my neighborhood almost daily to exact their planned assault on the mostly dried up lawns that surround me. 

Surely these noise- and air-polluting yard tools should have been outlawed by now, I think to myself. No wonder bees and butterflies no longer coexist with us.

I could not hold it in this morning, when I noticed a large cloud of dust and fumes in our backyard engulfing our vegetable bed. Perhaps it’s because my son is home from college; I ran out to ask the unsuspecting fellow working next door not to blow debris in the direction of my backyard. He seemed not to hear or understand as I gesticulated to get his attention over the 100 decibel tool he was wielding. I let him know that my son and I suffer from severe allergies and that he should not blow dirt in our direction. He shrugged his shoulders and continued his task. 

We live in a small community in tiny houses on tiny lots. Most of us live in passively cooled homes. Our windows were left open at night and early morning to allow the lovely bay-freshened air during this heat spell to cool our house. Instead, a cloud of dust entered our kitchen, and my throat is still itchy as I write this. 

Do we need to resort to shutting windows and plugging in air purifiers instead? I appeal to you, dear neighbor, to stay at home with windows open while your hired hands do your dirty work. You might be compelled to make a different choice of yard care. 


Alexandra Odabachian