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Lawn Mower Races: Local Fun or Environmental Folly?

This new age electric mower is in the concept stage.

This new age electric mower is in the concept stage.

Americans love this kind of story out of New Hampshire about the local lawnmower races pitting the cops against the firefighters. There’s a lot to like, here. You read about a teenage girl aspiring to “take the trophy” from her father and about the “crowds of people” expected to gather together in a neighborly display. Finding something — anything — to do with my teenager these days is a challenge, and I bet he’d actually like to race me on a lawnmower.

The thing is, though, I don’t own one . . . at least not a gasoline model. The only mowers you’ll find in our garden shed are of the manual variety. The “reel” mowers are powered by humans, but not too sexy to race. My Black and Decker electric mowers do have battery powered engines to turn the rotary blades, but also require human power for the pushing — something my son finds denigrating in our neighborhood that is overrun by the fumes of fossil fuel-powered ride-ons every Saturday or Sunday. “You’re such a dork, Dad,” is a fairly familiar refrain around my house.

But with oil spewing into the Gulf and two wars being fought over oil-rich lands, shouldn’t we all be looking for ways to REDUCE fuel consumption rather than celebrating the shiniest, fastest ride-on mowers in town?

Here’s a race I’d like to see. This mower: against this one: That would be fun.

About The Author

Paul Tukey

An international leader of the green movement, Mr. Tukey is a journalist, author, filmmaker, TV host, activist and award-winning public speaker, who is widely recognized as North America's leading advocate for landscape sustainability and toxic pesticide reduction strategies.

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