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3 Reasons Why You Need To Stop Raking Leaves
It’s been 1 year since the National Wildlife Federation published an article that would free up schedules nationwide: the NWF told us to stop raking leaves. Now that it’s Fall, the article is trending and liberating the masses from another chore, saving time and money for those who pay for leaf-raking services. Honestly, jumping in piles of leaves is more beneficial to the environment than raking them up and bagging them.
Leaf-raking is a harmful practice that humans mostly participate in for vanity reasons. Wet leaves can be slippery, so it’s very plausible to remove them from entrances. Manicuring your lawn is not as environmentally sound as people might assume. It’s not like mowing your lawn is akin to cutting your hair - our hair gets healthier when we get rid of split ends. Letting the leaves be benefits the environment.
1.) Leaves in plastic bags are a waste of space… Literally.
Raking increases the amount of lawn waste that piles onto our dumps each year. The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that “leaves and other yard debris account for more than 13 percent of the nation’s solid waste—a whopping 33 million tons a year.” Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s harmless; the leaves we rake are partially responsible for creating the greenhouse gases like methane. These are the same pollutants that are turning the ozone layer into swiss cheese as we speak and dysregulating our climate. Putting lawn debris into plastic bags only prolongs the damage done by making the leaves more difficult to break down and creating danger with a surplus of plastic bags, a known threat to the well-being of animals and plants alike. Plastic bags are responsible for killing over 100,000 animals each year; don’t risk increasing that number by raking and bagging leaves!
2.) Leaves: food for thought and everything else!
When you rake leaves, you hurt the local ecosystem by diminishing the food supply. In the NWF blog post, David Mizejewski explains how “the leaf layer is its own mini ecosystem.” Removing the plant life in your lawn hurts animals who rely on it for food and inhabitancy. A diverse array of birds, amphibians, reptiles, invertebrates, and mammals rely on leaf litter for food and shelter. Frogs, turtles, mice, and salamanders also depend on leaf litter; insects like moths and butterflies lay their eggs in leaf material. As pupae, they spend winters in between layers of the leaf foliage in order to hatch when springtime comes. Even squirrels and chipmunks rely on leaf foliage for a home and a meal! Worms, millipedes, and centipedes also thrive on leaves and the nutrients they bring to the soil by breaking them up into smaller, more digestible pieces. Not only do you hurt these insects by raking them up, but you hurt the birds and animals who eat them. In other words, leaf-raking contributes to the death of insects and animals alike. The damp, moist, leafy environment would be perfect if humans weren’t so intent on destroying it!
3.) Leaves of fall bring flowers for all!
Leaves are like a spa treatment for your lawn. Fallen leaves act as a natural fertilizer that benefits the soil and later plant growth. Letting your leaves be will reduce the amount of weeds that grow in your yard while fertilizing the soil, making it rich in nutrients and perfect for green life to flourish there! The majority of lawns in North America have what are called “cool-season grasses,” which means that they are at their peak when temperatures grow cooler in Autumn. When active, “cool-season grasses need ample nutrients, sunlight, and water to facilitate necessary revitalization. Unfortunately, layers of dead leaves can hamper the process as they form a barrier that prevents sunlight and water from reaching the lawn.” If you’re worried about the leaves also providing a habitat for excess mold while killing the grass, go over them with a lawnmower when they're dry or learn how to transform those clunky leaves into a finer mulch. However, the National Wildlife Federation suggests letting leaves decompose because “the resulting leaf mold can be used as a soil amendment to improve structure and water retention.” There are species that do eat the mold in leaf litter, so any mold that is produced probably won’t go to waste!
So please save yourself some time, money, and lives. Don't rake the leaves.
#Real #GhiaVitale #Environmentalism #AnimalWelfare #LeaveTheLeaves #NationalWildlifeFederation
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