My Nextdoor.com posts about Leaf Blowers – Feel free to borrow and re-post

Nextdoor.com posts about leaf blowers by Albert Kaufman, Portland, Oregon

Please re-post these as is, credit or not. You, now 🙂 Thank you – let’s end the noise and air pollution of leaf blowers together.

  1. Pets and Leaf Blowers don’t mix: Note from a veterinarian

    In support of local efforts to ban gas leaf blowers and improve the quality of life in Sonoma and drastically reduce unnecessary harmful particulate matter in the air we breathe, I wanted to contribute a few statements and my opinion from the vantage point of a working small animal Veterinarian in Sonoma.It is very well known that particulate matter such as dust, dirt, and debris from the environment can pose a tremendous health challenge for dog, cats, and virtually all other mammals. While the normal changes in seasons, weather, rainfall, and pollen counts can all affect animals, extra particulate matter such as the debris aerosolized by leaf blowers pose a sharply increased risk for a variety of health problems for our domestic species. Among those most notably seen by me directly are:

    1. Significant flare up of cough, wheezing, and “respiratory” issues that encompass both infectious and inflammatory types of diseases.

    2. Eye problems of unknown origin–either in one or both eyes: owners report a clear discharge from the eyes or a “pink eye” situation with no previous known injury.

    3. Nasal discomfort: rubbing and snorting, as if to remove a “foreign body” that is not there, but rather a minute irritant that was substantial enough to bother the mucous membranes and irritate the pet’s nasal passages.

    4. Skin issues, including itching and scratching. These clinical signs are usually blamed completely on atopy or “allergy.” There is well documented, long standing scientific evidence that the irritation in the skin is secondary to allergens that the pet has inhaled.

    In addition, because pets are so sound sensitive, the use of leaf blowers can startle animals and cause outdoor pets to dart away from yards and potentially scare them into more dangerous situations such as traffic or other precarious situations.

    The blasting “on and off” sounds made with leaf blowers has a definite impact on small animals “fight or flight” response, causing an immediate release of cortisol into the bloodstream. Especially with cats, this taxes the body and leads to a surge in blood glucose almost instantly. In my opinion, this is a good example of the loud noise made by leaf blowers having a negative impact on animals all around our town—it is not an obvious impact, but once you realize what is going on inside their bodies on a cellular level, you realize that maybe the impact is farther reaching than we previously realized.

    The information and examples I have stated above are only a small sample of the deleterious effects that leaf blowers have on the small animals of Sonoma. I hope that my words will help get some conversations started that emphasize the importance of considering the quality of life for our pets in Sonoma as people make an effort to decide the fate of leaf blowers in our community.

    I would be happy to answer any other questions regarding this topic as my time and schedule permit.

    Sincerely,

    Vallard Forsythe, DVM ~ Broadway Veterinary Hospital

    735 Broadway Sonoma, CA 95476

    (707) 938-4546

  2. More and more brave towns are putting a stop to the tyranny of leaf blowers – Thanks for considering!

    Lately I’ve noticed less and less gas-powered leaf blowers being used in our community. Thank you to anyone who has personally made the change or had their landscaping service adjust either to electric blowers or to rakes and brooms. Thank you thank you thank you – the Earth thanks you – your neighbors thank you – the insects thank you. Thank you! https://qz.com/1729584/more-brave-towns-are-putting-a-stop-to-the-tyranny-of-leaf-blowers/ PS – the quietcleanpdx.org group is working on something with the City. I hope to have news about this very soon.

  3. The Devil’s Workshop by Kim Stafford, Oregon Poet Laureate, 2018-2020

    The Devil’s Workshop by Kim Stafford, Oregon Poet Laureate, 2018-2020 To torture your neighbors, some devil said, I give you my multi-tool that hits so many irritants at once: it deafens workers so their ears ring, it kicks up killing dust to sicken children, it spews more poisons to taint the sky in a mere half hour than a truck driving from the Texas plains to Alaska, and all to hustle leaves from yard to bin. Have you seen one such contraption chase a single leaf to pirouette in the blue plume that’s killing us? Have you gritted your teeth and hated the neighbor you recently enjoyed? Have you missed your meditative hour with rake and rain, as you walked your way from summer into fall? My friend, the bar is low. We can do better. —– Learn more about this issue @ http://quietcleanpdx.org

  4. If you’re still not convinced about the danger of leaf-blowers, please watch this video

    https://youtu.be/sRsYRen6nVE  Join our effort to ban these in Portland @ http://quietcleanpdx.org

  5. The Case Against Leaf Blowers by Singer

Why Do We Hurt Ourselves and Each Other?

Leave the Leaves by DKG GraphicsWhy?

I spend a lot of time thinking about how to make my neighborhood and world a better place to live.  Sometimes I’m focused on climate change issue – big ticket items like population growth or stopping clear-cutting. But much of the time I think about how to make change happen on the local level. After years of planting trees; talking to neighbors about planting more trees and trying to figure out how to encourage more quiet and dark (less noisy things like amped up motorcycles; leaf blowers; car alarms and better outdoor lighting) – I’m coming up against something that’s confusing me. Knowing that some of our actions are going to harm ourselves and others why do we keep doing them?  Here are a couple examples.

Gas-powered leaf blowers and other gas-powered lawn and garden tools. AGZA

The above graphic from AGZA (American Green Zone Alliance) really spells out the problems and solutions in this area.  Given that we’ve known for years how polluting and noisy gas-powered leaf blowers are (one example) why do we continue to allow their use? And this is often something we do to ourselves. The person using the device is probably facing the most harm. Whether it’s a worker who uses a leaf-blower repeatedly, or someone using one once a year – in either case – that person is putting themselves at a health risk that is unnecessary. Join a group working on this issue.

Here’s an example from the noise department. Using one’s car fob to lock a vehicle – setting off the horn. At first this probably seemed convenient – but I hope that most people agree that it’s actually a nuisance and should never have been allowed to be developed by car companies. Most cars and trucks can be adjusted to stop this from happening. Hearing a car horn go off is usually a warning sound which used to be used by vehicle operators to indicate to others that there is some kind of emergency happening. Though the sound of a car horn going off is a nuisance for people in the vicinity – the person most harmed by the noise is the person closest to the sound. I’ve written about the dangers of losing one’s hearing before, here. If you love hearing music, let’s say – figure out how to dismantle this system for yourself. And, again, the question I posed at the opening – why, if we know that a system is harming our health, do we let it persist?

From the lighting department. The City of Portland is often an early adopter. We chose to switch to LED street lights a few years back but in our excitement chose lights that are too bright and glaring.  These new lamps make everything much too bright and make walking around at night less pleasurable than it used to be. They also make driving more hazardous as the lights also blind drivers. Why, when we know there’s an issue with these lamps didn’t we stop installing them once it became obvious they were too bright? And why do we keep them installed when there are better choices. This is true for residential lighting, as well.  If you walk outside of your house at night and can’t look at the lighting of your house for more than 10 seconds then please consider replacing the bulbs and/or fixtures you have to improve the experience for your neighbors. And, for yourself – because who is likely going to be seeing the lighting on your house most?  You.

Living in a quieter and darker place is good for all living creatures. Keeping all of our tree canopy standing which provides our oxygen would also be something we could do to make our lives better.  I love to think about my neighborhood and how our lives can be improved. I believe by paying attention to the ways we’re hurting ourselves and others and making changes to our behavior we’ll create a healthier and happier environment. Who knows, maybe we’ll be able to see more stars one day.

For a better world, Albert Kaufman, 3.5.19

AGZA

Opening and Closing Doors

How we open and close doors matters

There is a door at my local yoga studio, Yoga Union, which leads to the outside world. People come in and out of the building all day long. Some open the door and then let it slam shut. Others, take a little more time and close the door with a little more care, thus creating less noise. This door also abuts tables where people are often eating. When care is not taken, the sound of the door slamming ricochets through from end to end of a long room – disturbing diners and people who work in the building. It would be nice if the door didn’t make such a noise, but I think it’s also something that people who practice yoga could become more aware of – how you enter or leave a building matters. If you’re not noticing the sound you’re making when you enter or leave a building, perhaps it’s time to take a little more time to pay attention?

This is also true at a dance studio I frequent @ the Sunnyside Community House. While dances are taking place often people come into or leave the room for various reasons and the door continuously slams. What’s going on when we’re not all taking more care about how our actions impact others’ experience? I think this insensitivity or carelessness is a sign of something larger. First, maybe we should all be taking more time when we come and go – holding doors open for one another – making our transitions more flowing rather than abrupt. It’s also a sign to me of taker culture – it says to me “I’m here to come in, take this class, and then leave”. Rather than showing that a person is looking to the whole coming and leaving as part of the experience – that even the opening and closing of doors matters.

So, if you’re reading this – maybe take a little more time when you open and close a door in the future. Heck, maybe take a lot of time with it 🙂 It seems like a zen thing to me 🙂 Care, patience, attention to detail, attention to one’s environment. I know we’re all losing a bit of this because of our shrinking attention spans and constant digital distractions, but it might be a place where we come back into balance.

Closing doors so they don’t slam.. Make sense? What do you think?

Neighborhood Notes – My Nextdoor Postings

Nextdoor.comMy Nextdoor.com postings

This post ➡️ was my first post on Nextdoor.com – a social media site like Facebook that’s organized by neighborhood. I believe Nextdoor.com is the best tool for local organizing that’s ever existed and I use it to make my neighborhood a better place.  Here’s the first article I wrote about Nextdoor.com.

  1. Phasing out Gas-powered leaf blowers. Here’s our website for this effort Quietcleanpdx.org.
  2. This post I turned into a blog post on key fob/noise reduction – here.  You will probably only be able to see the original Nextdoor.com post if you’re in my neighborhood of Richmond, Portland, Oregon, USA.Less beeping
  3. Traffic Calming on Hawthorne and Division – Still working on this 🙂
    Traffic Calming in Portland
  4. Do you have fruit/nut trees that you’d like to share the bounty from? – 10.16.18 – Currently, the action in Portland, Oregon is on a Facebook group that is over 1,200 members strong and growing by the day. The Portland Fruit Tree Project is also having harvest parties this Fall. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1405238632898417/   http://portlandfruit.org/

    http://portlandfruit.org/

  5. A Request: Please Drive Slower and More Carefully. This one is an ongoing issue. Luckily, we’re at 20mph on residential streets in Portland, now.
    Slow the Fuck Down

  6. Neighborhood places: Marino Adriatic Cafe on 41st and Division.
    Marino Adriatic Cafe
  7. Stop Receiving Yellow Pages @ https://www.yellowpagesoptout.com – Sadly, I can’t believe in October of 2018 yellow pages are still a thing, but they are. This is a good thread if you live in my neighborhood. It talks about how to get off of various lists – Red Plum; Oregonian Food Day, etc. There is also a FB group for this purpose.
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/196729400366257/

  8. Be Idle Freehttps://albertideation.com/be-idle-free
    Be Idle FreeHere’s more proof from the Washington Post – There is No need to idle in cold weather. 
  9. LED street Light improvements. Here’s how to get a shield on your nearby LED street light. Mention “light trespass” which is what is likely happening – light coming from the LED into your house/porch/eyes.  https://www.portlandoregon.gov/Transportation/article/672942 –
    Here’s a source for outdoor friendly lighting: http://darksky.org/fsa/fsa-products/

    Shield Request Process

  10. Where does the dirt go? Dumptrucks on Division – Here’s a dirty idea:
    Where does the dirt go?
  11. Get Rid of Your Lawn – I’ve been posting about this one a lot, of course, given my love of Farm My Yard 🙂
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonkblog/wp/2015/08/04/lawns-are-a-soul-crushing-timesuck-and-most-of-us-would-be-better-off-without-them/?tid=sm_fb

  12. Sign up for my monthly newsletter, The Eleven.
  13. Here’s what we can do to keep large trees standing in our neighborhoods – Reform Portland’s Tree Code To Preserve Large Healthy Trees

    http://audubonportland.org/news/reform-portland2019s-tree-code-to-preserve-large-healthy-trees Reform Portland’s Tree Code To Preserve Large Healthy Trees Now is the time to reform City rules to preserve more large healthy trees in every neighborhood! Thanks to the direct action of neighbors and financial donations from the community, the 150-year-old giant sequoias in SE Portland’s Eastmoreland neighborhood were saved from the developer’s chain saws. However, the rules that permitted their removal and the cutting of large healthy trees in neighborhoods across Portland are still in place. From Powellhurst-Gilbert to St. Johns, from SW Hills to Richmond, Cully, and beyond, Portland’s neighborhoods are experiencing extensive tree cutting driven by a highly lucrative real estate development market. (article cont’d here).

    This led to starting a Facebook group to organize on this topic. Join us, here. And our newsletter, here.

  14. Learning permaculture – a possible way for us to transform our urban landscape:

    https://www.geofflawtononline.com/videos/

  15. TURN OFF YOUR CAR HORN – LESS BEEPING = LESS NOISE – This led to the post below (and one other) and a new post on my website: Feel free to share widely! https://albertideation.com/turn-off-car-horn-less-beeping-less-noise

    Stop using your car fob to lock your car and beep

  16. Solutions to Barking Dogs & Other Noise Nuisances – Answer 🙂
    Get your Dog Trained

  17. How to Throw a Great Voting Party in a vote by mail state:
    Voting Party

  18. A neat article on Communities vs. Networks – to which do you belong?
  19. Want to try out a new game; meet some neighbors; move your body?
    Birthday Game
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