Earth Day, which took place on Friday, is a time to consider that our lawns, which can give us so much pleasure, are killing us. The chemicals used to keep them lush are poisoning Long Island’s underground water source. The equipment used to keep them in shape pollutes the air with harmful fumes. The sound of leaf blowers is like living under an airliner flight path to Kennedy Airport. A lawn does not provide the habitat needed to attract birds, bees and other beneficial insects to keep the environment in a healthy balance.
I completely replaced my lawn, replacing most of the grass with myrtle, which stays green all year round and requires no watering, mowing or fertilizing. In spring, it displays hundreds of blue flowers for a month. I also have low maintenance rose bushes, several different flowering plants, a butterfly bush and a few tomato plants. All this gives a pleasant image that is also respectful of nature.
A bonus is that it requires less work and is cheaper to maintain. It’s not just a win-win, but a win-win-win-win.
Arthur Dobrin, Westbury
The author is Emeritus Professor of University Studies at Hofstra University and Emeritus Officer of the Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island.
Celebrate Earth Day for more than 24 hours
Let’s celebrate Earth Day all year round. Recycle newspapers, magazines, glass, plastics, old medicines, paints and cleaning products. Leave your car at home. For local trips in the neighborhood, walk or cycle. For longer journeys, consider many public transport alternatives already available, such as trains and buses. They consume less fuel and carry many more people than private cars.
Many employers allow employees to telecommute and work from home full-time or part-time. Others use alternative work schedules, which help staff avoid rush hour traffic jams. This saves travel time and can improve mileage per gallon. Join a pool of cars or vans to share travel costs.
Use a manual lawn mower rather than a gas or electric mower. Rake your leaves instead of using gas-powered leaf blowers. A cleaner environment starts with everyone.
Larry Penner, big neck
A place to leave our troubles behind
Like many of my fellow Long Islanders, I have felt beleaguered by bad news lately and surprised by the actions of those around me who have protested school mask mandates to protect their children and refused to stand up. get vaccinated to ensure their safety and that of others. Where were the polite, friendly people I knew? Could something bring us closer after all this disagreement?
I was happy and relieved to see that nature can still unite us. Massapequa’s Caroons Lake, at the southern end of the Nassau Greenbelt Trail, is a small oasis in a crowded suburban area. The fall foliage reflected in the lake attracts visitors who soak up the sights. And in the winter, when the cold weather lasts long enough, youngsters gather and a hockey game is sure to break out (despite “No Skating” signs warning risk takers). The lake is working its magic again. A bald eagle has built a nest on the small island in the center of the lake, and people stop by to point it out, to share telescopic views, and simply to enjoy the miracle of this majestic creature. The eagle has indeed landed, and we enjoy it together.
Kathleen Conway, Massapequa
My life is disrupted now in airplane sight
Recently, I’ve become obsessed with the endless conga line of low-flying planes over my house, which is 13 miles from Kennedy Airport’s Runway 22L. It’s not new, but the pandemic has had a side effect in that it has reduced the noise of these planes. Now that the pandemic seems to be fading (maybe?), planes are back in force. I became a meteorologist, calculating wind direction, wind speed and the distance between the offending plane and my home. If the winds are from the south, the planes make a huge turn over Long Island. The fact that planes are crossing the whole island at low altitude from south to north and then from north to south in a giant sweep should somehow be addressed vocally by those who live under the patterns and whose lives are seriously disrupted by the continuous din of noise.
Alan M. Richards, Roslyn