Letters from the overwhelmed side: Can’t we talk about leafblowers?

March 29, 2019
By Marcy Shortuse

To the Editor:
I composed a letter to my island neighbors  recently regarding leafblowers, and how they were blowing that lovely afternoon.
So many questions and concerns about our little fragile island come to mind. I have closed all of my windows to drown out the noise, but then I am forced to turn my air conditioner on.
Why can’t we all meet and talk together about this sensitive issue … the laying down of leafblowers forever?
Can you imagine the plants, the soil, the insects and birds being assaulted by the noise and tremendous force of these leafblowers? Can you imagine operating one and what it must be like?
Let’s think about our air quality and the atmosphere of our little paradise. Try to get beyond the added cost of a rake or broom. We are all homeowners on this island, and we are very fortunate. If we all live on this island and pay taxes, we should care enough to think about these problems … problems that come from constant dust storms and soil erosion from these loud machines.
It would be wonderful if people would just rethink their lawn service contract and decide if they’re ready to make this island more environmentally sound … with much less sound for us to deal with every day as well.
Gentle men and women of this island, have we had enough of this incessant noise and air pollution? We are destroying so many things that God created for our enjoyment. If you are thankful for nature’s bounty that includes birds singing in the trees and the butterflies that float through the air, please take a moment to think about what we are doing to their home.
Many of you will be leaving our island soon to spend time in cooler climates. Please don’t forget all of us who live here year-round, and who have to listen to the incessant, droning noise of leafblowers. It’s very nice to have your property look perfect even when you’re not living there, but not at the expense of our eardrums. Once, sometimes twice a week, the landscapers at many properties are aimlessly walking around the shell pads around trees and the roadways, blowing nonexistent leaves and a lot of dust into the air for sometimes 20 minutes at a time.
Leafblower-free yard signs are available for $10 and are ready to be put into the ground. Just email me at jane.n.shanley@gmail.com.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
Jane Shanley
Boca Grande