Who has ever tried to adjust a personal...

AS ANYONE KNOWS

December 14, 1992

AS ANYONE KNOWS who has ever tried to adjust a personal lifestyle to the strictures of the enviro-politically correct, a change in one aspect of conduct can lead to a chain of changes and decisions that may wipe out any net eco-progress.

For example, does the bi-weekly drive to the recycling center eat up more precious fuel, generate more air pollution, create a quicker need for an energy-intensive replacement vehicle? The chain of such reasoning can go on and on, without a true expert bottom-line answer. The bottom-line analysis is ever shifting, as well.

Out in Southern California, the legions of professional gardeners for years offered their weekly customers a basic service that was dubbed "Mow, Blow and Go." The middle element involved the use of gasoline-powered blowers to clear away yard cuttings from walks and patios.

Hoping to cut down on smog and noise pollution, some communities a few years ago banned the use of non-electric blowers. They hoped the gardeners and homeowners would use hand rakes or brooms. But the time-conscious yard-tenders instead turned to water hoses to wash away the debris quickly and without added manual labor. It was dubbed "Mow, Flow and Go."

Then came the years of drought, and the communities were forced to ban such wasteful uses of water, either by new law or punitively higher water rates.

Did that result in more brooms or unkempt driveways? No, the gardeners simply returned to using the gas-driven blowers without penalty. The anti-blower ordinances may still be on the books but they are ignored in deference to the currently perceived greater need.

Soon, California will have a statewide law that limits polluting emissions of gasoline-powered garden machinery, including blowers and lawnmowers. Don't bet on a boom in brooms, however. Look instead for a rush on extra-long extension cords and a surge in electricity consumption. Until attention focuses on cutting power plant usage and emissions.

* * *

OUR FAVORITE vending machine has featured a snack food whose popularity should soon take a serious tumble.

French-fried pork rinds.

George Bush's fondness for pork rinds is well documented. But with his departure from the White House, pork rinds will probably become harder to find in vending machines.

Bill Clinton has a weakness for peanut butter and banana sandwiches, which may account for his Elvis-like girth. (That's the late-era, lardy, Las Vegas Elvis, not the lean, Hound Dog, postage-stamp Elvis.)

By the way, we couldn't help but note the irony of the expiration notice on the pork rind bags currently in our favorite vending machine: "Sell by Jan. 20." Then what? Plastic-wrapped peanut butter and banana sandwiches at 60 cents a pop?

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