Mowing your lawn for half an hour puts out more emissions than driving a late model car 1000 miles! Now imagine pushing that late model car from here to say Montréal and back and breathing in 1000 miles worth of fumes! Use of lawn pesticides have quadrupled since Rachel Carlson wrote Silent Spring. Use of pesticides in suburbs like Westchester is triple that used in conventional farming. What to do?
Luckily we live in the land of alternatives so cleaning up the yard is easy..
Try an electric mulching mower, Black and Decker offer corded and no cord models. Check out Consumer Reports to learn which model suits you best.
Personal Note: It is good to mow more often when using an electric mower the torque is different and sometimes emowers struggle with heavy grass. Also, mulching mowers turn grass clippings into free fertilizer. See how Grasscycling works here.
If you are wedded to your gas lawn mower, loving the taste of metal and soot mixed with fresh mowed grass, you could reduce the number of times you mow each summer. If you mow every other week instead of every week you reduce your exposure to particulate matter, SO2, and a host of combustion by products by 50 %. 3 weeks reduces your exposure by 67%. The lawn will be longer which creates better habitat and produces more oxygen.
Consider the possibility of a new esthetic. What would it be like if suburbanites furrowed their brows at short cropped lawns? Upstaters have begun lawn designing leaving selectively areas of grass go to seed. (Think Crop Circles) (Wait! Think Crop Circle Contest in Hastings on Hudson!)
Dig up that lawn. Start small, and plan big. Consider planting a section at a time. In the space that is now taken up by turf you could be harvesting tomatoes, peppers, sunflowers, and herbs. By creating a plan to systematically rescue your real estate from lawn you can put into place beginner garden plots that become the building blocks of your whole yard garden.