It doesn’t sound like much, but average global temperatures have risen 1℃ – or 1.8℉- since the latter half of the 19th Century. The industrial era not only transformed our economy, it set changes into motion that would significantly alter the environment. Is climate change irreversible? Is it too late to act? What can you do about it and what does it have to do with your lawn?

climate change

What Role Does the Sun Play in Climate Change?

While there are those who deny climate change or believe it to be part of nature’s cycle, the sun’s energy output has not increased over the last three decades. Instead, the big culprit behind temperature increases is greenhouse gases. These toxic, long-lived gases are throwing the energy budget out of balance.

To understand why, it’s important to know about radiative forcing. This is the difference between sunlight absorbed by the Earth and the energy radiated back into space. Since 1990, radiative forcing has increased by 41% – meaning the Earth is warming. The biggest factor is CO2, or carbon dioxide. It accounts for 82% of radiative forcing increase in the last decade.

The bottom line: greenhouse gas concentrations are rising, causing an increase in radiative forcing and, in turn, temperature.

Keeping Increases to 1.5℃

Scientists predict that if greenhouse gas concentrations continue to rise at their current rates, temperatures could increase by 3℃ – 5℃ by the end of the century. The speed is alarming: it is virtually impossible for ecosystems to adapt.

We are already seeing more frequent, severe, and longer-lasting heatwaves in many regions, as well as heavy precipitation and drought in others. Climate changes directly impact water supply, food stability, and human wellbeing (e.g. economic growth, security, etc.).

The goal, according to experts, is to keep temperature increases below 2℃, and as close to 1.5℃ as possible. To keep temperatures in line, we’d need to reach a state of “net zero” in terms of CO2 emissions by 2050.

climate changeCan We Do It?

Given these numbers and worst-case predictions, it can be difficult to feel positive about the future. It is important to remember, though, that everyone can play a role in improving the outlook for our environment. Attacking carbon emissions, the biggest factor in radiative forcing, is a strong first step – and it is one we can take in our own backyards.

There is a clear connection between climate change and our lawns: grass is the largest irrigated crop in the country, covering about 2% of the continental US’s total land area. Making a change here can have a major impact on the environment. Rethinking lawn/grounds care not only reduces water and fuel usage (and waste), it can significantly decrease carbon emissions.

Conventional gas-powered lawn equipment is notoriously inefficient and noxious. Operating one 24HP ZTR commercial mower for an hour produces as much carbon emissions as 88 cars traveling at 55mph. According to the EPA, 16 – 41 billion pounds of CO2 are emitted each year from lawn mowers.

Change: One Lawn at Time

The answer is simple: clean, green electric mowers eliminate emissions. Now, gas-powered mowers are not disappearing, by any means, but the more businesses and individuals make the switch, the bigger the impact.

Another plus is that the average lawn can capture carbon more effectively than untouched ecosystems. So, by maintaining healthy green spaces in our backyards, neighborhoods, and communities, we can further reduce the amount of long-lasting CO2 gases in the environment.

As Francis of Assisi said, “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

It is necessary to take steps to protect the environment; thanks to advanced technology and, of course, the desire to make a difference, it is possible. If we adopt green habits and utilize green products, we can begin to do the impossible.

Get in touch with the Mean Green Mowers team to learn more about the benefits of fully electric mowers – for the environment, your business, and your bottom line.