Partners in Clean Air

Solar Mowing founder/owner Lyn DeWitt receives a "Valuable Partner" award from Brian O’Malley, Chair, Clean Air Partners (left), and William Ellis, Vice Chair, Clean Air Partners (right).

Solar Mowing founder/owner Lyn DeWitt receives a Most Valuable Partner award from Brian O’Malley, Clean Air Partners Chair (left), and William Ellis, Clean Air Partners Vice Chair (right).

Solar Mowing was given a Most Valuable Partner award by the organization that provides the Washington-Baltimore region with air quality forecasts and information. Clean Air Partners held the Annual Awards Celebration at the Mansion House at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.

Nonprofits, businesses, and students were honored at the May 11, 2016, event for their “efforts to raise awareness in our region about air quality,” says Clean Air Partners Board Chair, Brian O’Malley.

Solar Mowing’s “commitment to reducing pollution through emission-free equipment and the use of solar and wind energy is an excellent example of how the business community can make significant efforts to reduce air pollution and the impacts on climate change,” wrote Jen Desimone, Managing Director of Clean Air Partners.

Since 2009, when the business began through this 2016 season, Solar Mowing will have prevented about 80,000 pounds of CO2 emissions from entering the atmosphere.

Not bad for a wee start-up.

I’d like to dedicate this award to my dependable team of mowers and to our many customers who want healthy lawns — and air.

The Fight of our Lives

I doubt I would’ve started Solar Mowing if carbon dioxide wasn’t a major cause of climate change. The smells and noise made by lawn mowers, trimmers, and blowers might not even bother me that much.

carbon-emissions-coalCigarette smoke didn’t bother me before I understood how deadly it is to smokers — and to nonsmokers. After seeing lung cancer up close, I can barely stand the smell of a lit cigarette. It smells like disease and death. And gas-powered lawn equipment, to me, smells like a planet burning.

Climate change is the issue that will define our time and our children’s time. Which is why I want you to know about a movie premiering this Sunday, September 7 at 7 pm. Disruption, about the “science, politics, and movement around climate change,” can be seen for free at these and other venues.

1.  Butler Conference Room, American University, Wash., DC
2.  A private home in Takoma Park, MD
3.  Bar Pilar, 14th & T, NW, Wash., DC

Watch the movie trailer here.

ClimateMarchLogoTwo weeks later, you may want to attend what organizers hope will be the “largest public demonstration against climate change in history.”

The People’s Climate March will be held in New York City, September 21, 2014, starting at 11:30. 

Do I think replacing 100 or 500 gas-powered lawn mowers with clean mowers will prevent glaciers in West Antarctica from collapsing or storms worldwide from worsening? In a word, no.

But as Disruption makes clear, climate change is the fight of our lives. And like many of you, I’m a fighter.

Social Entrepreneurship at Home & by the Book

Anna atop Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder, CO.

Anna atop Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder, CO.

Last May I completed my first year at CU/Boulder as an environmental studies major. During my first semester, I took a class entitled “Sustainability and Social Innovation.” The main focus of the class was social entrepreneurship, a term I was originally unfamiliar with but discovered is a complex and sometimes even controversial concept. In time, I began to think of it simply as socially beneficial (“good”) work backed with a solid business plan.

I agree with Gregory J. Dees, a teacher of Social Entrepreneurship and Nonprofit Management at Duke, who claims that “… any definition of social entrepreneurship should reflect the need for a substitute for the market discipline that works for business entrepreneurs. Social entrepreneurs play the role of change agents in the social sector by:

• Adopting a mission to create and sustain social value (not just private value)

• Recognizing and relentlessly pursuing new opportunities to serve that mission,

• Engaging in a process of continuous innovation, adaptation, and learning,

• Acting boldly without being limited by resources currently in hand, and,

• Exhibiting a heightened sense of accountability to the constituencies served and for the outcomes created” (Forbes, 2012).

AnnaMowingBlog

Anna has spent much of the last six summers working for Solar Mowing.

When my mom started Solar Mowing in 2009, I had no idea that she was on her way to become a successful social entrepreneur. By giving local homeowners the option to maintain their lawns without harming the environment, she created an alternative market with a clearly defined mission.

I have worked for Solar Mowing every summer since 2009 and have been lucky enough to see, firsthand, how the company has grown and developed over these five years. We continually update our equipment so that we’re using the latest battery technology, added a second vehicle with a highly efficient solar array, increased both our staff and customer base, and expanded our services to meet our customers’ needs. One thing that hasn’t changed though, is my mom’s dedication to her community and her determination to create real and measurable change. Since Solar Moving began, more than 10,000 pounds of carbon dioxide have been prevented from entering the air we breathe.

I am honored to be part of such an outstanding company. I invite you to join us (if you haven’t already) as we work to improve our lives and our world.

 

The Scoop on Dog Pee

No, it isn’t your imagination. The grassy spot where your dog and the neighbors’ dogs often pee IS turning brown. You may have heard that only big dogs or females cause such spots, but that’s not quite right. Bigger dogs just expel more urine than small dogs, and while females squat rather than lift a leg on a fencepost or utility pole, young male dogs and some small adult males also squat.

peespots

Salts and nitrogen in dog urine can damage, and even kill, grass.

The best way to keep your grass spot-free is to train Fido to use a mulched or graveled section of the yard or my favorite command:  “Go in the ivy,” while pointing to my ivy-covered corner. Also, vary the path you take on walks, so your dog won’t pee in the same ol’ places.

Salts and nitrogen in the urine seem to be the twin culprits here, and watering the spot is the best, and really only, remedy. Don’t waste your money on dog supplements that claim to prevent the spots or sprays or powders that are supposed to make the spots disappear.

Keep your dog watered as well as this will help dilute his/her urine. And if you have brown spots that won’t recover, let Solar Mowing clean and reseed them this fall.