leaf blowers zero air pollution
research regarding leaf blower laws
 
Press Releases

Personal Advertising

Calls for Action

E-mail

Community Newsletter

Form Alliances

Position Paper

Careful Wording

Inform Realtors

Inform Retailers

Recreation, Religious, Club, and Community Facilities,

Studies and Petitions

Research

Expert Interviews

Public Access TV

About 4 printed pages.

 


Educate the Public

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We suggest you also read our other Action sections. 

All together, they contain suggestions for actions that could be carried out by an individual, by several people or by grass roots groups.

Besides providing you with feedback or data, the act of explaining why you are sharing information, making a study or circulating a petition, in itself, educates others about the NOBLOW Movement that is gathering momentum across the nation.



Press Releases. 

See also Educate the Press.

Submit Press Releases, Advisories and Calendar Events to Environmental Media Services and/or to individual local press sources
Personal “Advertising”
Advertise the issue with slogans or designs on t-shirts, bumper stickers, decals on yard signs, fabric shopping bags.  Make them yourself by computer print-out at home or at a photocopy/computer services store, or try an internet company.  (See one web source)
 
Support Non-profit Groups
Send donations to one or more of the Non-profit or other groups listed in our Reference Sources page. Many of them are run by volunteers, others have only a small staff. Many are fighting for your right to quiet and/or to clean air. Others provide research and information. ZAPLA.org is a public service website. We are not set up to accept donations.
Calls for Action
Place friends and family who are interested in this issue in a specific address group in your email, or on a sticker list for US mail so you can quickly notify them to write a politician or other person or entity, if the need should arise.  You might address the email to only one person, and insert the others as “blind copies”, so a long list of addresses is not attached to the email. If you know that some people automatically reject "blind copies", send their mail individually.
Spread the Word whenever your E-Mail
See Advocacy/Activist ideas from Institute for Global Communications
 
Use one of our slogans or phrases or write a simple statement or plea for help.  Add these before or after your return address on envelopes for regular U.S. or other mail.
 
Add notice of this web site and/or one of our slogans to your default “signature file” for your outgoing e-mail.  Request friends and family to do the same.  It will automatically appear. You may still delete it in individual messages.
Community Newsletters
Does your homeowner’s group or neighborhood civic association have a website? (Free Listing Source).  List your blower regulations on it.  More and more people are considering the issue of quiet neighborhoods when they relocate. 

Does your civic association have a newsletter? Public libraries may allow non-commercial materials such as newsletters or fliers, to be made available to the public. If they are date sensitive, please remove them at the proper time. Send information about this web site to all branch reference librarians in your community, and/or, leave information about our site for library patrons to see.

Ask local “NoBlow” gardeners and landscape companies who never use blowers if you can list their phone numbers.  Better yet, list companies that use no gas machines.
 
Companies who are just willing not to use blowers when so requested, may be tempted to reintroduce them whenever an employer is not around.
See “Educate Yourself” for ideas on forming alliances with other individuals or groups.
 
Try to preserve your privacy, and that of individual members as much as possible.  Contact other members for permission before giving out their phone numbers and/or names.
Your opponents will join forces.  The L.A. Times, on July 25, 1998, pointed out that, during the fall of 1997, a manufacturer organized the first meeting of a coalition of dealers, landscapers and the Latino gardeners.  Actually, they had all worked for several years to oppose the Los Angeles ban efforts.  The first state proposal to block blower bans was in February of the next year.

You need to have some “strength in numbers,” too.

1. Form a grassroots group of any size. 

2. Name the group in terms of your goals or your purpose. 

3. Design a simple logo and/or letterhead that makes your point. 

4. Get a post office box. 

5. Set up a Hotline.  Use a phone number connected to an answering machine whose outgoing message mentions only the group, but no personal information.  Remember that, if you call an 800 or similar toll free number, their “caller ID” will capture your number, and that your number can lead to your address. 

6. Publicize your group in order to attract like-minded people to the group, educate others, and to gain information or to be a press contact.. 

7. Contact other groups concerned with air pollution, noise, and quality of life issues.  Get the names and phone numbers of a contact within those groups, who you can ‘network’ with for ideas and support.

POSITION PAPER: 

Write and distribute a “position paper” or “study” that clearly states your point of view and purpose.
A position paper should be narrowly defined. 

Cite facts and their reliable sources.  Where you can, go to original sources rather than quote second-hand reports.

If your study is focused on one aspect of the issue, it might serve as a one or two page “attachment” to a one-page letter of support or opposition to proposed legislation.
Be careful when you re-word any facts, for any reason, that you do not unintentionally change the meaning of the information.  This is especially so when you are quoting articles which, themselves, interpret original studies. 

Don’t say, “Blowers are dangerous” if your source says “emissions are dangerous” or “fugitive dust is dangerous”.  Don’t say “All blowers create this much air pollution” if newer models exist with much lower emissions.

Your power is in truthfulness in what you do say.  You are not obligated to add information that would benefit your opposition.  However, don’t ignore technological advances that can lessen the problems you are trying to solve.

Send a copy of local laws and background information to local realtors.
Ask them to include it in their newsletters.  Send the same information to large apartment or condo managements, local school districts or individual schools that may still allow gas blowers.
Urge local retailers who sell banned blowers to prominently display signs that spell out local laws for their use.  Sales personnel should also be trained to respond honestly to potential customers.
 
“Local laws” should include the laws in several nearby communities, if necessary. 
 
Laws may be local, state or federal emission standards, noise levels, nuisance laws, and may apply to all garden equipment used city wide, or only in residential zones.
Over a period of several weeks, send different “customers” into the same large retailer or dealer to ask questions as they “shop”.  They should take notes at that time or immediately after this trip, and record whether there was any indication of local laws.  When they mentioned where they lived or where they were going to use the blower, did the salesperson point out any bans or restrictions on the machine?  When asked directly if there were any laws against using a gas blower, how did the salesperson respond?  Did they offer suggestions on how to avoid or ignore the law?  Did the salesperson point out and explain the emission and/or noise decibel level stickers on the machines, and their relevance to the town in which the customer said they were to be used.

With your notes as evidence, schedule a meeting with the management or owner of the store to request specific remedies.  If these are carried out, send a thank you to the national headquarters, asking them to implement the same remedies in all of their stores. 

If these are not carried out to your satisfaction, and maintained permanently, draw press and media attention to the problem, and complain to the national headquarters, if any.

Hold demonstrations and/or circulate petitions in front of their store.  Take photos for delivery to a local newspaper, and/or for later use.  Even a single reporter at the demonstration can give you publicity you can later send to legislators.  Use Slogan Downloads on this site for sign suggestions, and see list of Presentation Materials.
RECREATION, Religious, Club, Community Facilities:

Encourage your parks to discontinue use of blowers wherever possible. 

Encourage those in charge of your clubs, associations and community facilities, and the leadership of your house of worship, to discontinue use of blowers. You will be taken more seriously if you approach these decision makers in a group, or, perhaps, with a petition signed by many members in hand. You may have to follow up, or request a reporter on the local newspaper to do so.

Get support from, or cite the environmental concerns of members of your faith who may be part of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment. Members represent an alliance of major faiths in American, and are probably representative of all faiths in their respect for the environment.

STUDIES:  Collect signatures on petitions, or conduct a random study of public opinion or facts, in a public place.
 
Use the results to influence public opinion by sharing it with the press. 
 
Use it to convince elected officials to support new legislation, or as support or opposition to proposed legislation.
 
In California and some other states, you have a right to assemble in a public place to conduct peaceful and orderly activities such as petitioning or handing out information.  In PRUNEYARD SHOPPING CENTER ET AL.v ROBINS ET AL., The Supreme Court of the United States, on June 9, 1980, upheld the California Supreme Court decision that the California Constitution protects “speech and Petitioning, reasonably exercised, in shopping centers even when the centers are privately owned “
23 Cal.3d899,910,592P.2d341,347 (1979). 

See the Supreme Court of the United States case 447 U.S. 74; 100S. Ct 2035; 1980 U.S. Lexis 129:64L Ed2d741.

Take a copy of this Pruneyard information with you, in case private security guards are unfamiliar with it, and ask you to leave or to conduct your activity in an area that removes you from contact with the public.

Large shopping malls that invite the public to congregate, without obligation to actually purchase items, are considered public spaces.  Even if they do so in order to encourage “window-shopping” that may lead to sales.  Individual stores that don’t encourage this activity may not fall under this ruling, however.

Regarding studies of public opinion, unbiased interviewers should use only randomly picked strangers who do not know the purpose of the study or the affiliation of the person conducting the interview. 

A biased report won’t be of value to either side of this issue.  Do not assume the conclusions in advance.  Do not make emotional statements.  Be sure that both your questions, and your later conclusions are phrased in such a way that they cannot be misinterpreted.

Your local library will have books on the subject.  See Survey99 suggestions for studies.  (Download Survey99.pdf or Read it Online)

Again, if you want demographics, such as what income level or ethnic group most represents a particular zip code, try these sources.

The ZAP Survey99 represents 38 different zip codes.  Comparing that fact with the high percentage of participants who want blower bans or restrictions, the survey debunks the claim that “only the rich are bothered by leaf blowers and want bans.”
RESEARCH:  Do your own presentation materials or research for a small or large “study” to present to your city or township representative. 


See our Presentation List for materials you can download and print out.
Suggestions:

Observation of gardening practices; 
  • Interviews with gardeners and workers;  To gain information that will help you and others to understand their problems, and to offer to provide them with information.
  • Interviews with neighbors who are disturbed by blower use;  To gain information, in general, or to pass on to legislators and/or the press, with their permission.
  • Video gardening practices; You can photo or video, without permission, work that is visible from a public place;
  • Make audio tapes of gardening machine noise; Chart the actual decibel level, using a decibel meter.
  • Combine video and/or audio tapes with notes you’ve made to document decibel levels, length of time, and frequency of blower use within the hearing or smelling range of your own property;
  • Get maps and graphs of air pollution, by specific pollutants,  in your area from government web sites and other organizations.
You may need evidence to prove a nuisance exists to elected officials, the press, your neighbors that are away at work all day, or in Small Claims Court.  See “Deciphering Public, Private Nuisances” (01.8.3).

Perhaps a gardening club would participate in showing other gathering methods and gardening practices.  Videotape their blower-free work habits for presentation to elected officials or offer free copies of the videotape to the media for use on television news or gardening shows.
INTERVIEWS:  Videotape an interview with one or more health experts.
Provide copies to local television news or use in an interview on an existing local “public access” television show.  Include shots of dust rising from blower use. 

Present the videotapes as part of a health fair, or health education class at local schools.  Give the school district copies and a write-up for their video library.  Then make individual schools and/or teachers aware of its existence and availability.

TELEVISION:  Create a Public Access Television Show.

Once filmed, you can use a 28 minute public access production (or limited parts of it) to make or prove a point with local elected officials.

You may film your own Public Access show at your local cable station’s studio, for no charge or at a reasonable price.  Make your show as “timeless” as possible.  Include information on how others can contact you or your group.

You might try to influence its showing at pertinent times – i.e. a few days before a scheduled council meeting or vote on the subject.  It may, however, be shown primarily in the middle of the night! (See details)