ECO-MOWERS by Dan Gutman, author of 117 books, including the uber-popular My Weird School series

I like to think that I’m not mowing my lawn—I’m giving it a haircut.

That’s what it feels like with my push mower.  When I used to have a power mower, I felt like I was annihilating each blade of grass.  Now I just feel like I’m giving each one a trim.

I made the switch about a dozen years ago.  My yard isn’t very large, and the gas-powered mower always felt like overkill, like I was using a bazooka to swat flies.

But more than that, I was becoming more aware of climate change and other environmental and political issues.  I became conscious of the fact that every time I mowed the lawn, I was burning gas. Gas that took millions of years to be created.  Gas that probably was pumped out from under the ground and sold to us by Saudi Arabia or some other country we’d have to defend if their oil fields were invaded.  Gas that would pollute the air and heat up the atmosphere.

And for what?  So I would have a lawn as pretty as my next door neighbor’s?

So I got the push mower.  It was cheap, easy to use, took up less space, worked great, and it ran on a renewable source of energy–muscle.  No burning gas.  No fumes.

I know I’m not going to save the planet by using a push mower instead of a power mower.  But I figure every little bit helps.  It’s the same with riding a bike instead of taking my car.  I feel good about myself for keeping a little gas unburned.  And I get some exercise. Not only that, but when I’m out in the fresh air sweating over a hot push mower, I come up with some of my best book ideas.

Sure, some of the neighbors think I’m a little weird.  But I think they also think it’s cool and retro in a sort of hipster kind of way.

In fact, just last night, my next door neighbor Art told me his gas mower broke and he replaced it with a push mower.  He said I “shamed” him into it.

Well, good!  Whatever it takes.  Now there are two of us.  Maybe soon there will be four…and eight…and sixteen…

What I really want to do is move out of the suburbs entirely and go back to New York City, where I used to live before my wife and I had kids.   We’ll get rid of our cars, and my lawn will be Central Park.  I won’t have to mow at all.

Dan Gutman is the author of the My Weird School series, The Genius Files series, and the Baseball Card Adventure series.  You can visit his web site at, check out his Facebook fan page, and follow him on Instagram and Twitter @dangutmanbooks.


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