Why You Shouldn't Rake Your Leaves This Fall, Plus 3 Other Unexpected Ways To Help The Environment

A cat plays with leaves in autumnal colors on November 1, 2015 in Sieversdorf, northeastern Germany. AFP PHOTO / DPA / PATRICK PLEUL +++ GERMANY OUT +++ (Photo credit should read PATRICK PLEUL/AFP/Getty Images)
Source: PATRICK PLEUL/DPA/Getty Images

The fall season doesn't have many downsides. Cozy sweaters, hot drinks, beautiful foliage — what could go wrong? Well... plenty, actually. For instance, raking leaves is one of the most aggravating chores in existence. But lazy girls rejoice, for there are scientific reasons you shouldn't rake your leaves this fall! According to the National Wildlife Federation, it's better for the environment if you leave those leaves where they are. 

This isn't just good news for your lower back. The National Wildlife Federation says that piles of fallen leaves actually become their own "mini-ecosystems." Besides being incredibly fun to jump into, fallen leaves act as sources of food for "salamanders, chipmunks, turtles, toads, and insects." Essentially, if you don't rake your leaves, you become Snow White.

The NWF also points out that there are long-term repercussions for the environment. Moths and butterfly pupae live in these leaves, and remain inactive there during the winter. When spring comes and all of these insects have been unknowingly raked away, many birds lose an important source of food. One thing impacts another — it's a literal butterfly effect. Another bonus: The leaves end up acting as a natural fertilizer for the soil below. So when spring comes, your lawn will look twice as beautiful as that of your annoying neighbor who has an impossibly loud leaf blower. 

Leaf raking isn't the only activity you might have thought was a good thing, but actually does harm to the environment. Science says, for example, that we should also avoid doing these three things. 

1. Using Disposable Chopsticks

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It seems like something so small that you've probably never stopped to consider it. But did you know that in 2011, over 3.8 million trees were cut down to produce 57 billion chopsticks? Though wood is a renewable resource, the demand for disposable chopsticks is too high not to pose a risk for deforestation. Time to invest in a reusable pair!

2. Buying Bamboo

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Bamboo is often praised as being an eco-friendly alternative to conventional materials like plastic. However, while it does have its benefits, the growing bamboo industry still has some kinks to work out. Certain manufacturers are using toxic chemicals like sodium hydroxide in their production. Nobody wants their bamboo sheets infused with lye.

3. Feeding Ducks

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This is one situation where you shouldn't listen to what Mary Poppins said. Whatever you do, don't feed the birds. Though that duck looks so happy gobbling up the remains of your sandwich, feeding waterfowl actually poses a lot of risks, such as disease and delayed migration.

Images: Giphy (3)

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