Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet

For immediate release
March 2, 2021

Ted Rueter
[email protected]


Chapel Hill:  Three pre-teen activists in Lafayette, California have won a “Healthy Soundscape” award from Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet for working to silence noisy gas-powered leaf blowers in their community. Twelve year-old Finn Renton and his ten year-old twin sisters, Scout and Jamie, are doing their part to reduce excessive noise.

During the pandemic, the three siblings have been at home, experiencing remote learning. The Lamordina Weekly reports that “they struggled to hear their teachers on Zoom over the noise from leaf blowers in their neighborhood.” Scout Renton stated, “We got interested in it because mostly everyone is at home because of COVID, so we realized how much people use leaf blowers.  We decided to do some research and we found out how bad they are and decided to try and stop them from polluting the environment.”

Finn, Scout, and Jamie then sent their findings to the Lafayette city council, asking, “Would you consider letting a pickup truck idle in your driveway with its tailpipe aimed at your open windows for three hours each week?  If a gas leaf blower is being used in your yard, that’s approximately the amount of pollutants that are entering your home environment for every 15 minutes of use.”

The Renton children note that gas-powered leaf blowers create excessive noise pollution and air pollution; they also harm insects, including bees. They recommend the use of rakes or battery-operated leaf blowers and point out that 60 cities in California have restricted or banned the use of gas-powered leaf blowers.

Lafayette City Planning Director Greg Wolff states that the issue of gas-powered leaf blowers will be considered by the city’s Environmental Task Force in March. Wolff praised the three Renton children for their environmental consciousness, stating that “it’s great to see youth involved in what will ultimately be their government.”

The three Renton kids are planning on walking the neighborhood, handing out flyers they’ve created on the environmental hazards of gas-powered leaf blowers.  In addition, they sent a letter to the superintendent of the Lafayette school district, asking the school district to discontinue using gas-powered leaf blowers.

Jennifer Renton, the mother of Jamie, Scout, and Finn, said that she isn’t surprised that her kids are environmentally active, since she husband have been environmentally conscious for some time. She stated that “I’m so proud of how the kids have taken on the issue of gas-powered leaf blowers in Lafayette. The pollution they create – both noise and air– is a real cause for concern, and I think it’s great that people are finally starting to pay attention. As my son says, our kids are the ones who’ll have to live with the consequences of our bad decisions.”

Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet is a national citizens’ organization opposed to excessive noise.  Past winners of the Healthy Soundscape award include Mike Edison (for filing small claims lawsuits against major noise polluters); Portmouth, New Hampshire (for cracking down on loud motorcycles); and Grand Rapids, Michigan (for creating a railroad “quiet zone”).