Image credit: Tao of Change
When I wrote about Carrboro, NC based Goat Patrol landscaping, while being generally positive about the concept, I did ask about the carbon footprint of moving a bunch of goats around. Anonymous told me in no uncertain terms that I was (again) throwing my "negative what-ifs at a positively alternative idea by asking a useless hypothetical question." Never having thought of myself as a nay sayer, I thought I should contact the Goat Patrol to get their take on the transportation question. Here's what they had to report.
Sadly, none of the landscapers themselves were available to discuss their carbon hoofprint, but founder and goatherd Alix had this to say:
"You raise an interesting point, and one that I consider often as I haul the crew around the Triangle. The goats ride around in a light weight aluminum trailer towed by the smallest pickup capable of doing the job. I would love it if it were a WVO or biodiesel powered truck, but my resources are not there yet. Even this setup, however, is smaller, lighter, and more fuel efficient than the massive crew cab pickups towing 4 ton trailers full of gas powered, high emissions equipment that most landscaping crews cruise around in. Plus, once we are on site, we are there for the day, not hopping from job to job with periodic idling stops at convenience stores and gas stations.
In answer to your other question, the goats never travel more than 20 miles from the farm, and most job sites are more in the 10-15 mile range. This translates to about 2 gallons of gas a day, which is far less than is consumed by a single weed whacker during a full days work. I hope this helps allay some of your concerns.
Thanks for checking up. More people need to take "green" claims with a grain of salt, and the world will never truly make progress toward greater sustainability without a healthy dose of skepticism in the mix.
So there we have it - it does sound like my concerns were pretty much unfounded, particularly given the relatively localized range in which Alix and crew operate. (It's not uncommon for me to see landscaping trucks from 40 miles away in and around my community.) Of course , that's not to say things couldn't be even greener - a goat patrol in every town, even every neighborhood, would be a great way to cut the transportation impact even further. (Arizona has already hired goats for land clearance.) I'll take a cute goat over a weed whacker any day.
Hopefully this follow up goes someway to allaying any negative energy I was sending out about the very rocking goat patrol (and thanks for keeping me in check Anonymous!). After all, I'd hate to get these guys upset. They have horns.