3 reasons why you should stop raking leaves this fall and never look back.

Fall leaves aren't just pretty. They form their own "mini-ecosystem."

Here's a thought: Skip the whole raking leaves thing this fall.

Heck, stop raking leaves forever.


Photo via iStock.

No, you're not dreaming. And no, I'm not an enabler (when it comes to raking leaves, at least).

There are actual, legitimate, vital reasons (beyond simply preferring to spend a Sunday on the couch) why you can let the leaves pile up outside without feeling a single ounce of guilt.

See this dog? Be this dog. Let your leaves be. Photo by Daniel Mihailescu/AFP/Getty Images.

The National Wildlife Federation is asking you (yes, you!) to put the rake down for the sake of Mother Earth.

In a post published to the organization's blog, the NWF outlines three important reasons why raking leaves is actually harmful for the environment and the creatures that live in your 'hood. (Side note: The blog post was actually published in 2014, but — as further proof that humans detest raking leaves — has spread across the Internet like wildfire again in recent days.)

Photo via iStock.

Here are three reasons your rake should stay put in the shed.

1. Your raking affects many critters that consider the leaves home.

Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images.

Fallen leaves are vital for several adorable species — like chipmunks, box turtles, and shrews — and other not-as-adorable-but-equally-important species — like earthworms and various insects.

"The leaf layer is its own mini-ecosystem," the NWF says. "Many wildlife species live in or rely on the leaf layer to find food and other habitat."

Yep, raking leaves can destroy the seasonal housing accommodations that these species need to survive. Don't do it.

2. Fallen leaves are exactly what your garden needs.

Photo via iStock.

Dead leaves are the gift that keeps on giving for your garden. They act as an all-natural, weed-fighting mulch — all while fertilizing the soil as they decompose.

So do your garden good and give your raking a rest.

3. Raking your leaves means fewer beautiful butterflies. And that means less food for birds.

Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images.

Fallen leaves are a great spot for butterflies and moths to chill during the colder months as pupae (basically, an insect's very lazy, teenage-ish years). Not only will raking up your leaves kill these creatures, but it affects the food supply for birds that are trying to feed their babies come spring.

Bottom line? Put. The rake. Down.

Getting rid of your fallen leaves harms critters, hinders your green thumb talents, and takes up far too many autumn afternoons when you could be doing literally anything else.

Go enjoy your leaves just as they are! (And thank me later.)

GIF via Funnyplox/YouTube.

Heroes

I'm staring at my screen watching the President of the United States speak before a stadium full of people in North Carolina. He launches into a lie-laced attack on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and the crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!"

The President does nothing. Says nothing. He just stands there and waits for the crowd to finish their outburst.

WATCH: Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after he criticizes Rep. Ilhan Omar www.youtube.com

My mind flashes to another President of the United States speaking to a stadium full of people in North Carolina in 2016. A heckler in the crowd—an old man in uniform holding up a TRUMP sign—starts shouting, disrupting the speech. The crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!"

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

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