Thursday, August 06, 2009

I Discovered an Appliance...

I'd forgotten I Had!

It's a solar clothes drier! I love it! It leaves the clothes smelling so nice, and it didn't heat up the house the way the electric drier does. I didn't even have to string a line. I simply pinned the clothes to the mesh that surrounds the deck. It's great because they can be at all levels, using the space very well. I bought the clothespins at the thrift shop some time ago. I got them and several other items for 50 cents.

When I was a kid every home had a clothesline. And if it was raining the clothes were hung on a line pulled across the porch. I didn't know clothes driers existed.

Now when we are faced with climate change and we desperately need to curb our use of energy the clothes line makes good sense. It's estimated about six-seven percent of North America's electricity is used to dry clothes. One source says that about three kilograms of greenhouse gases are created by each drier load of clothes.

So why do we continue to use our driers? There are neighborhoods which actually have clothesline bans. (That's so they can watch their kid's futures go up in smoke.) The sight of clothes flapping in the wind offends many a tender North American sensibility. We are a delicate people.

Some just haven't given it a thought, but for many people it's a sense of entitlement. We are wealthy by the rest of the world's standards, and we somehow think this entitles us to foul the air and drain the earth of its resources. If we think we are entitled to use all the energy we want, then we will use all the energy we want. We actually look down on people who live sustainable lives because we think our economic status entitles us to waste as much energy as we want. We think our time is so important that we can waste energy in order to "save time".

We are programmed to be mindless consumers, ravaging the earth and polluting the atmosphere in our quest for the "good life". Breaking free of that will require challenging the beliefs and attitudes that keep us from moving towards sustainability.

We need to make thoughtful decisions. Some big decisions, others small, but the decisions we make will determine what happens to the world in the next 50 years. I won't be here in 50 years to see how it all turns out but the beautiful babies born to much loved friends this past year will be in the prime of their lives in 50 years. What kind of world will we leave for them to live in? It worries me.

Virtue is the habit of doing good. We develop virtue by doing good things. Do a good thing today -- choose to use the appliance you'd forgotten you had. If we all make the right decisions we will leave this world a better place for little Amelia and Leif.

Thanks to Bob Waldrop for his inspiration and his posts on sustainability, which I freely borrowed from for this post. He says it's okay! :)


Cristin said...

I love seeing laundry on a clothesline - I've never understood why some areas ban this. It seems like it feels more like home when there's laundry on the line.

Your post is so timely. Last weekend, I decided that even though it's more time consuming, I'm hanging up the laundry. I dried all the laundry this way - even the sheets. And I live in a condo w/ no line. I just hung stuff on hangers or on a chair outside. Worked fine, and it was dry in no time. :o) I'm trying not to use my iron, either. So, I shake the wrinkles out and if that doesn't do the trick - I mist it with water after it is dried. The wrinkles seem to fall right out.

Deb said...

Hi Cristin,

Misting wrinkled clothes is a great way to smarten them up. I have to keep most of my shirts in a drawer, and I usually mist them lightly to remove the folds and wrinkles. I couldn't even tell you where my iron is. (My mother would be mortified! She thought "Starch and Iron" was one of the 10 commandments!)

Anonymous said...

No clothesline here either. I hang most of my clothing. I love the feel and smell of line dried towels and sheets. We have a pole that goes across our deck. It is great for clothing (or a towel) that is on a hanger. I spritz with lavender water to get the hanger marks out. Body heat dries them out real quick.

The only thing I iron is fabric when I'm ready to cut out a new quilt!!!