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Offline Matthew

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30 Days to Sustainable Living - Day 1
« on: August 30, 2006, 04:37:25 PM »
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  • Here's a good article (looks to be a series!) that I found. We can all take this as good advice.

    Thirty Sustainable Days - Day One, Use a Solar Clothes Dryer

    Day 1: Use a solar clothes dryer to dry your
    clothes.

    The solar clothes dryer is a marvelous invention.
    It is simple to build, use, and maintain. You
    need:

    1. A length of rope, commonly sold in dollar
    stores as "clothes line".

    2. Clothes pins, also sold in dollar stores.

    3. Something to stretch the clothes line between.

    My clothes line is stretched between a tree and a
    fence post. You can also plant posts in the
    ground specifically for use as your solar clothes
    dryer. The traditional model is a "T" shaped
    post, allowing for 2 or 3 strands of clothes line.
    Another helpful item is a pouch to hang around
    your neck, in which you put the clothes pins while
    hanging the clothes out to dry. Clothes racks are
    available to allow indoor drying of clothes. If
    you have a solar sun porch, that would be a great
    place to dry your clothes on rainy days.

    This is one of the simplest and easiest steps
    towards sustainability. It also provides great
    benefits -- the clothes smell great!

    Besides the ease and simplicity of the solar
    clothes dryer, there is a second reason I selected
    it for the first step.

    We might as well, at the very beginning,
    understand that as we move towards sustainability,
    questions of race, class, and personal entitlement
    must be addressed.

    Whenever I talk about using a solar clothes dryer,
    the following objections are often presented:

    1. "My neighbors will think I'm weird if I use a
    clothes line."

    2. "Using a clothes line is so white trash."

    3. "I like soft towels."

    4. I don't have time for that.

    About 6% of the nation's electrical energy is used
    to dry clothes. One reference I found on the
    internet said that about 3 kilograms of greenhouse
    gases are created for each load of clothes dried.
    So we need to ask ourselves if our personal
    attitudes about race, class, and personal
    entitlement are more important than saving energy
    and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. If race,
    class, and personal entitlement win, then we all
    lose because that is the path to the ash-heap of
    history, a future that looks more like Mordor than
    anything else.

    There is no way forward into sustainability that
    does not involve challenging those attitudes of
    race, class, and personal entitlement so that we
    change the way we do things. Sustainability is
    not a matter of belonging to the right
    organizations, writing letters, believing
    politically correct opinions, and despising
    unpolitically correct politicians. Sustainability
    is about how we live our lives.

    We Americans are incredibly wealthy by world
    standards. From that wealth we often derive a
    personal sense of entitlement. 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 use sustainable methods -- such
    as the solar clothes dryer -- because we think our
    economic status entitles us to waste energy by
    using an electric or natural gas clothes dryer.
    Our neighbors opinions of what we do (or what we
    think our neighbors opinions will be) become more
    important than securing peace, justice, and
    sustainability in the world around us.

    Because we are special, we think our time is so
    important that we can waste energy in order to
    "save time". We never stop to question the
    assumption that we are actually saving time as we
    squander fossil fuels and release greenhouse
    gases.

    And so it comes to pass that we are well
    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 conscious effort to challenge our own
    personal attitudes that keep us from moving
    towards sustainability.

    Nine times out of ten, when I suggest sustainable
    alternatives, the response is a variety of
    objections as to why it won't work, or why it
    isn't appropriate for a particular situation.

    That's how we got into the situation we are in.
    Nobody wakes up in the morning, yawns, and says to
    themselves, "Well, today I am going to ravage the
    earth and pollute the atmosphere." Yet, in the
    myriads of decisions we make during the day, we
    often decide to ravage the earth, pollute the
    atmosphere, and oppress the poor.

    If we want to be in a better situation, then we
    need to make better decisions. Some of those are
    big decisions, some of them are small.

    I don't see any way into a sustainable future that
    would allow us to continue to run electric or
    natural gas dryers to dry our clothes. Perhaps we
    could use them on rainy days (although maybe we
    could wait for a sunny day to do our laundry), or
    in an emergency when you just have to have a clean
    shirt in 15 minutes (or maybe we could plan our
    clothing use better), or when it is very cold.
    And people who are disabled may be entitled to
    clothes dryers because of their physical condition
    and ability. But those would be "extraordinary"
    situations, the "ordinary" way to dry our clothes
    will be the solar clothes dryer.

    This is not a bad thing. This is a good thing.
    It is an easy way to add a lot of value to your
    life.

    What is virtue? Virtue is the habit of doing
    good. How do we develop virtue? By doing good
    things. Do a good thing today -- on your way
    home, pick up some clothes line and clothes pins
    at your favorite local store.

    PS. Don't let the perfect become the enemy of the
    good. If switching to 100% solar clothes drying
    is too much to contemplate at first, then solar
    dry your clothes every other week, or on some
    other schedule. Every BTU saved is a BTU that
    doesn't contribute to greenhouse gases in the
    atmosphere.
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    Offline Matthew

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    30 Days to Sustainable Living - Day 1
    « Reply #1 on: August 30, 2006, 11:00:36 PM »
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  • Well, I interpret the word in a Catholic sense. I know that a lot of so-called "environmentalists" border on new-age or pantheism, and are usually for bad things like population control as well as good things like renewable sources of energy.

    HOWEVER...

    I believe it is Catholic to not waste (food, electricity, gas, etc.) and it's scandalous when Catholics live the wasteful "suburban" life, while only the pagans deny themselves a bit and live a natural, down-to-earth life (riding bicycles, line-drying clothes, cooking with solar ovens, buying solar panels, walking, gardening, enjoying nature, etc.)

    When the pagans have more mortification (vegetarianism, etc.) than Catholics, it's pretty sad. Not that we should be vegetarian -- but it doesn't hurt to turn off the appliances we're not using, and try to save electricity in many ways. Compact fluorescent bulbs are a great money saver, and we don't have to set our A/C at 70 degrees (like some offices, where you have to wear a sweater during the summer).

    The fact is, we ARE destroying the earth, and we're going to start running out of cheap oil REAL QUICK. Read all about the coming oil crash here. Don't let the recent downturn in gas prices fool you. It's the last trip down before the unending trip upward! I (and everyone else following the oil industry) saw the current dip in prices coming MONTHS AGO, so no we're not being taken by surprise.

    It's also true that Americans seem to think we have a God-given right to 1000X the natural resources of anyone else on the planet. That can't be good or moral. Even a simple thing like a salad costs many barrels of oil to grow, harvest, transport, package, etc. That is insane! We should be growing salads in our backyards (or the local farmer nearby should be growing it) not some agri-business outfit 3,000 miles away.

    Matthew
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    Offline CampeadorShin

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    30 Days to Sustainable Living - Day 1
    « Reply #2 on: September 07, 2006, 07:32:06 PM »
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  • Why not hang your clothes in a green house?

    The sun would dry them, and they would not get wet with rain.
    Catholic warriors:
    http://www.angelusonline.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=490&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0
    My older avatar of Guy Fawkes that caused so much arguing, made by peters_student:
    http://img235.imageshack.us/img235/6007

     

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