Tuesday, April 17, 2007

go green.

I live right outside of Park City, home to the United States's largest independent film festival {Sundance} and the ski and snowboarding events of the 2002 Winter Olympics. It was a lead, gold, and silver mining town, since turned mountain resort. The setting is pristine and the air is clean. Walking Main Street is refreshing: aside from the world-famous eateries and quaint boutiques...passing the restoration houses, local ski bums and cyclist enthusiasts feels good. But there's a clear dichotomy: celebrity style tourism and locals that parallel the lifestyle and nature devotees who shop at the local Wild Oats Market because they love the Earth. [I'm sure there is a group who combines the two lifestyles and several in between. And I'm not posing judgement on either.] It's a good place to live. And the availability to live green is prevalent.

I read this article from the New York Times this morning. It further challenges me to ask: what is more important--the image of a "successful" life or truly dissolving my "carbon footprint," and why can't there be both?

AS a child, I helped my mother hang laundry in our backyard in Tamaqua, Pa., a small coal mining town. My job was handing up the clothespins. When everything was dry, I helped her fold the sheets in a series of moves that resembled ballroom dancing.

The clothes and linens always smelled so fresh. Everything about the laundry was fun. My brother and I played hide-and-seek in the rows of billowing white sheets.

I remember this as I’m studying energy-saving tips from
Al Gore, who says that when you have time, you should use a clothesline to dry your clothes instead of the dryer.

A clothesline. It strikes me that I haven’t seen one since 1991, when I moved to Rolling Hills, Calif., a gated community about an hour south of Los Angeles. There are rolling hills, ranch houses, sweeping views of the ocean and rocky cliffs — plenty of room — but not a single visible clothesline.

I decide to rig a clothesline as an experiment. My mother died many years ago and the idea of hanging laundry with my own daughter, Isabel, who is 13 and always busy at the computer, is oddly appealing. I’m also hoping to use less energy and to reduce our monthly electric bills which hit the absurdly high level of $1,120 last summer.

That simple decision to hang a clothesline, however, catapults me into the laundry underground. Clotheslines are banned or restricted by many of the roughly 300,000 homeowners’ associations that set rules for some 60 million people.

Finish reading here.

I'm not sure if I'm willing to go dryer-less, given the massive loads of laundry my 3 person family produces {I have a one-year-old..} and the lack of a back yard to hang the clothes. But, as I posted on my personal blog over a week ago, I found some {additional} helpful tips to go green in an article in April's Real Simple about "26 ways [we] can save the planet." They say it so well:

You consider yourself an environmentally friendly person (hey, you saw An
Inconvenient Truth). But you also love lathering up under the torrent of a
steaming-hot shower each morning--for 15 minutes. Fortunately, you needn't
deprive yourself of all joy to help heal what ails the planet and be an
eco-citizen. ...Nearly effortless changes like these (to follow) can have a big
cumulative impact on the environment and be a not-so-big impact on your daily

Here are my favorite:
use a water-filter pitcher
Bottled water isn't necessarily cleaner or better for you than tap water. Get a Brita water-filter pitcher or an in-sink faucet filter. Take advantage of what you already pay for and save the environmental cost of transporting bottled water to the grocer's shelf.

clean up your dishwasher
Switch to a dishwashing powder that's biodegradable and plant-based (try Ecover Ecological or Trader Joe's powders). These cleansers cut through grime, but they do it without bleach and phosphates that threaten the river and marine life and leave chemical residue on your dishes.

curtail junk mail
The Federal Trade Commission website, www.ftc.gov, spells out how to remove yourself from lists. (Click on "For Consumers," then "Telemarketing," then "Unsolicited Mail, Telemarketing, and Email: Where to Go to 'Just Say No.'") You'll save trees, water, and emissions, too. If everyone in the United States reduced the junk mail he receives every week, 100 million trees would be spared each year.

carry a water bottle with you
Buy a reusable bottle that fits your lifestyle and skip buying a new one at every lunchtime stop. Need a reason? Americans use 3.3 million plastic bottles every hour but recycle only one in five.

purchase organic-cotton tees
Cotton is the second-most chemically sprayed crop in America (corn is first). Each traditional tee requires a third of a pound of synthetic fertilizers. Pull on an organic T-shirt and feel as if the earth is giving you a little hug.

think local food
Your last meal may have traveled 1,500 miles to get to your table. Find food near you. Green markets, farm stands, and conscientious supermarkets all offer locally grown produce. Buy it and you'll conserve fuel, reduce pollution, and enjoy fresher food.


  1. i've been thinking about hanging a line for a while. i used to cloth diaper (mother ease is awesome!) but the dryer bill from cloth diapering was high. i guess my hesitation was (sadly enough!) the "poor look" that is talked about in the article. but you gave me the will to do it now! thanks! se, good does come from me spending time reading your blogs each day! :) now i can go back to cloth diapering! if you are worried about the environment, research diapers. not only are they not good for children because of the chemicals in them, they are horrible for the environment!
    thanks, again!

  2. thanks kelli! There is something so cleansing about taking steps to 'going green'. Especially now when my little children are learning about the world around them...what a perfect time to help them learn about the earth. I think this writer was definately more prone to adopt good habits because she was taught by her mother.

  3. clotheslines always remind me of my grandma. We actually don't have a dryer (yet). It started out being a nuisance, but now it doesn't really bother me. And if it's helping the environment, I'm okay holding out a little longer!

    I liked your post on your personal blog on this, as well as this one. good ideas.


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