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NOTICE | Solar power on the front line and old-fashioned clotheslines | Views

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SOLAR energy comes to Earthlings in several ways. The ancient Persians used passive solar architecture. Around the same time, East Africans channeled the cool ocean wind through tunnels to cool them down.

Now, finally, solar power is surpassing new fossil and nuclear fuel installations in terms of price, environmental safety and speed of installation.

One use of solar energy that has not received enough attention is drying clothes with clotheslines or racks. Before global warming and our climate crisis became a public concern, some local governments banned clotheslines in gardens as a community horror. Fortunately, 20 states have passed “right to dry laws” that allow people to use this simple and appropriate technology to reduce fuel consumption.

Environmentalist Joe Wachunas of Portland, Oregon, is a big proponent of air drying your laundry. Twenty years ago, while traveling as an exchange student in Italy, he learned that only three percent of Italian households had a tumble dryer. Italians, he noted, were drying their clothes on clotheslines, high balconies or in open windows, catching the sun and crossing breezes.

Wachunas competed with dryers, taking just eight minutes longer to hang a load of clothes than it takes to load a dryer (not to mention a round trip to a laundromat). Plus, with line drying, it estimates a savings of $ 600 per year per family, and your air-dried materials will last longer and shrink less.

As you can imagine, the vast majority of people in the United States use a clothes dryer. About 80% of Americans use clothes dryers that use more electricity in a household than other appliances (except refrigerators). These people will find that switching to clean and environmentally friendly drying has many benefits.

Last March, Mary Marlowe Leverette wrote an article on the “10 best reasons to dry clothes”. You can save money, promote energy conservation, make your clothes fresher, less wear and tear, increase your physical activity, help launder and disinfect laundry, reduce the risk of fire ( dryer fires numbered approximately 15,000 structural fires, 15 fatalities and 400 injuries). annually in the United States with material losses estimated at $ 99 million).

There is also the intangible value of calm and harmony with nature when you spend ten minutes enjoying the good weather. When the weather does not allow it, line drying indoors increases the humidity in a home in dry winter weather.

Finally, you feel that you are making a small difference to protect the environment and set an example in your neighborhood or building. Who knows what good things can emerge spontaneously while chatting with the neighbor or having conversations in the yard, without being interrupted by the distractions of the iPhone. The venerable clothesline makes sense.

Also consider rejecting the mad leaf blower (see: “Shut off the leaf blows and restore peace to suburbia”, by Peter Bahouth) and the noisy gasoline lawnmower – two contributions to pollution and obesity in America. . Perhaps a glance at a clothesline floating in the sun will persuade some users of these small lawn belching techs to grab a rake and start using the old fuel-less lawn mower. Such personal choices often lead people to become advocates of larger solar systems.

Streams, streams, and streams make the mighty Mississippi River possible. Billions of people can do their part to usher in the use of more sun to help save the Earth from man-made climate crisis / catastrophe.

Are you interested in clothespins?

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author.


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