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Aug. 24-30, 2009


Not an 'Aha,' but a 'Duh!'

We were discussing green technology, and I couldn’t help but boast. “I, personally, have switched to a solar-powered system to dry my laundry,” My friend’s eyes lit up.

“Really?” he asked.

I nodded confidently. “It uses zero electricity, zero fossil fuel, and emits zero carbon dioxide.” My friend's look of keen interest turned to a “got-me” grin when I explained that my "solar-powered system" was simply a rope on which I hung wet clothes.

When I started using the clothesline in earnest this summer, it was less an "aha!" moment than "duh." It's been right before my eyes for three years.

The clothesline is a permanent fixture of the parsonage, built in 1910, and it testifies to an era when everybody dried clothes outside. The line is strung between brackets made of sturdy metal pipe and securely anchored in concrete.

A lot of older houses have such permanent clothesline fixtures. They belong to a slower time, when our nation was less wealthy, more practical and very thrifty. And it really wasn’t that long ago. Growing up in the Sixties, I remember my mom hanging clothes on the line, even through we were fairly well off and could have easily afforded the electricity bill from the dryer. As for the dryer, that was for rainy days.

Line-drying made our clothes, sheets and towels fresh. Folded neatly in the linen closet for weeks at a time, the bath towels still smelled like the great outdoors. Same for the sheets in a freshly made bed. Wonderful!

Rediscovering the clothesline has renewed that pleasure, as well as the joy of just taking the time to do a simple task well – hanging clothes.

Back to the discussion of "green technology," a clothesline also saves on gas and electricity, and, thus, greenhouse-gas emissions. The clothes dryer is the second largest user of household electricity (the refrigerator is first), according to the California Energy Commission (www.energy.ca.gov). It takes about 40 cents a load in an electric dryer (for $85 a year), and about half that for a gas dryer, the Commission says. And the savings in carbon dioxide emissions are significant – over a thousand pounds of CO2 per year for one electric dryer. 

A clothesline is one way I’m making my life simpler and greener. Other ways are walking for short trips, using stairs instead of elevators, opening the windows at night rather than turning on the AC; unplugging the phone charger (and all those other ubiquitous power adapters) when not in actual use. Do you have a tip? Let me know (rcblezard@embarqmail.com)

P.S.:  For more information on clothesline drying, check out an interesting website from Project Laundry List, described below.

-Rob Blezard, webmaster and editor

Reprint rights gladly given to any congregation or church group. Just include this notice: “Copyright © 2009, Rev. Robert Blezard, archive.stewardshipoflife.org. Used by permission.” Other uses inquire: rcblezard@embarqmail.com.

New This Week:

Faith, Hope, and Ecology
Surf in the SpiritIn this lively article, originally appearing in The Christian Century, Garret Keizer outlines the basis for faith-based ecological activism. Keizer is a writer and contributing editor for Harper’s, authored several books, and has worked as an English teacher and Episcopal priest. Click here for “Faith, Hope, and Ecology, from Surf-in-the Spirit web directory.

Fall Curriculum Round-Up
Back to school means many congregations are looking for curriculum suggestions for youth and adult forums, classes, and small groups. For the next few weeks, SOLI will be offering a series of links to free and low-cost options. Click here for the “Fall Curriculum Round-up.” Have a suggestion for us to share with others? E-mail webmaster Rob Blezard at rcblezard@hotmail.com.

Lectionary Reflection: Dirty Hands and Holy Hope
Sharron LucasThis week’s Gospel reading deals with way more than hygiene. “Different is threatening. New is challenging. Change makes us uncomfortable. In response to uncomfortable situations, we tend to hold on tightly to our turf and traditions.” Click here for “To Whom Can We Turn?” from columnist Sharron Riessinger Lucas. Click here to read her archived columns.

50 Ways to Leave your Lover, Mammon

Peace SignsTrying to Simplify your Life? Like Lists? If you answered yes to both of these questions, check out Anton Flores’ article in the most recent issue of PeaceSigns, a monthly e-zine from the Mennonite Church USA, Peace and Justice Support Network. Not every suggestion on Anton’s list will fit every person’s situation, but you are likely to find at least a few ideas to incorporate into your own life and discipleship journey.  Click here for “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover: Mammon.”

Our Interesting Approaches to Tithing
Marriage PartnershipFaithful tithers for 24 years, a couple shares their experiences of how to look at tithing (and how NOT to look at it), as well as what really works. Click here for “Our Interesting Approaches to Tithing,” from Marriage Partnership.

Website: Project Laundry List
Here is an organization that wants to save the earth one clothesline at a time. It's dedicated to the simple idea that washing clothes in cold water and then hanging them on a line to dry will help our planet. Well worth visiting. Click here for Project Laundry List. 


      Copyright 2009 Stewardship of Life Institute