The Wearing of the Green

I've been carrying around a lot of eco-guilt for a while now. I know that, at this point in time, I am part of the problem, not part of the solution, because my carbon footprint is way too big.

Electricity is not a big problem area. We pay a little extra for electricity generated by the wind and small hydro. We should still turn out lights, but the main damage if we don't is to our wallets, not to the world.

So what are our problem areas?

Gasoline. We drive too much for the good of the world, pure and simple. Part of this is due to living in a place that is at least 20 miles from everything - work, shopping, friends and family. Part of this is due to the nature of Robert's work, which causes him to drive many, many miles in the course of a year. We no longer own any large vehicles; we own two cars that are very fuel efficient by current standards. Let's not kid ourselves, we still drive too much. We may not be able to get a handle on this until we retire.

Propane. We burn a fair amount of it in a year. What do we use it for?
  • Cooking and baking. This doesn't bother me. We are not using a lot for this purpose, and I think this is an appropriate way to use this particular fuel.
  • Hot water/heat. Our home has pipes embedded in concrete floors, and a high efficiency hot water heater that heats water both for washing and for space heating. We lessen the load here by preheating the water that goes to the hot water heater via a coil in our wood stove, and by turning the thermostats down. Someday we can pretty much solve this one, by installing a bio-fuel boiler and insulated shutters on our windows.
  • Drying clothes. Uh oh. This doesn't sound very crucial to existence to me. I've always dried some clothes on a rack, but when I saw a drying rack at Ikea this past fall, I realized that I could almost entirely eliminate using our dryer.
And I have. The only items I am using the dryer for now are sheets and towels, and they will be going out on clotheslines when the weather breaks. I have plans for indoors clothes lines someday when the solarium is finished, and is no longer used by my husband as a shop space.

My wooden rack, which I have used for years for things like wool socks, lycra, rayon, and other items that don't like dryers:

My wonderful new rack from Ikea. This rack is metal with a durable plastic coating. It folds flat, and is very sturdy when in use; I've tried to tip it over, but cannot, because it uses the strength of the triangle quite elegantly.

These two racks are holding three large loads of laundry! And this makes me feel just a little bit better, and a little bit greener.


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