Groups Advocate 'Right to Dry' Laundry

"It's a tremendous amount of energy," Lee said. "It's several power plants that we could shut down if everybody were to make the switch."

Project Laundry List has initiated action on the local level, attempting to spark change from the bottom up.

"I'm trying to point out to folks that we can take matters into our own hands and we don't have to wait for the leaders to lead," Lee said.

Mimi and Steven White in Rye have taken a step toward this goal, attempting to use art to change people's behaviors, their perceptions and make an environmental statement. Mimi White, a member of the town's energy committee, linked up local artists with fellow laundry-hanging citizens to paint their clotheslines.

In November, the artists will hold an exhibit in Portsmouth, N.H., displaying clothesline art.

"I think if people come and see these clotheslines, even if they haven't painted them, even if they haven't hung their laundry out, they might begin to think, 'Look how beautiful,'" Mimi White said.

The major obstacle clothesline advocates face is to convince Americans that hanging out laundry is a beautiful way to help save the planet.

In the meantime, residents like Amelia McKenny are willing to keep drying outdoors.

"When you break rules, you have to do it slowly, so that people get used to knowing that it is a good thing," McKenny said. "Hanging out laundry is chic now."

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