Thank you. This is a time of reflection for me. I know that I will not be done with this work tomorrow or on Monday. It is my Life Work, the title of a lovely short book by Donald Hall, the former poet laureate of the United States who lives in New Hampshire. Nevertheless, as I enter this new phase, there is much to contemplate. Most of all I am grateful to all of you and that we have this one wild and precious life to live.
Welcome, Clothes Peggers! If you know something about laundry, then this is the place to share it.
As many of you know, I will be leaving my post as Executive Director for Project Laundry List on Dec. 31, traveling to Changchun, Jilin Province, CHINA in February, and taking up as a teacher of English. If you wish to follow my travels, please visit www.waking-green-dragon.com and sign up for updates.
I will be reporting on the status of consumerism and learning about energy issues in my free time. I hope that you will stay engaged.
Dear Mr. Will,
As a child in the early 1980s, I would rush to get my Newsweek from the mail and read with glee Meg Greenfield on the back page, but also George Will. I particularly liked George Will, even though I have never cared for baseball or sports generally, which is no doubt a testament to the weakness of my character and my general brokenness as a patriot and maybe even as a Christian.
It is hard for me to make sense of the well-meaning environmentalists, running around excitedly that President of the United States and the Governor of Illinois are installing solar panels. There is no doubt that we need to produce our energy in a different way. Even an old set of solar panels from the Jimmy Carter era are better than a coal plant. It is true that we need to keep apace with the Chinese to remain competitive on renewables development, but, I am sorry, as symbolic gestures go, this is the wrong one.
We are consuming millions of kilowatts around the nation running phantom loads and keeping our tumble dryers hot. See www.350.org/laundrylist. What we need is a President willing to talk about his clothesline and an Illinois Governor who issues a challenge for every executive mansion to have one, too. Those of us who advocate saving energy so that we do not need to generate it on our roofs are conservationists, not environmentalists. Environmentalists seem bound and determined to continue the myth, which makes us the envy of the world (often not in a constructive way), that Americans can solve all their problems through ingenuity and have their cakes and eat them, too.
On the other hand, conservationists understand that there must be some sacrifices made to meet our climate and energy security goals, but we also recognize that there are real human benefits to slowing down, doing things by hand, getting outside, etc. Solar panels do not facilitate this; clotheslines do. Phantom loads--that power which gets sucked off the grid by electronics that are not in use, like your cell phone charger--are just wasteful. Everybody needs to take personal responsibility to "inconvenience" themselves and unplug...not everybody can afford a solar panel, but we can all afford to use less electricity.