A simple piece of clothesline hangs between some environmentally friendly Americans and their neighbors.
On one side stand those who see clothes dryers (干衣机) as a waste of energy and a major polluter of the environment. As a result, they are turning to clotheslines as part of the “what-I-can-do environmentalism (环境保护主义).”
On the other side are people who are against drying clothes outside, arguing that clotheslines are unpleasant to look at. They have persuaded Homeowners Associations (HOAs) access the U.S. to ban outdoor clotheslines, because clothesline drying also tends to lower home value in the neighborhood. This has led to a Right-to-Dry Movement that is calling for laws to be passed to protect people’s right to use clotheslines.
So far, only three states have laws to protect clothesline. Right-to-Dry supporters argue that there should be more.
Matt Reck, 37, is the kind of eco-conscious (有生态意识的) person who feeds his trees with bathwater and reuses water drops from his air conditioners to water plants. His family also uses a clothesline. But on July 9, 2007, the HOA in Wake Forest, North Carolina, told him that a dissatisfied neighbor had telephoned them about his clothesline. The Recks paid no attention to the warning and still dried their clothes on a line in the yard. “Many people say they are environmentally friendly but they don’t take matters into their own hands,” says Reck. The local HOA has decided not to take any action, unless more neighbors come to them.
North Carolina lawmakers are saying that banning clotheslines is not the right thing to do. But HOAs and housing businesses believe that clothesline drying reminds people of poor neighborhoods. They worry that if buyers think their future neighbors can’t even afford dryers, housing prices will fall.
Environmentalists say such worries are not necessary, and in view of global warming, that idea needs to change. As they say, “The clothesline is beautiful. Hanging clothes outside should be encouraged. We all have to do at least something to slow down the process of global warming.”