Our planet’s economic and environmental future hangs on an unlikely thread: the clothesline. British filmmaker Steven Lake criss-crosses the world to unravel the reasons and consequences for the banishing of the clotheslines in favour of tumble dryers. Corporate America sold us an electric dream: replacing simple centuries-old outdoors line-drying with the electricity hungry dryer, increasing the demand for dirty coal energy across the globe. Now, developing nations are starting their own love affair with an electric utopia exponentially increasing the demands on an already threatened environment. From the laundry-less gardens of sunny California to India’s communal open air Laundromats, DRYING FOR FREEDOM is a voyage into the new environmental battlefield where money, status and class come first and our planet is a poor second.
Global warming is the increase in the average temperature of Earth’s near-surface air and oceans since the mid-20th century and its projected continuation. According to the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global surface temperature increased during the 20th century. Most of the observed temperature increase since the middle of the 20th century was caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases, which results from human activity such as fossil fuel burning and deforestation.
Greenhouse gases are gases in our atmosphere that absorb and emit radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect leading to the warming of the planet. The main greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere are water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone. The contribution to the greenhouse effect by a gas is affected by both the characteristics of the gas and its abundance. For example, methane is about eighty times stronger greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, but it is present in much smaller concentrations so that its total contribution is smaller. When these gases are ranked by their contribution to the greenhouse effect, the most important is Carbon dioxide.
CARBON DIOXIDE INFO
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom. It is a gas at standard temperature and pressure and exists in Earth’s atmosphere in this state. CO2 is a trace gas comprising 0.039% of the atmosphere.
Carbon dioxide is a colourless odourless gas (at low concentrations) and was one of the first gases to be described as a substance distinct from air. In the seventeenth century, the Flemish chemist Jan Baptist van Helmont observed that when he burned charcoal in a closed vessel, the mass of the resulting ash was much less than that of the original charcoal. His interpretation was that the rest of the charcoal had been transmuted into an invisible substance he termed a “gas” or “wild spirit” – Carbon dioxide was born. The properties of carbon dioxide were studied more thoroughly in the 1750s by the Scottish physician Joseph Black who is generally attributed to the scientist who discovered Carbon dioxide in 1973.
CARBON DIOXIDE AND THE ENVIRONMENT
The link between Carbon dioxide and the environment was first suggested in 1827 by Jean-Baptiste Fourier who theorized that an atmospheric effect kept the earth warmer than it would otherwise be – he used the analogy of a greenhouse. Finally, in 1896, Svante Arrhenius proposed that carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of coal would enhance the earth’s greenhouse effect and lead to global warming. In 1967, a computer simulation calculated that global temperatures might increase by more than 4 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on carbon dioxide levels. 20 years later, an ice core from Antarctica revealed a link between carbon dioxide levels and temperature going back more than 100,000 years. Warnings like these encouraged international actions on climate change.
In 1979, the world held its first climate conference. The conference called on governments “to foresee and prevent potential man-made changes in climate” and the modern-day climate debate commenced.
Project Laundry List leads the air-drying and cold-water washing revolution in America. The organisation provides an online source for information about simple, effective ways to save energy and money through environmental laundry practices. Project Laundry List was founded in 1995 when Dr. Helen Caldicott gave a speech at a Middlebury College symposium in which she said, “If we all did things like hang out our clothes, we could shut down the nuclear industry”
PLL Founder and current Executive Director Alexander Lee took this concept grew it into a stand-alone, non-profit organisation. They are the driving force of the “Right to Dry” movement with lots of fun programs intended to engage regular Americans in the fun, effective, and engaging work of saving money and money while reducing pollution.
Project Laundry List and a range of other organisations have been campaigning against legislation which has outlawed line-drying of clothing in public places, especially given the increased greenhouse gas emissions produced by clothes dryers.
The documentary reveals how people are campaigning against outdoor clothes drying and how society has created new laws prohibiting drying clothes on a washing line. The film explores how countless communities are fighting for their right to dry naturally signifying that our future is hanging on the line.
If your community has an outdoor clothesline ban, you can take action and make a change. Download the example RIGHT TO DRY Bill here and send it to your local government and click here to get more involved!
Seventh Generation, the nation’s leading brand of non-toxic and environmentally friendly household and personal care products, is challenging Americans to change the way they do their laundry.
Seventh Generation is asking consumers to take a seven-day challenge where they wash their clothes in cold water with Seventh Generation liquid laundry detergent and line dry them on a clothesline or drying rack. According to Seventh Generation’s survey, currently one third (27%) of people never line dry and only 22% currently wash all of their clothes in cold water.
Tackling climate change is one of the biggest challenges this generation faces, and the first step is to understand exactly what it is. The second step is to find out how you can take small steps to reduce your own carbon footprint by reducing domestic carbon emissions. The documentary explores how electric clothes drying has a significant impact on the planet and the table below indicated the amount of CO2 released by a range of typical domestic home products we use every day.
An Australian icon, Hills Clotheslines leads the way in clothesline design, manufacture and distribution. Since Lance Hill first developed the internationally known Hills Hoist in 1945, Hills Clotheslines. has progressed to meet the ever-changing needs of the population with quality indoor and outdoor drying products. Known worldwide for quality, durability and sustainability, Hills clotheslines and laundry products provides you with the ability to save – money, energy and the environment. Whether you live in a small apartment, condo, townhouse, home, farm or sprawling estate Hills has a line drying solution for you! Hills clotheslines have been an Australian institution for over 60 years. Dependable, durable and engineered to perfection you can be confident that your Hills product is built to last.
BREEZE DRYER, LLC
Breeze Dryer is a family-run business and proud to be the first American distributor of the iconic line of Hills clotheslines and drying racks. BreezeDryer.com offers a variety of clothesline solutions to meet any clothes drying need, and create a more energy efficient home and a cleaner environment. Whether you’re hanging your laundry because you want to save energy and money or because you simply enjoy it, this is not your Grandma’s clothesline.
“I just received my Hills Hoist Rotary as a Mother’s Day gift. I am delighted!! I love hanging my laundry outside. Previously, I had those clunky old T-post clothesline poles, & they were an eyesore in the yard. THANKS!!” S.D.
“Absolutely love my Forest Glade Rotary! Had to replace my 15-year-old line dryer, and wanted something more heavy duty. The line spacing is perfect, and the clothes come out so soft. This is just the right size for my family of 4.” A.S.
Contrary to what you may have heard, it is easy to be “green”. The simple act of line drying can reap “green” rewards, both personally and globally. To learn more about Hills products please visit: