My neighborhood has very little zoning. Old bungalows from the 1950s reside next to mansions with multimillion-dollar views of the sparkling Pacific Ocean. They call La Jolla, California “the jewel” in real estate parlance.
About 6 months ago, a single white male from Memphis, Tennessee moved into the bungalow directly across the street from me. It’s a weird little house, with a retaining wall for a backyard, and a little pad of front yard above a short steep hillside. Two enormous mansions bear down on him from above, higher up on the mountain.
I’ve been curious about why he hangs his laundry in his front yard, for the neighborhood to see; underwear, socks, sheets, undershirts, everything. I admit I find it odd, and certainly unusual as not one other house here has this practice.
Today after I pulled into my garage and got out of the car he said “hi.” He was out there in his front yard with his clothesline.
“I’m curious, don’t you have a dryer?” I inquired.
“Yes, I have a dryer, but it runs on gas and I’m an environmentalist,” he responded.
“Is there any room to hang your laundry in the back?”
“No, there is just a wall back there. Why… don’t you like it?”
“Well, I try not to have a judgment about it, but it is unusual. I thought the environment might be your rational. One of the other neighbors suggested we buy you a dryer!”
“Really, this is a point of education. I would love to have the opportunity to talk to anyone who has an issue with this, because I don’t see anyone in this neighborhood doing ANYTHING about the biggest crisis on our planet. At least I’m doing something.”
“I think people might be doing less visible things,” I suggested gently. “And I’m not sure how much it helps not using your dryer?”
“All the little things add up. If we all did a few little things to save the planet, it would help protect this place for future generations.”
In my mind, I was thinking about agriculture and meat production, fuel, and all the big-ticket items that every country that has a moral conscience (shame on us in the USA) are working together in the Paris Climate Accord to address.
My neighbor’s philosophy was so well said, and rang so true, that it made me feel better about seeing his “tighty-whities” hanging in front of his house.
What can we do individually that collectively adds to the movement?