People- and Planet-Friendly
Home | Calendar | GoodWork | Post an Event/Job | Links | Forum | Search | About | Contact | Donate

Shirts off for the Planet
(a People- & Planet-Friendly Portal & Guide)

Here we are, living in an age where our very survival is threatened by environmental decline and an increasingly unstable climate.

So what do we do when the weather gets hot? We turn on the air conditioning! Rather than cooling ourselves, we cool entire buildings. Just to keep cool, we send fossil fuel up the chimney and split billions of atoms into a legacy of radioactive waste. Just to keep cool, we're warming the planet.

Why don't we just take our shirts off?

Now, seriously folks. I'm sitting here wearing a T-shirt and shorts. The air conditioner is rattling away, but I feel stifled. The sky outside is just a little smoggy; I keep wondering whether the power will go out again. It's enough to create a sense of foreboding – and a twinge of conscience. I'm trapped in a jail of my own making.

So I turn off the so-called "air". I turn on the fan, open the window and take off my shirt. I can hear the birds and the kids playing in the street – I can even feel the breeze. It no longer feels like I'm missing the day. Instead of running from the world, I am again part of it.

For years we've been brainwashed by the advertising industry to feel ashamed of our bodies. To believe that sweat is disgusting – while the chemical stench of deodorants, hairsprays and perfumes is somehow acceptable. We've been conditioned to feel that bleached, dry-cleaned clothing is a sign of class and credibility... to regard well-used clothes (heaven forbid shirtlessness) as a sign of poverty, or the exclusive domain of the young and beautiful.

When will we stop letting such obsolete notions get in the way of our health and happiness?

In so many ways, a changing environment is forcing us to reconsider our priorities, personal behaviour and social norms. Air conditioning and clothing are two examples. Maybe it's time to start the discussion – in our homes, schools and workplaces. Maybe it's time to rethink our ways, to rediscover simple ways of living that are healthy for people and the planet.

Whether or not you're ready to doff your shirt to save the planet, there are plenty of less "extreme" measures, ranging from installing ceiling fans, to eating a healthy diet, to planting trees. Please see the Alternatives to Air Conditioning page, and for many more ideas, services and products, see the Sustainable Living page.

Which is more important: our silly, self-conscious pretensions – or our children's survival?

– Peter Blanchard

People- & Planet-Friendly Events & Resources

Related Links, Ideas & Resources

People- & Planet-Friendly Events & Resources

Alternatives to Air Conditioning

Dressing for Hot Weather
Healthy, Natural Clothing – Avoid Dry Cleaning, Chlorine Bleach and other Toxic Products & Services
Green Shopping

Sustainable Living Links
Healthy Living & Children's Environmental Health

Nudism, Naturism & Toplessness

The Blackout, Energy and You
Green, Renewable Energy

Climate Change (formerly known as "Global Warming")
101 Solutions

Peter Blanchard

People- & Planet-Friendly Events & Resources

( homepage | subscribe questions | powered by )

People- & Planet-Friendly Events & Resources

People- & Planet-Friendly | GoodWork Canada |
an inspiring diversity of ideas, opportunities and things to do