Six years ago we gave away our television. About the same time, away went the microwave. The clothes dryer departed four years ago, and the dishwasher disappeared last year.
Now my sights are set on the refrigerator.
Yes, really. Greenpa has done it for thirty years. Um, and most humans around the world today and throughout history everywhere have lived without a refrigerator. Why does this sound so radical anyway?
We have not missed the TV, the microwave, the clothes dryer, or the dishwasher. Seriously, not even the dishwasher. We have enjoyed the extra space these appliances left behind; the lower electric and gas bills; the pleasures of playing games, reading books, playing music on the front porch; clothes that smell fresh and breezy and don’t go pilly or threadbare so fast; sparkling-clean dishes and solitude in front of the kitchen window while washing them.
Developing nations are developing fast, and their large upwardly-mobile populations look to western nations like mine for information about how rich people live. The refrigerator has become one of the top status symbols. A world full of refrigerators in the face of global warming doesn’t sound like a good idea to me.
After we unplug the fridge (which I plan to do this week after we use up the last of the processed perishables), we will still be running the chest freezer, the computers, the food dehydrator (a new appliance purchase last year), the car, the lights, the water heater . . . with all of our “counter-cultural” lifestyle choices, we are still using more than our fair share of the earth’s resources.
But it’s another baby step towards a sustainable world, and, like the other choices we’ve made along this path, I expect it will simultaneously be a step towards more joy and celebration in our everyday lives.
[After we pull the plug, I hope to do another more practical post about how we function without a fridge – but in the meantime, you can start by reading Greenpa’s post linked above, as well as the many comments on that post, or just google “living without a fridge” or “fridge-free” or such, and you may be surprised at how many westerners are talking about this!]