|Frilly grandmother nightgowns are warm, but....|
In an effort to save energy, I've been gradually turning down thermostats. We're down to 16C (60.8F) at night. My goal is 13C-14C (55.4-57.2F). The nuclear catastrophe in Japan is reminding me that although we are lucky to be living in a time and place of plenty, things might not always stay like that.
Thriftiness doesn't have to mean inferior quality. On the contrary. How well I slept during my childhood holidays spent at my grandparents' chalet in the Swiss Alps! Under layers of thick cotton sheets, wool blankets, and a huge puffy down comforter, I roasted even though the room was frigid. My sinuses felt great, my skin remained soft, and I felt truly rested upon waking.
Today, Swiss landlords are required to provide a minimum of 18C (64.4F) at night, which was regarded as "sick room" temperature fifty years ago. People who think they are luxuriating in 25C (77F) bedrooms are in fact ruining their health.
Electricity is too cheap. We leave lights burning in rooms we don't use. We leave appliances on. We overheat rooms. We unnecessarily light facades of buildings, creating light pollution.
My grandfather, who was an electrician, reprimanded me if I left lights burning in my room. He limited hot water use to the equivalent of three inches of lukewarm bathwater once a week. He shook his head and called us wasteful, when we asked for deeper, warmer, more frequent baths. So, my two brothers and I trudged over to the public swimming pool to shower every day. We were thrilled to find the "secret red button" in the garage turning on the water heater.
My grandfather had lived through two world wars and two depressions. He grew up without electricity. As a child, he had hungered; he had scythed and raked hay for entire days under a blistering sun; he had shoveled manure and milked cows in the evenings after school; he had lost brothers, sisters, and both parents due to poverty and disease. As a grown man, he had worked as a linesman during the day, as a musician at night, and as a farmhand on weekends. I understand him. He had lived without so much we take for granted today. He had understood the value of energy.
Following the Japanese earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear reactor meltdown, the need to conserve energy is made even more clear than before.
The true cost of nuclear power is unaffordable in both human and financial terms. Hopefully, politicians will discard the arguments of short-term profiteers who refuse to include the true cost of nuclear plant construction, safety precautions, waste storage, and plant decommissioning in their energy calculations.
I don't want to be wasteful. No do I want to look silly or frilly. So, I will persevere and find warm AND sexy pajamas. Then, I will sleep like a charm.