Clean laundry is about far more than our clothes...
When I was 18 years old, I spent a semester in Ecuador through an organization called Kroka Expeditions. With 13 other young people, I lived on a farm, learned Spanish, hiked for weeks in remote regions of the Andes, climbed the second highest active volcano in the world and visited two indigenous Quechua communities - one in the mountains and the other in the jungle. I'll never forget when Thomas, our lead teacher, told us "remember to come back from expedition with clean laundry."
He emphasized the importance of returning from wilderness expeditions with clean laundry, at least metaphorically. The concept is that if we live in the backcountry as if we're just barely surviving and come back to the realm of modern conveniences like electricity and running water dragging ourselves in and throwing our belongings down in a mess, we can't truly learn all that wild places have to teach us. We must learn to thrive without the technological aids many of us take for granted.
Years later and with a deeper understanding of environmental injustice and disparities in wealth, health and safety, this lesson takes on new meaning.
Access to stable electricity and clean water is tragically not a basic right afforded all people. 771 million people in the world live without clean water. Doing laundry without clean water, much less the luxury of a personal washing machine and drier, presents great challenges. Yet people across this beautiful planet we call home, survive, often thrive, despite all the odds stacked against them and find ways to stay clean. As Audre Lorde famously said “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
Coming home with clean laundry is not just about being comfortable in places far from human development. It is about maintaining our dignity no matter where we live or what barriers we face to living full, meaningful lives and taking responsibility for how our actions impact the world around us. Those of us with more resources and decision-making power have greater responsibility for addressing the devastating impact of climate change, wealth inequality and environmental injustice. These are wicked, complex problems, yet small actions lead to significant change when we work together. Even something as simple as how you wash your laundry can make a difference.
Thanks to Tru Earth's generous fundraising platform, you can now contribute to Water Wanderings' scholarship fund while ensuring your laundry products don't create unnecessary waste! Their laundry strips are zero waste, lightweight, and they work great. I love using them and I hope you will too. 20% of the proceeds will go towards our scholarship fund if you choose to invest in them (and our campers) using this link: tru-earth.sjv.io/waterwanderingswashes.