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Save the Planet: Retire Naked

You've heard of forsaking plastic straws and taking shorter showers to save the environment, but have you ever thought about ditching your clothes?

By Erich Schuttauf, Esq.

For many of us, as we coast into retirement life leaving behind the daily stress of the workplace, our awareness of the impact our actions have on our local environment and the planet takes on greater significance. 

One lesser-known, but formidably eco-conscious group within the ranks of retirees is that of naturists. Naturists are individuals who enjoy the great outdoors in nothing more than what nature has given them — a skin to enjoy the warmth of the sun and the refreshing waters of a cooling stream. Nudists, particularly, are extremely conscious of serving Mother Earth as thoughtful, proactive environmental stewards.

Within this subset of “naturist retirees,” you will find an overwhelming number of environmentally savvy active participants in ecologically-minded undertakings within their nudist communities. They also serve as good neighbors in outlying areas participating in beach and roadside cleanups, conservation programs, butterfly releases, community gardening, hiking trail maintenance, blood drives, charitable fun runs, and more.

In their daily lives, nudists within their retirement communities take a variety of steps to reduce and offset their carbon footprint — ways that even non-nudists can follow. The American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR) offers lifestyle changes you too can adopt to have a more carbon-friendly impact in the comfort of your own home:

  • Rid yourself of restrictive clothing to do your chores. By doing so you sweat less and won’t dirty an outfit.
  • Conduct your yoga, Pilates, or other exercise routines au natural. Again, all you’ll need to clean afterward is your towel and exercise mat!
  • By housekeeping and exercising in the nude, you not only sweat less but also won’t dirty clothes. Doing so can also keep the air-conditioning bill down and reduce your amount of laundry loads, too. In the sunbelt, by turning up your central air conditioning thermostat one degree, fuel consumption can be cut by as much as 10%.

As mentioned, these practices will contribute to shrinking your clothes washing load. Typical (versus energy efficient) top-load electric clothes washers and dryers generate 5 pounds of CO2 per washer/dryer cycle. Given laundry machines are used an average of 4 times a week, that’s 20 pounds a week, 80 a month, and 960 pounds of CO2 a year. The typical nudist family will use the washer and dryer about half that. Within the American Association for Nude Recreation membership, it’s a collective savings of 24,000,000 pounds of CO2.

In the book “Overdressed: The High Cost of Cheap Fashion” by Elizabeth L. Cline, the author theorizes that consumerism, fashion trends, and social media’s “relentless image consciousness” contribute to a desire for what the author terms “disposable clothing.” She believes any consumer can walk into a low-cost shop and purchase clothing for under $10 that will only last long enough for the trend to pass. She argues that this disposable clothing damages not only the economy but our environment.

Members of the American Association for Nude Recreation regularly participate in activities to help protect the environment from beach cleanups to, yes, clothing drives. Being good stewards of the environment is a basic tenet of the nudist and naturist lifestyle. Many feel they don't have a need for clothing trends dictated by social media and the fashion industry as they feel that wearing clothes creates a disconnect that damages their core being.

While on the topic of clothing, did you know polyester, a plastic, is found in almost every wardrobe in t-shirts, dresses, jeans, suits, sweat-wicking athletic wear, and even undergarments? Why not, like naturists, give a little help to Mother Earth by paring down your closet? The number of garments the world consumes is a growing ecological issue in energy necessary to produce. And once out of fashion, the inability of polyester fiber clothing to biodegrade puts an unnecessary added strain on the environment.

Despite all of the damage caused to the environment by man, most of it is reversible. As conscientious custodians we can restore habitats and return species to them; clean rivers; renovate buildings; replenish the topsoil and replant forests. Many nudists are closely connected to and get eagerly involved in the preservation of our nation’s beaches, parks, and other natural resources, and they are also committed to reducing their personal impact on the Earth’s resources. It makes sense that nudists are also called naturists.

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In awareness of current climate change issues, when the global population is encouraged to learn more about the threats to biodiversity, forests, energy, and water, an alternative getaway that aligns with such causes is available. One of the most sustainable and eco-friendly types of vacations one can take this summer is a Nakation℠ vacation — a clothing-optional getaway at a nudist resort affiliated with the American Association for Nude Recreation. As we struggle with the high price of gasoline, remember, that luggage contributes to the fuel economy, which is one reason why checking it on the airplane costs you. You won’t need more than a carry-on for a Nakation vacation out of state. You’ll travel light on road trips too. Did you know an extra 100 pounds in your vehicle reduces your car’s fuel economy by 2%? Those taking a Nakation vacation can pack less and travel more.

Clothing optional and clothes-free campgrounds and RV parks across the United States offer a way to escape the confines of the city, return to nature, and encourage getting comfortable with one’s own skin.

Think about the possibilities of a nude camping experience:

  • If you are not wearing any clothes then you have nowhere to put your cell phone… a true vacation or as AANR says, “a Nakation.”
  • Going for a skinny dip in a nearby stream or lake is sure to leave you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.
  • Imagine falling asleep — in the nude — listening to the sounds of nature outside your tent/camper as you gaze out at a star-studded sky.

Many naturists belong to organized groups such as the American Association for Nude Recreation or the Naturists Society. Still more folks, both young and old, experience naturism on their own or in small groups of like-minded family and friends. According to surveys, one-third of Americans have skinny-dipped. Which, based upon the latest U.S. Census, translates to roughly 110 million American skinny-dipping enthusiasts out of a population of over 331.9 million. Those who care deeply for the environment should consider testing the waters of nude recreation. You just might find in retirement it’s the most refreshing and rejuvenating of experiences that help prolong your life and that of planet Earth.

About the Author: Erich Schuttauf, Esq.

AANR Executive Director, was originally from Massachusetts, took his undergraduate degree in history at Purdue University, and received his J.D. from Duke University. He is licensed to practice law in the state of Florida and has served as AANR counsel for over twenty years. Based in the greater Orlando area, Erich is a devoted husband and father of four, a devout Christian, and a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

About AANR: For 90 years AANR has been the preeminent authority and voice in North America, staunchly protecting the freedoms and rights of those who participate in wholesome, family-style nude recreation.

Socially, AANR encourages Nakation℠ vacations as healthy, eco-friendly, transformational travel experiences while AANR’s membership demonstrates conclusively that life is enhanced by the naturalness of social nudity. From exercise to relaxation, a person’s physical, spiritual, and mental well-being is enriched through nude recreation and slumber.

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