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When people think of actions they can take to cut their global warming pollution, they typically think first of big, high-tech changes like buying an electric car or installing solar panels on their home. These can certainly have a large impact, but they typically require a big expenditure up-front (even though they will save you money over time on energy costs and maintenance) so aren’t a viable option for many people.

But there are other, simple and affordable actions pretty much anyone can take to cut their fossil energy use and all the pollution that comes from burning coal and natural gas. One example is wearing multiple layers of clothing indoors when it’s cold outside, starting with a base layer of long underwear. Not only does this enable you to set your thermostat lower, it actually works better to keep you warm than setting the temperature higher and reheating the air in your home over and over and over again. Additional layers of clothing enable us to retain more of the heat our bodies produce.

By John Fish. John is the Red Bridge Recycling Manager & Litter and Green Events Program Associate at BTG.

Any long underwear will help you stay warmer, but many brands use fabric that blends polyester – that is, plastic – and conventional cotton. Others are blends made primarily of polyester with spandex, another kind of plastic, for elasticity. The problem with these brands is that polyester sheds plastic microfibers not only when washed and machine-dried but simply while being worn, so wearing polyester clothing worsens the plastic pollution crisis.

In my opinion, 100% cotton long underwear is a better option, but conventional cotton production relies on multiple highly-toxic biocides and synthetic fertilizers and uses a great deal of water, polluting it in the process. It is arguably the most toxic crop in the world because it’s not grown primarily to be eaten (though cottonseed oil ends up in many processed foods).

Fortunately, there are brands that make long johns and true thermal underwear out of certified organic cotton. Some examples:

BGreen Apparel sells long johns for men as well as thermal tops and bottoms for both women and men, and they’re also made in the USA rather than in an oppressive, dangerous sweatshop overseas.

Pact sells women’s and kids legging that can be worn as a base layer, and they’re Fair Trade Certified.

Little Spruce Organics sells women’s long johns.

Cottonique sells thermal tops and bottoms for both women and men that are 100% hypoallergenic, as well.

As with pretty much everything we buy, there are trade-offs to be considered. However you weigh them, layering to retain your own body heat and then setting your thermostat lower is a simple yet effective way to take climate action every day you heat your house.