off grid communities

Going off the grid: Why more people are choosing to live life unplugged

For people who want to get away from today’s consumerist society, living off-grid can be an attractive option.

Imagine living off the land, producing your own food and energy and getting away from the consumption economy that drives so many of our decisions. For more and more people, off-grid living has become the way to go. Although statistics on Americans who choose to take this route are hard to come by, trends suggest that the number is increasing. Some people do it to be self-reliant or more in touch with nature. Many go off-grid to step away from society. Still others do it because it is the most financially viable option available to them.

“Going off the grid is not a game,” says Nick Rosen, founder of the Off-Grid website and author of “Off the Grid: Inside the Movement for More Space, Less Government, and True Independence in Modern America” (Penguin Books). “It is real life and a real choice for real people.”

Rosen says people go off the grid for a variety of reasons, and they vary how deeply they go off-grid. “You can’t get off all of the grids all the time,” he says. “It’s a question of which grids you choose to get off of and in what way and for how long.” Some people live off the grid part of the year for leisure purposes, taking a few months off from their jobs so they can live in a more relaxed manner. Others get themselves off the public electrical or water systems but still participate in what Rosen calls the “car grid” or the “supermarket grid” or “bank grid.”

Off-grid is green
Book cover for Off the Grid by Nick RosenAlthough a desire to go green isn’t usually the primary driver for people going off-grid, the lifestyle has many environmental benefits. For one thing, most off-grid homes or communities are in places where nature plays an important part of their everyday lives. “You become much more aware of the sun and the wind because you need it to power yourself,” Rosen says. For another, people who are living off-grid do not tend to fill their lives with the same amount of stuff as your average consumer. “We’re all consuming too much. One of the big motivations for off-grid living is a weariness of the consumer society. It’s not necessarily anti-consumer, but post-consumer.”

Off-grid homes also eschew the American tendency toward overly large residences. “We’re over-housing ourselves,” Rosen says. “That’s been very big feature of American society since the ‘50s: The overly large house with the big heating and cooling bills, storing vast amounts of unnecessary possessions.” Although off-grid housing varies in size and scope and energy needs, Rosen estimates that the average off-grid residence uses about 20 percent of the energy consumed by a typical American home.

Another green factor is a lowered reliance on transportation. Although people living off the grid still own vehicles, they use them much less frequently. “You may only need it once a week or once a month,” Rosen says.

Other motivations: Fear and finances
Some off-grid people do it to get away. “Perhaps the biggest motivation at the moment is a loss of trust in the government and the ability of social networks to look after us,” Rosen says. These are people who feel as if society no longer provides the sense of safety that they require.

For others, going off-grid is an economic necessity brought about by hard times. “A lot of the people I met when I was traveling around the States writing my book were people who had to hand back the keys to their properties and find a new lifestyle. In one case they bought some land on eBay and moved themselves into a trailer. And they find themselves living a more ecological lifestyle just by the fact that they’re generating their own electricity and growing their own food, but they were motivated by financial matters rather than by more pure desire to tread more lightly on the planet.”

How much do you really need?
Rosen says most families could go off the grid with as little as a half an acre, “as long as it’s the right half-acre.” Ideal locations would have some woodland, an area for agriculture, enough light for solar power and a good source of water, either a well or a stream. “The era of 40 acres and a mule has been replaced by the era of a half an acre and a laptop and a solar panel,” he says.

But even a half an acre can be a lot of work — too much for most people, Rosen says. “You’re giving yourself a lot to do if you’re running your own power plant, dealing with your own water supply, disposing of your own waste and pulling your own food.”

Instead of going it alone, many people form off-grid communities. “The best way to get off-grid is to go off with others in a group of families, so each have half an acre and share resources and skills,” Rosen says. “One is tending livestock and one is growing vegetables, while a third is looking after the power supply for everybody else.”

The next generation?
Going off the grid today doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel. “The existence of the Internet that has made living off the grid a real choice and a real possibility for so many people,” Rosen says. Websites like his own provide lessons and plans and advice for off-grid living, as well as a sense of community for people who might otherwise be physically isolated from each other.

In addition, some off-the-grid communities are ready for new people to join them. “There’s a huge generation of 1970s back-to-the-land movement people who are now getting pretty old and they’re sitting on these huge tracks of land that can’t be broken up,” Rosen says. These communities are looking for young people to buy their way in. “The idea of land trusts is being used as a way these older people can get some new residents to help look after them and then work on the land or take over part of the land as the older generation dies out.”

Rosen says his own ambition is to create an off-grid village of 300 or so homes in his native England, provided he can find a local zoning board willing to allow it. “I think there’s a huge demand for off-grid living that can’t be satisfied because the places where you’d want to live off the grid are the places you can’t get permission to do so,” he says.

Written by: John Platt

crystalizedforest  asked:

primitive skills question: I want to take wilderness survival courses but holy gods they're so expensive!! do you have any recommendations on books that can teach me the theories? also, do you know how you would go about finding legally if it's okay to light primitive fires in your backyard? thank you so much!!

Woohoo! This is exactly the kind of question I love getting. And bear with me because this warrants something of a long answer, as I think it’s important for folks to know more about (that’s also why I’m answering this here instead of making it part of the Secret Side Blog Patreon thing). 

To start: I’m located in the Pacific Northwest, so most of the locations I’ll be talking about are also based around this region. However, you can still apply the notions to other areas of the USA, and use some of the following links to get connected with people in the wilderness skills and primitive survival industries; I’m sure that many would be happy to help folks find programs closer to home!

If you want to get involved with primitive skills in a hands-on capacity, nothing beats learning from those with experience. There are good books on the subject, and YouTube is a wealth of information, as well! But if you’ve got the time for taking courses, you may also have the time to do a work away or WWOOF with farms that have a specific focus in this particular field. 

Prime example: We attend Okanogan Barter Faire each year with our friends from the Wilderbabes primitive school in Washington State. They offer classes for all age groups, but also have programs available for folks who wish to live and stay on the property in exchange for manual labor. You get to learn new skills, help out around the farm, and they provide room and board. Katie is fantastic (and totally adorable), so if you’re in the area and have the time, jump contact her ASAP! 

Another option which does admittedly cost money, but which is still far less expensive than taking full immersion classes, is to attend primitive skills festivals and gatherings. In Oregon, our most well-known event is called Echoes in Time. My partner, Danny, has attended two years in a row now and always returns with a wealth of information! His specific focus is always medicinal plants and wild harvesting, but last year, he took a class from friends of ours who build primitive longbows. Here’s a website which lists all similar events across the country! 

Going back to the Workaway suggestion, I found multiple awesome opportunities around the world by using the keyword “wilderness” for search results. Everything from building off-grid communities in Switzerland to helping restore historic hunting lodges in Quebec. These Workaway experiences are fantastic ways to get hands-on experience while also travelling the world and learning how to exist outside your daily bubble. We even have a Workaway program for the Mini-Farm, but the space is currently occupied, and likely will be until we finalize our move. 

WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) is a cool program that’s similar to Workaway, except that it puts a focus on organic farming. Danny just spent three months WOOFFing at different establishments across the West Coast, and previously spent half a year in Australia doing the same. While organic farming isn’t quite the same thing as wilderness survival or primitive skills, elements of the latter certainly play heavily into the experience of WWOOFing. Some farms teach tanning, firebuilding, primitive shelters, and offer basic courses on wilderness first aid. It’s another great way to get out there and experience new things while remaining relatively low-cost. 

Lastly, in regards to building backyard fires - Each city likely has a different ordinance in regards to this topic. Ours, for example, doesn’t allow people to burn anything outside of certain times of the year unless we’re outside of city limits, at which point it’s dependent upon county regulations instead. Your best bet would be contact your local city hall and try to get in contact with someone who has the pertinent information. 

Hope this helps! 

I wish there was an actually interesting counter culture these days, all you get it is furry communists and anime loli alt righters and other stupid ass shit

Activity- Worldbuilding! Here’s what ive built on it so far:

“A small, off the grid desert community, based on places like ‘Slab City’, set in something like Arizona.

Comprised of several small families or gangs, only just on the cusp of developing a structure; leaders are only just beginning to step up outside their gangs, community values are only just taking shape in the form of teamwork to stop the outside world invading. The closest ‘civilization’ is a roadhouse 6k in one direction and an established backwater town 6k in the other, residents from Cholla Junction will do basic shopping and stock water here.

Most residents earn money in illegal pursuits, many (such as the lead character) are bikers. The rules are usually simple but vary from gang to gang, don’t murder within the Junctions boundaries, don’t snitch, don’t clash with another gangs ‘enterprises’.

La Pain herself has taken a little too well to the lifestyle; a clear outsider in the beginning, she overcompensated for this by putting forth her most violent and reprehensible qualities, still keeping her somewhat alienated, as most in the Junction are actually quite level-headed. Luckily for her, they tolerate these qualities because of her size, her patient gang members/begrudging friends keeping her in check, her non-threatening appearance, and ability to get things done. Eats lizards and bugs even though there are plenty of other food sources available.”

4

Day 4 WWOOFing at an off the grid ex-commune deep in the mountains surrounding Mt. Hood. Solar and hydro-electricity, compost toilets, tent camping deep in the forest. Can’t get any more In The Shit, on this continent at least. Most beautiful place in America.

beauty-with-n  asked:

I was considering doing something with finance as a career..what exactly are you going to do as an accountant? Just wondering..

Be a CPA - make a bunch of money - quit -  buy a bunch of land - start an off the grid community where the homeless and others who wish to live off the grid can thrive and feel like they are a part of something that matters.

*puts my phone on airplane mode so no one can reach me and I can have blessed off-the-grid time to commune with myself and nature like my ancestors*

*takes my phone off airplane mode every 15 minutes to see if someone has tried to reach me*

it begins again.

if you plan to protest, stay safe, alert, know your rights AS WELL AS police rights for protest/riot situations. a lot of protestors are choosing to leave their IDs/driver licenses at home - if you’re arrested, at least what I’ve heard from LA, they’re not letting protestors out of jail without identification. either tell someone beforehand where your ID will be or bring it with you.

do not attend a protest if you believe you have a warrant.

IF YOU ATTEND A PROTEST:
- do not touch the police
- make sure your phone has a lock code. this way, if you record police violence and are arrested and they seize your phone, they can’t delete the evidence.
- bring a bag or backpack to carry milk or a mix of liquid antacid/water if tear gas or mace is used

also consider downloading the ACLU “police tape” app (free, iPhone & android) & Firechat for off the grid communication up to 40-70 yards - twitter has been blacking out various hashtags that protestors have been using to communicate.

stay safe. stay active. stay focused on the message.

An AU where John Winchester runs one of those off the grid, anti-government communities. He would never call it a cult, but Jody Mills who’s been investigating him for the best part of five years would. 

John’s heir apparent is Dean, who’s just coming up to his eighteenth birthday. When Dean turns eighteen, he’ll be old enough to get married. Already, there is a lot of contention over who Dean should marry. The community practices polygamy, but the first wife or husband will always be the most powerful. 

Dean has his sights set on Castiel, a man who found the community almost by accident after a breakdown and decided to call it his home. By community standards, Castiel is unsuitable. He’s older than Dean, an outsider, a newcomer, someone who has obvious problems. People like him, he’s a good worker, a little odd but harmless, but that doesn’t mean they want him to be Dean’s husband. 

Castiel is completely oblivious to Dean’s interest in him. He assumes Dean is simply interested in bees when he accompanies him to their hives every day, or that Dean wants to learn about seasonal vegetables when he helps Castiel bring in the harvest. 

John has noticed Dean’s attentions towards Castiel however, and he sets out to thwart that possible match by making Castiel one of his own. After all, Castiel might be touched, but he’s pretty and half John’s age. Besides, it for the good of the community that John marries Castiel and takes that temptation away from Dean.