750,000 U.S. Households have gone off-the-Grid
Documentarian and journalist Nick Rosen discussed living off-the-grid, typically in alternative communities. This means living independently of the utility companies, and providing your own power, “but it does not mean living in the Stone Age,” he explained. “It’s about being more self reliant, being less dependent on the system, and realizing we have to look after ourselves,” he added. Rosen bought a hut and some land in Spain along the Mediterranean and was able to go off-the-grid using such things as solar panels and rainwater harvesting. His website offers an interactive section called Landbuddy for people to help each other go off-grid in their local regions.
Some 750,000 households in America have gone off-the-grid, and this trend is growing at 10-15% a year, he reported. He traveled to various parts of the country documenting how people and communities were successfully becoming independent. Interestingly, he noted that powerful groups like the Bilderbergers and Trilateral Commission sought to keep the old inefficient energy systems in place, to protect their investments, but the off-the-grid movement serves as an alternative to this kind of centralized power and control.
Nick Rosen is an award winning documentary maker, journalist, and broadcaster. He has made films for CBS 60 Minutes and PBS Frontline and has written for the Washington Post and Reuters. Born and based in London, England, he has often lived and worked in the US. He says when he wants to know what the future holds, he comes to America.
Over the past two decades he has been a Teaching Assistant at the Georgetown University Philosophy Department, a journalist in San Francisco and a documentary filmmaker in New York. Nick is an off-grid expert, editing the website http://www.off-grid.net, and since 1994 has been off the grid part-time.
The term off-grid refers to not being connected to a grid, mainly used in terms of not being connected to the main or national transmission grid in electricity. In electricity off-grid can be stand-alone systems (SHS) or mini-grids typically to provide a smaller community with electricity. Off-grid electrification is an approach to access electricity used in countries and areas with little access to electricity, due to scattered or distant population.
Off-the-grid homes are autonomous; they do not rely on municipal water supply, sewer, natural gas, electrical power grid, or similar utility services. A true off-grid house is able to operate completely independently of all traditional public utility services. The idea has been recently popularized by certain celebrities including Ed Begley, Jr. who stars in Living with Ed television show on the Home & Garden Television network. Actress Daryl Hannah promotes off-grid living and constructed her home in Colorado according to those principles, as does survival expert and Dual Survival co-star Cody Lundin.
Electrical power can be generated on-site with renewable energy sources such as solar, wind or geothermal; with a generator and adequate fuel reserves; or simply done without, as in Amish and Old Order Mennonite communities. Such a system is called a stand-alone power system.
On-site water sources can include a well, stream, or lake. Depending on the water source, this may include pumps and/or filtration. Rainwater can also be harvested.
Survivalism is a movement of individuals or groups (called survivalists or preppers) who are actively preparing for emergencies as well as possible disruptions in social or political order, on scales ranging from local to international. Survivalists often have emergency medical and self-defence training, stockpile food and water, prepare for self-sufficiency, and build structures that will help them survive or “disappear” (e.g. a survival retreat or underground shelter).
Anticipated disruptions include the following:
Clusters of natural disasters, patterns of apocalyptic planetary crises, or Earth Changes (tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, blizzards, solar storms, severe thunderstorms). A disaster caused by the activities of humankind (chemical spills, release of radioactive materials, nuclear or conventional war, oppressive governments). The general collapse of society caused by the shortage or unavailability of resources such as electricity, fuel, food, or water. Financial disruption or economic collapse (caused by monetary manipulation, hyperinflation, deflation, or depression). A global pandemic. Widespread chaos or some other unexplained apocalyptic event.
Concepts Everyday carry EDC First aid and wilderness first aid Intentional community Off-the-grid Law of Life living off the land Peakist Portable water purification Primitive skills Survival skills