Off-Grid Living Workshop: Choosing Land

A teacher once told me, "It takes money to save money, and it takes money to save energy." I have a dream to live off-grid and sustainably. I don't have much money. How will this work? Two options: (1) work within the system for a few years in order to gain enough income to start migrating off-grid (2) maintain my lifestyle.

How have native communities lived in our world for millenia without disturbing the balance of nature? Our lives are very simple, yet very deep and intertwined with the forces of nature. Our spiritualities are inseperable with the physical and social realms, thus awareness of 'one's debts to the land' are directly witnessed through consequences (floods/fires) and rewards (fertile lands). Over-exploitation of a resource (i.e. water) leads to environmental (desertification) and social effects (death). Western societies view many concerning environmental issues through an analytical and technological lens. For instance, if water is scarce because we sucked too much out of the aquifer, then the tehcnological fix would be to use desalinators to provide more water, this takes money, not for me. An alternative way to tackle the problem of scarce water resources is to migrate to a place where they are abundant (as we've done throughout history), and establish wise-use protocals dealing with the renewable and non-renewable resources. Children would have to be educated about how important water is and how to take care of it (i.e. build rain water catchments, don't water lawns, don't even use non-native grasses that require lots of water, clean up all toxic spills, recycle water through gardening, etc.) Communities will have to work together to monitor and develop wise-use practices, involving everything from drinking water to irrigation. Already these ideas are comming alive (Earthships) because our resources are dying.

What I'm getting at, it is not something you buy at wal-mart that's going to save electricity or save our planet, it is something that grows within your soul... a passion to promote harmony, an understandting to live humbly, and a respect for the rest of creation (trees, animals, air, water, etc). Sure the new 'green' technologies do save wattage and fuel, but it does nothing to stop our habits and change our lifestyles, instead it empowers our constant and obsessive routines of natural resource consumption. Change must come from within, from the choices you make. To have a television or to go live outside, that is the question. Our civlizations have exponentially grown unchecked in the last 200 years and look at the mess we made, hopefully in 200 more years we can get back to our roots, back to our lands and farms and teach our kids to remain ever so simply and at peace with the rest of Creation. We have a lot of work to do, but first things first, how many things do you need to live happily?

Idea: use grapevines to cover those south facing windows in the summer to keep the sun out.

We used a rain bucket at the Shuyak State Park in Alaska. Very simple, a giant tube attached to the gutter, that led to a 200 gallon plastic tank. The tank was scrubbed clean of green stuff every few weeks. Water was boiled for a few minutes and filtered through a non-electric purifier prior to drinking. Simple, easy, free, thank you rain and no thank you Bald Eagles.

Do EAs (Environmental Assessments) before any big project.

Thanks Sheri for the all-around presentatin.