Why Should You Move Off the Grid?

The answers are as varied as the individuals who choose this lifestyle. You may want to move off-grid because you’re looking for a “greener” lifestyle and want to lessen your carbon footprint. You don’t have to move out of town or even from your current residence to do this.

You can install solar-energy shingles on your roof or a geothermal heating and cooling system in your home. There are even designs for low-impact wind turbines that generate electricity. You can install energy-efficient appliances and low-water-use toilets and showerheads.

Implementing many of these measures will not only make an ecological statement, it will also save money in the long run.

You may want to move off-grid because you are looking for a simpler, back-to-basics lifestyle. Perhaps the hustle and bustle of the city is too much. You want to raise your children at a slower pace in a place where they can grow up understanding the benefits of hard work and responsibility.

Go Green: ditch the bottled water. Bottled water has a huge carbon footprint; it’s bottled at a central location in small plastic bottles and shipped all over. Try buying a reusable water bottle or canteen for your water. Many plastic water bottles are recycled, but most are not, making the footprint even bigger.

You want to feel the pleasure of a pantry stocked with jars of your own homemade preserves and pickles. You want to walk outside in the early morning light and scatter feed to your chickens and collect farm-fresh eggs. You want to gather your own vegetables and grow your own meat. You enjoy the security you feel knowing your family would be able to get by, no matter what the machinations of the economy.

You may decide to move off-grid because you are concerned with security. You don’t feel that the world is a safe place for you and your family, especially not in its large cities. You want to move to a place where you don’t rely on power grids that can be destroyed in terrorist attacks. You don’t want to be in a populated area where you might be a target for a biochemical or nuclear threat.

You are moving off-grid for safety and to create an independent lifestyle for yourself and the ones you love. You have a sense of urgency, and the sooner you can relocate, the better.

Finally, you might be considering living off the grid as a necessary option because of a financial setback. Living a back-to-basics and no-frills lifestyle might be what you need as you look for new employment or get out from under an upside-down mortgage. Many of the things you will read in this book will help you save money and learn to economize.

In March 2010, the U.S. Congress heard testimony about a scientific study that appeared in the journal Safety Science. This study presented a model of how an attack on a small, unimportant part of the U.S. power grid might be able to bring the whole grid down. A second article came out in the journal Nature the following month. This article presented a model of how a cascade of failing interconnected networks led to the 2003 blackout in Italy.

However, it is important to realize that moving off-grid is not an escape hatch for any financial bedlam you have created in your current life: you are still responsible for resolving any owed monies or loans in your name.

Depending on your resources and your motivation, living off the grid can be done quickly, or it can be done in a series of small steps. Either way, you need to be sure you have taken into account more than just solar power and dehydrated food. Moving from a life that is reliant on the ease and convenience of nearby malls and thermostat-regulated environments to one of making do or doing without, and chopping wood to heat your home, can be overwhelming. You need to be sure you prepare yourself physically, mentally, financially, and emotionally.

The good news is you can start today, no matter where you are or what you are doing. You can start looking at your finances to see where you can economize. You can look at your food preparation and substitute basic items for quickly prepared foods. You can take an inventory of how often you run to the grocery store, the coffee shop, or the fast-food restaurant and limit your exposure to any or all of them.

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