Posts from — January 2006

Prepare and Survive says Lovelock
by NICK ROSEN on JANUARY 27, 2006 - 1 Comment in COMMUNITY, OFF-GRID 101, SPIRIT
James Lovelock, photo by Sandy Lovelock
Lovelock….we’re all doomed

Visionary environmental scientist, James Lovelock reveals his recipe for surviving the coming eco-disaster in a wide-ranging conversation with Off-Grid.

James Lovelock put forward his theory of a self-regulating planet (christened Gaia by William Golding) some 40 years ago. He warned we were tampering with our own survival by blindly and wastefully consuming the earth’s resources. Biologists ignored him  until recently. Now his early work has been proved right, but its too late to do anything about it, he says.

In his latest book, The Revenge of Gaia, Lovelock says the planet is now past the point of no return, and its self regulating feedback mechanisms are turning from maintaining a liveable planet into a downward spiral of warming and flooding that will soon lay waste to civilization as we know it. Now we must prepare to survive as best we can.

His recipe is simple: move out of the city if you can, to a temperate region well above sea level, and prepare for energy rationing.

Lovelock lives ON the grid in lovely house in Cornwall. The first thing I asked him was why did he not set an example and live by renewable energy alone. I think you are right, answered the sprightly 86-year-old, but the problem is I am quite old and work very hard, and taking on those thing is something you don’t do lightly. I don’t have the time to spare. My activity is better spent doing what I do and propagating ideas.
(Please click “more” for rest of story) The Revenge of Gaia: Why the Earth Is Fighting Back - and How We Can Still Save HumanityThe Revenge of Gaia: Why the Earth Is Fighting Back – and How We Can Still Save Humanity – buy it from Amazon UK – 11.89 – not yet available in the US

Bode Miller: Off-Grid role model
by LYDIA POLZER on JANUARY 24, 2006 - 2 Comments in MOBILE, OFF-GRID 101
Bode Miller
Thriller Miller is off-grider

He is everywhere. On the cover of Time and Newsweek this week. And everyone is asking: What about that Bode?

Love him or roll your eyes with abandon. Miller is the greatest American skier in a generation – wildly gifted, dazzling to watch. He could win multiple gold medals. He could also crash and burn. Because Miller doesn’t ski for medals. He skis to go faster, to find the perfect run. He skis on the edge. It often amounts to missing gates, to crashes, to DNFs (did not finish).

Miller was born and raised in the woods around Franconia, N.H. – just over the line in Easton, N.H., to be exact – his parents choosing a lifestyle that would foster independence and free thinking. He was raised without electricity or running water, and roamed the forest freely. Get that, and you’re one step closer to understanding Bode Miller. ( Please click “more” for rest of story and pics)

Bode: Go Fast, Be Good, Have FunBode: Go Fast, Be Good, Have Fun – his autobiography with details of his off-grid upbringing – buy it from Amazon – $15.72

Laws prevent effective off-grid power
by NICK ROSEN on JANUARY 18, 2006 - 0 Comments in ENERGY, OFF-GRID 101
Solar Thermal
Solar Thermal — great for car-wash

Power regulators in many jurisdictions forbid private power lines from being connected across property lines. This prohibition has discouraged investment in Distributed Generation (DG) systems that are more efficient, less expensive than supplies from the grid.

New technological advances have been developed in the field of small scale, on-site distributed power generation(DG). The cost of small-scale power generation technology has been steadily dropping, while the efficiency of energy conversion has steadily been rising. Advances have occurred in such areas as solar thermal energy conversion, solar photovoltaics, wind energy, fuel cell technology, thermo-acoustic engine technology, Stirling engine technology and various types of small engines (click “more” for rest of article).
Briggs & Stratton Power Products 30241 5550 Watt Portable Generator5550 Watt Portable Generator – only $699 from Amazon (more…)

“We want to stay off the grid”
by NICK ROSEN on JANUARY 13, 2006 - 2 Comments in EVENTS, OFF-GRID 101
Lower Keys
Anything goes at No Name Keys

Even in a chain of islands whose residents have been known for their odd manners and general aversion to conformity, No Name Key has always stood out. Or rather it has tried not stand out. The residents of the island prefer anonymity to celebrity, and want to stay that way. But huge interest in properties on the island and its bigger neighbor, Big Pine Key, is giving them a headache.

No Name Key has lovely waterfront homes but no electricity. Residents have fought for years to keep their refuge off the grid. Now the rocketing price of properties on the neighboring island has led developers and City types to No Name, and the newbies want to change it, reports the Miami Herald.

“The locals who have been here for 30 years are moving out because they can no longer afford to pay the property taxes,” said one resident.
In 1968 there were about 500 people on Big Pine and No Name Keys — the two primary Keys where the majority of the tiny indigenous deer population is found. Today there’s about 5,000. (more…)

My school is a Yurt
by VEG-HEAD on JANUARY 8, 2006 - 2 Comments in SPIRIT
Yurt School
Now that’s education!

This is the most unusual school in Britain. the classroom isn’t a classroom. It’s not even the traditional portable cabin. It’s a tent, in some woods. The school ask that the location is not revealed other than to say that it is in Somerset woodland, just south of the elegant town of Bath.

“It’s a yurt,” corrects Faith Fewer, the head (and only paid) teacher. “A traditional Mongolian tent, made by a yurt-maker in Devon. We liked his organic style.” (click “more” to read the rest of this story).
Parent Power: Bringing Up Responsible Children and Teenagers (Family Matters)Parent Power: Bringing Up Responsible Children and Teenagers — just 5 from Amazon UK (more…)

Cool It….Build an Ice House
by SUPERJOE on JANUARY 4, 2006 - 4 Comments in PEOPLE
Ice house
Inside ice house

Over at Green Trust, they have been cutting ice and stocking up their friends’ ice house this month, reminding us of this age-old means of all-year-round true refrigeration.

Since the early 1800’s the icehouse has been one of the self-sufficient, non-electric homestead most valuable storage buildings. The structure has taken many shapes and forms over the years but all have been calculated to do the same thing: exclude heat and outside air while running out water from the slowly melting ice. (more…)

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