Posts from — August 2007

How to get free broadband
by NICK ROSEN on AUGUST 28, 2007 - 0 Comments in MOBILE, OFF-GRID 101
Kismac: comical little feller

Although wireless thieves say it is a victimless crime, the number of arrests for dishonestly obtaining free access under the UK Communications Act 2003 are rising. This practice is known as war surfing or piggybacking, and while hedge fund managers are allowed to trade insolvently, and kids wander around with guns and knives, it is reassuring that the police still find time to prosecute, or is that persecute downloaders. It

Landmark off-grid housing victory
by VEG-HEAD on AUGUST 26, 2007 - 0 Comments in LAND, OFF-GRID 101
Charlotte Landmatters Allaleigh
Charlotte celebrates with a cuppa

Landmatters – a UK off-grid, co-operative battling to keep their hilltop bender community in Devon – has won temporary planning (zoning) permission after a public enquiry. The group of 16 people, featured in Nick Rosen’s book, How to Live Off-grid: Journeys Outside the System, own 42 acres in South Hams, Devon, which by coincidence was named yesterday as one of the least affordable places to live in the British Isles. Houses there cost 10.2 times the average local wage, compared to a national average of 6.7. Landmatters met hostility from neighbours living in multimillion pound houses. The group paid just

Cave dwellers of Oz
by SUPERJOE on AUGUST 25, 2007 - 0 Comments in EVENTS, OFF-GRID 101
Cave at White Cliffs
Visitors at underground Motel

The tiny outback town of White Cliffs in far north-west New South Wales can now claim a place in Australia’s engineering history, alongside the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Snowy Hydro scheme.

The opal mining town, where most of the 200 residents live in underground homes, was the first in Australia to be powered entirely by solar energy, and is still a fully off-grid community.

The solar plant is now closed but it has earned a national award that will see it preserved as a piece of alternative energy heritage. (more…)

Fight for local energy
by LYDIA POLZER on AUGUST 25, 2007 - 0 Comments in PEOPLE
K.R. Sridhar and Arnold Schwarzenegger
KR sells off-grid to Arnie

In a feature on companies that will disrupt existing businesses, Business 2.0 cites power company Bloom Energy

THE DISRUPTION: Energy generators in homes and businesses

THE DISRUPTED: Electric utilities

Making electricity in central power plants is so 20th century,says the report. K.R. Sridhar has a better idea: Create energy on the spot, right where it’s consumed. His startup, Bloom Energy (formerly known as Ion America), is developing a fuel cell that could kick-start the distributed-energy industry. (more…)

Arson campaign torches eco-homes
by SALLY BUCHAN on AUGUST 25, 2007 - 0 Comments in EVENTS
Caroline Barry’s straw home

A third eco-home in central Somerset went up in flames this week, following an arson attack at a prototype round house in Moorlinch and a fire that destroyed Glastonbury town councillor Caroline Barry’s well-known straw bale home at Butleigh in January.

The timber frame house in Godney became a tower of flames in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Fire fighters were called to the building at midnight and discovered it was a partially-built eco-house, made from timber, straw, peat and soil that was being consumed by flames. (more…)

Laurie David and other Econazzis
by VEG-HEAD on AUGUST 24, 2007 - 0 Comments in URBAN
Hype, all hype

Of today’s fashionable causes, the environment is the most fashionable of them all. And no Hollywood activist is more dedicated than Laurie David, who used her ex-husband, Larry David’s wealth to finance Al Gore’s documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. Gore lavishes praise on her work: “Laurie David has done more than any one person I know to raise awareness of the climate crisis,” said Gore last year. Gore is a great example of an Econazzi, our new preferred term for celebrity hypocrites and corporate greenwashers.

Econazzi Laurie David reviles SUV owners as “terrorist enablers.” She hangs out with her friend Cheryl Crow who recently warned the world about the perils of using toilet paper.

In her many media interviews, Laurie David details her own contributions to the cause: She uses only recycled paper products and she has made her two children take shorter showers.

Although she owns and operates the Web site,, Gulf Stream-flying tree-hugger Laurie, 49, and her strapping 44-year-old landscaper boyfriend Bart Thorpe, have been all over the place since Laurie split with “Curb Your Enthusiasm” crank Larry David. (more…)

Utopia project update
by FAYCUTHBERTSON on AUGUST 23, 2007 - 1 Comment in EVENTS, OFF-GRID 101
Dylan Evans and a Utopia assistant
Trouble in Paradise

Its some time since we reported on Dr Dylan Evans, who resigned as a lecturer on evolutionary psychology from the University of the West of England in Bristol to become Director of the Utopia Project in Scotland. Dr Evans, 41, wanted to test the theory that by 2040, the warming of the Earth and ensuing climate disasters will mean any survivors will live as Stone Age hunter-gatherers. Could man survive a social breakdown, he wondered

To this end, in April he sold his house in the Cotswolds to set up a commune in the Highlands called Utopia. The first to join him was Adam, pictured here in an Airline blanket he acquired on his way to the UK. Members have to live in a post-global warming environment and find a “new way” of existing. That means sleeping in yurts, growing your own veg and developing a series of ruels and practices that others might follow. (more…)

Eco-palace back on
by SPY_VONDEGA on AUGUST 23, 2007 - 0 Comments in LAND, OFF-GRID 101
William and Kate
Seychelles exclusion zone

The off-on romance between heir to the British throne Prince William, and fiancee Kate Middleton has had a knock-on effect on the royal family’s biggest eco-project. As the couple holiday together in the Indian Ocean, William’s father, Prince Charles is pushing forward with plans to present his son with a $10 million off-grid home as an engagement gift.

Charles is personally overseeing the

Nick Rosen at Edinburgh book festival
by NICK ROSEN on AUGUST 21, 2007 - 0 Comments in COMMUNITY
Nick Rosen “free yourself”

Off-Grid Editor Nick Rosen will challenge the UK government to make clear exactly what its plans are on the five eco-towns it proposed building back when Prime Minister Gordon Brown took office in June.

Nick will be appearing at the Edinburgh International Book Festival at midday talk about his personal journey to a free-er, greener life and to promote his book, How to Live Off-grid: Journeys Outside the System.

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