Posts Tagged "Editorial"

3rd Annual Bike for Peace and New Energies
by KELLY MEAD on JUNE 6, 2008 - 0 Comments in COMMUNITY

From June 12 through August 16, 2008 bike riders will be going from Paris to Moscow and then on to Peking. All in an effort to raise awareness that peace and facing the looming energy crisis is not just a local but international issue.
In 2006 and 2007 this ride was only from Paris to Moscow, this year it has been expanded to Peking after their success. This ride is also open to any solar electric rides as this is also a way to promote the use of alternative and renewable energies. Another of the unique aspects of this ride is that everyone is expected to pitch in and help one another. That means helping with meals, cleaning up th dishes, putting tents up, giving a helping hand to your fellow riders, etc. This event hope to pull riders from all nationalities and walks of life who all wish to promote peace and the use of renewable energies instead of the standard oil.

The stated goals of the organization are :

  • Renewable energies instead of wars for oil
  • Disarmament and social reconciliation
  • Peace policy instead of Milty violence
  • War must not be any more a means of policy
  • Create sustainable and peaceful Europe
  • Abashment of all nuclear weapons until 2020
  • Sporty meetings in the Olympic Spirit

They go in depth for each goal on the site, you can click here to take a look. This event is just an example of how the energy crisis that is looming, if not actually here, is being felt not just here in the USA but as the world as a whole. That being said the solutions we are more concerned with are those that touch us close4r to home. That is likely the case with most people, and luckily for us using alternative energy is not something only for certain demographics or locations.

What should be realized by those of us going to alternative and renewable energy, especially used on a personal scale, is that a hundred years ago that was the norm. Even in many countries around the world it still is the norm for the average person. Yes, we love our technology but technology does not mean we have to be plugged into the grid to enjoy it. Those living off the grid who love technology still can play with the same toys, though they are more responsible in making sure that phantom power is not being drained when not in use.

Looking around you right now what is plugged in but not on, what is on but not being actively used, what can be turned of because their is a free source for the same resource (lights on during the day)? These are questions you should ask yourself everytime you enter a room or walk through your home/office. You will be amazed at what you find. Habits are hard to break (like my husband still likes the lights on during the day) but they can be broken (sometimes with a frying pan). Sometimes outside reminders help, sometimes realizing the cost of the habit helps more, and sometimes you just need to have someone else to help. The real magic is being able to realize which is right for you.

Most of us adults were brought up in a consumer lifestyle from diapers on up. That is something that needs to be retrained in us. Not saying that you don’t need to buy things new or replace old things, just saying that we need to look at all stuff a valuable even if it’s first use is no longer valid to us. Always remember the saying “One Man’s Junk is Another Man’s Treasure”. That is as true today in the age of disposable everything as it was for my grandparents growing up in the Great Depression. You see all types of ideas when surfing the net of people finding interesting things to do with what most of us view as trash. RecyleCindy has a blog about bags that she has crocheted from those plastic grocery bags most people throw away or just use for holding their recyclables. She not only shows the pictures of these wonderful creations but gives the directions so others can do it themselves.

All the tings that were discussed in today’s post were to give you a sampling of the innovative things people are doing to change the way we see and respond to our world. Some are not as grand as others but with each tiny or large effort they are bringing change. So this article was to inspire all to take those little steps and be proud of what you have accomplished to whatever your bigger goal is. Changing your lifestyle is an extreme change and as such should be taken at the pace you are comfortable with and can handle. You didn’t get to where you are overnight and you won’t accomplish your goals overnight either.

Singing in the Rain
by KELLY MEAD on APRIL 21, 2008 - 0 Comments in COMMUNITY

This years Green Apple Festival celebrating Earth Day still went on despite the rain. At least for a few hours anyway. When the lightening started it was time to start shutting down. Now we can’t say for sure if it over or hoping to wait out the rain as we left when the downpour turned torrential and lightening was regular.

Though it was nice and even the children enjoyed the 3 plus hours we had down there. The speakers were varied and from around the world. Showing that the Earth is not just important to us here in the United States. We were able to visit about half of the exhibitors that were included in the Earth Day Celebration, the other half was a combination of weather and not seeing the rest of the booths across the street. If we hadn’t been huddling under the tents to keep out of the rain we probably would have noticed the second section. Of course we noticed after the heavy rain appeared and had to call the rest of the day a bust.

Also happenig at the Mall was an expo on sustainable living with exhibits put on by colleges. It was very interesting to walk through and see what ideas were being tried out to improve not only our environment but also awareness of the general public. That one we visited on the way in, meaning we were to early for all the booths to be manned and/or ready so not as much information from it was gotten. Though we did find some interesting things that will also be in upcoming posts.

We need to do some more research so we’re not just rehashing the spiel we got from the spokespeople at these great events. We found great ideas such as purifying water with a simple handheld device to running sport cars on solar panels, to playing games to raise awareness, to home improvement and construction companies who make green their only business. So much was available that we hope that others were able to join in on celebrations in their local areas.

Don’t forget that today is a day of noise! Let your elected officials (and hopefuls too!) know that not only do we care about the world we live in but that being able to live in a home that is healthy, self-sufficient is just as important to us. If we don’t tell them they’re not going to be knocking on your door to ask. It’s our responsibility to keep and demand programs that help the average joe to be informed and even give a helping hand so that legislation doesn’t disappear now that people are trying to improve their homes.

Earth Day Celebrations
by KELLY MEAD on APRIL 18, 2008 - 0 Comments in COMMUNITY

Don’t forget that the Earth Day Celebration near you is this Sunday. You can click on the countdown on the right or here to see what celebration you can walk, bike, skate, etc. to. You can then go to Green Apple Festivals and see your venue. You will get a list of bands, speakers and exhibitors so you can see who is out there to help us make a change.

Then Don’t Forget to follow the day of celebration and information with a day of action. Make some calls to your mayor, local council, governor, state congress, White House (202.456.1111) and Capitol Hill (202.224.3121). Join with others as we make so much noise that the powers that be stop and listen to what we’re telling them. Our voices have gotten stronger in the last couple of years but we need to keep getting louder. Until we’re heard over the money from big interest, that can be hurt by acting responsible for our environment.

Then on Tuesday, April 22, if you have a blog, website, or any other outlet let the world know what you’ve done. If you don’t have your own outlet then join a forum and let them know. Then wish everyone you see Happy Earth Day. The more people who are touched and reminded on Earth Day the more that can become new recruits for making a difference to our Earth.

If you are going to be writing this Earth Day leave a comment or go to the forum and respond to the Earth Day Blog thread and we’ll make sure to link to you in our Earth Day post.

Sundance has The Green Idea
by KELLY MEAD on APRIL 14, 2008 - 0 Comments in COMMUNITY, SPIRIT

Sundance channel has started it’s second season of their regular programming called The Green. The Green is both on TV and interactive by way of the web. Programming for this Tuesday includes one of our old favorites It’s Not Easy Being Green, Big Ideas for a Small Planet, The Sierra Club Chronicles, as well as shorts about being an “ecoist” and eco-business.

The Greenis the first programming that is prime time (9 pm) to showcase shows, documentaries, movies that all have the environment as their main concern. This is a wonderful place to catch up on the latest in the environment, going green, living green, or being responsible for your environment. This is also supported by an online community effort to help connect those interested in being eco-friendly and to do business with those who also promote a more responsible and/or self-sustainable way of life. Their online community, called the Eco-mmunity, has an interactive map where you can locate others in your local area and even mark your place in the world. Making it easier for you to connect with others that share your interest or has a product or service you’re looking for.

Seeing the environment and being self-sustaining becoming more of a concern for everyday Americans is very refreshing. Now when people are discussing the environment and going green they no longer seem to have that “look”, you know the one where they think your missing a few marbles, when I speak up and give them pointers or answer questions they have been wondering about. Telling people that how much we lowered our gas & electric bill this winter by just becoming efficient and insulating everywhere we could think of inspired them to start doing it to. Talking about using alternative energy, whether as an individual or by purchasing from alternative power companies, gave people a pause and for some the incentive to look more into it.

I truly believe that we can each live off the grid and still maintain, though improve is more like it, our current standard of living. You don’t have to sacrifice your computer, TV, satellite or cable, dishwasher, phone, iPod, or any other of the multitude of thing you just can’t see living without. Of course when you hear what it is to be quite, you just may wonder why all those things were so important. Especially when you hear the laughter of your children, the singing of the birds, the whisper of the wind, and the trickle of a stream. Those sounds that have been drowned out by today’s hectic lifestyle are still there waiting to be heard again.

Make a Difference in NOLA
by KELLY MEAD on MARCH 28, 2008 - 0 Comments in EVENTS

Make It Right 9 Eco Friendly Home

We are happy to announce that Make It Right9 in NOLA (New Orleans, LA) has given us our own home to promote. Once you follow the link go down the list till you see our home, we we’re second to last at the time of this post. We also welcome anyone who wishes to use the banner above to let other’s know about this wonderful opportunity.

The home is sponsored in the name all those who are dedicated to having a healthier and/or self-sufficient home of their own. Let all of us who truly believe in this way of life make a statement by helping to get some people back on their feet in a way that we believe in. Showing that not only is it important personally to us, but to everyone because of the reduce strain on our environment, reduce strain on ourselves and our families, better health, less stress, and even lower costs for running a home.

You can donate as little or as much as you are able. $5 can buy a CFL (Compact Fluorescent Bulb), $25 low VOC paint, $40 a low flow shower head, $100 for a programmable thermostat, $200 for a ceiling fan, $500 for energy efficient lighting, $1500 for a tankless water heater, $3000 for the heating and cooling system , $5000 for a rainwater harvester, or even $25,000 for rooftop solar panels. As you can see there is a wide range of donations needed. This list is just a partial what can be sponsored. When you click to donate to the home at Make it Right 9 get an interactive home that shows you where your funds will be put to use and why that product was chosen. So not only can you do a good deed but you can learn while you’re doing it.

We also encourage you to talk with friends and family about getting this project finished. They are over half way to meeting their goal of 150 homes. The count is 81 homes and almost a quarter of the next one sponsored. Showing that this a way of life not only for rural areas can have a big impact on showing the public at large that this is an attainable goal for the average Joe.

Of course they approved The Eco Friendly Home today because yesterday we did our updates. Sorry that you got two updates in a row but we thought this was important enough to post as soon as we found out about it.

Updates on Previous Posts
by KELLY MEAD on MARCH 27, 2008 - 0 Comments in COMMUNITY

Thought it was time to update some of our previous posts. Since we started this journey back in October we have run across some amazing movements, events, products, and people and we wanted to check in on them and see how things have gone.

Make It Right 9 of New Orleans has raised funds to build 81 of their proposed 150 homes. We are still waiting on word whether we can sponsor our own home. So check back or if you can’t wait please visit them and donate to a worthy cause. You can also visit them to find out more about the amazing people and organizations that are involved in this opportunity to not only give someone a helping hand but to help show that being self-sufficient in our resource needs can be done in today’s world community wide.

Our Hollywood Going Green? post back in November was about a convention being held in December. I know I said I would wait for the movie so guess what they have posted their presentations. Now to find the time watch them! If you do or attended let us know what you think. We will be starting a thread at the forum about them.

We Love It’s Not easy Being Green was about the BBC show on a family transforming an old farmhouse to their off grid utopia. We haven’t seen anything about another season but the charity they started The Big Green Idea has continued on. Starting in summer 2008 they plan to have a green double decker bus touring the UK to let people have hands on experiences of products used to get off grid, while also offering movie and documentary viewings. Even though these sites are geared for the UK they are a great source of ideas to bring across the “pond”.

Ava Solar from our $1 per watt of Soalr Energy post has been moving froward on mass production of their new panels. “ We are very happy with our initial pre-production runs and have decided to move up production plans on our existing manufacturing line,” said Pascal Noronha, President and CEO of AVA Solar. “Although this will be relatively limited production, we intend to accelerate our production learning curve and get our products into the market faster than we thought possible last year.” They have also announced that instead of building a new manufacturing plant in Fort Collins they will be using an existing physicality in Northern Colorado which helped speed up the production time-line.

In December we wanted you to Help Focus The Nation. The online web-cast had problems as many more than anticipated people, groups, and institutions logged on to be part of it. Though they then made it available to watch anytime. We admit that we were part of the unfortunate ones that had problems and were kicked out of the live cast. If you had problems or missed it you can catch it here. Also the results are in on Choose Your Future and the top ten changes Americans would like to see are:

  1. Invest in the Clean Energy Revolution
  2. Create Green Jobs, Save Energy
  3. No New Coal Plants without “Capture and Sequestration”
  4. Cap CO2 Emissions, Share the Auction Revenues
  5. Build Green: Carbon Neutral by 2030
  6. Jumpstart Low Polluting Biofuel
  7. Support Stronger Forests
  8. Tax Global Warming Pollution
  9. Cleaner Cars, California-style
  10. Get Efficient- Cut Energy, Save Money

We United in Kindness in December also and would love to see other bloggers do so again with an emphasis on kindness to the Earth in April. So if you blog or have a voice in either the virtual or physical world we encourage you to promote or be kind to our environment on Earth Day, April 22, 2008. Or you can join with us and others on April 21 and Make Noise for your politicians and let them know how important you as voters find environmental concerns.

So that should bring you up to current posts and happenings. We will be continuing to bring you news and information to encourage and help you to go off the grid and green. Our journey has taken turns we didn’t expect already and are excited to keep going. We have learned valuable information, got to be part of historic events, met wonderful people both online and in person, and gotten even more excited about choosing this lifestyle (if that was possible) in such a short time. We will continue to grow and inform and have great plans, such as newsletters. We hope that you will continue this journey with us. As always we welcome comments, emails (offhome@theoffgridhome.com) , information, and even criticism.

Less Then a Month and Counting
by KELLY MEAD on MARCH 24, 2008 - 0 Comments in COMMUNITY

Earth Day, April 22, 2008, is less then a month away and I though t this would be the perfect time to ask: What have you done in the past year to improve your and our environment?

This is more of a thinking exercise then to put anyone on the spot. I try to use Earth Day as my mark to see how I have changed my habits and living to be healthier both for my family and I and for the Earth as a whole. I will be writing a more in depth article on April 22 and hope that is you have a blog you will join with me about how I did change the world for good this past year.

I have to say that this year has been pretty productive as I completed changing over all my light bulbs (I only changed them after the old ones stopped working), insulated exposed pipe and duct work, finished changing my cleaning supplies over to non-toxic/organic, and started this site to help convert and inform others of the benefits of going green and getting of the grid. I still need to plant my gardens, a herb, vegetable, and a berry, but they have been cleared and just need tiling and the compost added.

My plans for the upcoming year is to install a solar water heater and if I’m really lucky and on the ball solar panels. Also I intended to be more involved in getting others to understand the benefits of being self-sufficient in today’s world. I have to admit that I don’t take the pushy approach but the education one. This seems to work the best for me.

Did I ever mention that my husband wasn’t to thrilled about the idea of taking our family off the grid? All he saw in the beginning was the expense and the extra work it would require to do it. Now though after being pulled along he is almost as excited as I am. He is actually researching on his own and even helping with the home improvements (not one of my husbands loves) which just shows that once people are shown the benefits they don’t just jump on the train but actually drive it.

Speaking of information and change I stumbled on a story about a Stanford law professor trying to change the way Congress works. A site called Change Congress is trying to take wiki approach to congress to make it more transparent and keep track of our politicians and their pledges. It looks to be in the very early stages but if we all get behind it that could change very quickly. I have joined their emailing list and hope to hear good things from them soon. Along with that Breathing Earth made quite an impact. It shows carbon dioxide emission level of every country in a real time simulation.

DIY Alternative Energy
by KELLY MEAD on MARCH 11, 2008 - 0 Comments in ENERGY

Are you handy or even willing to try to be then how about visiting Instructables Alternative Energy DIY? Following our renowned and highly technical search of the internet we found this great site. Yup, that’s right we just stumbled on it while researching something totally different. So we just had to join and tell you about it.

Though in all fairness we should warn you that we haven’t tried any of their posted DIY (do it yourself) yet so please be wary. They list great projects such as Solar Thermal Water Heater For Less Than Five Dollars, 1000 watt wind turbine , Solar Heater, Make Your Own Biodiesel!, Solar Power System,Building a micro solar generator, and many more. Plus they have a category devoted to going green. The site has been online since June 2005 according to alexa and linked to from over 1700 other sites. So some of you may know about the site, for those who didn’t give it a look.

We will have to try some of these projects and let you know what we think. If they work we will certainly let you know. If you try one first let us know how it went. It’s science fair time for our children so we are already tied up on the new project front for a little while. Of course we encouraged them, though it wasn’t hard, to do something with renewable energy. Nice to see it is now an accepted project now. A few years ago when our son was doing his first it wasn’t on the list. The younger they are exposed to the possibility that having wires run to your home is not necessary the better.

I do have to say that when problem arise, like they always do, our children have been very encouraging to complete our goal of getting completely off the grid. Still being in a suburban (almost urban) environment has added challenges and the economy right now really isn’t helping but we are determined. Making the small changes we have and now moving to more major ones has been an adventure. One that has already produced results. We have lowered our utilities bill to the local gas and electric company by about $200 a month just in the past year. That means in last three years we have cut in half our winter bill form over $800 to between $250 to $375. It seems amazing that just changing how we used energy, adding additional insulation, changing to energy star appliances and light bulbs could make such a significant change. Take into account that we had a significant increase in our energy costs in Maryland in the last two years and its even more amazing. So our hope is that by the end of this summer we will have panels installed to supplement if not totally power our home. We just need to remove three more trees so that the panels on our roof won’t be covered. Then up we go to install them.

Hey and with some of the project we found at Instructables we should be able to try them out. The one for solar thermal water heater for less then $5 has definitely caught our attention.

Green Can Make You Some Green
by KELLY MEAD on FEBRUARY 18, 2008 - 0 Comments in ENERGY, EVENTS

On the “The Early Show” a segments was noticed about green jobs and how they are growing both in need and in pay. Even in today’s economy this segment of the job force is growing and paying well. So learning all you can about taking your home off grid and making it more green can actually lead you into a new career.

After installing your own solar panels you can look into becoming a solar panel technician. You can do that by attending a vocational program or entering a community college and getting an associate degree. Which has the median pay of $40,000 right out of school. Not to shabby and you are hlping our environment and energy crunch at the same time.

Or you have made your home a healthy one by selecting eco friendly products, ergonomic furnishings, and green products for cleaning. Have a knack for design or love to help others get green and you should look into becoming a healthy home decorator or advisor. Use all that research you did to make your home healthy and self-sufficient for you and your family and help others do it too. The sky can be the limit or it’s a great way to make some extra money on the side.

Have you started making your own soap, honey, clothes, lotions, ect. because you couldn’t find it made healthy enough for you? Started a business that uses green or alternative energy sources to make your business more environmentally friendly? Any of these ideas and more are now being looked at by the big corporations to help them get in on the green and eco-friendly markets. “Burt’s Bees”, the lip balm maker, was bought out by Clorox for $913 million, “The Body Shop”, that green store that was in most of malls, was acquired by L’Oreal for $1.4 billion, so who knows if something you started or are thinking of starting might not be next.

So next time your staying up late, researching what product is best for your home, installing something to make your home more efficient or an alternative power source you just might be finding a new career for yourself.


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