The Independent Newspaper carried a double page spread today, featuring Off-Grid Editor Nick Rosen and his book How to Live Off-grid
The article, reproduced below, ran under the headline “Off-grid: Meet the pioneers living without mains power or water”:
You won’t find the phrase in the Oxford English Dictionary, yet, but living off-grid, outside or in between, the criss-crossing lines of power, water, gas and phone that delineate the civilised world, is a skill that everyone may soon need. Rising energy prices, a weariness with over-consumption, fear of terrorism and economic collapse, and of course, the big issues of climate change and environmental degradation are leading to a mounting interest in unplugging ourselves from the system.
I’d like to pretend that I adopted the off-grid philosophy through a mixture of ideological purity and trend-spotting brilliance. In fact, I stumbled upon it quite by accident back in the mid-Nineties.
I had split from my then girlfriend, the fashion designer Katharine Hamnett. She was rich and I was poor. For five years we lived together, jetting regularly to her holiday home near Deia, an international summer playground for writers, actors, models and artists overlooking the achingly beautiful coast of north-west Majorca. Environmentalism had always been more than a T-shirt slogan for both of us, but this was long before leisure flights were identified as eco-sinful, so we took our weekend breaks amid orange groves and olive trees with no cloud over our conscience.
My relationship with Katharine over, I missed the soft air tinged with the scent of orange blossom and the sweep of the mountains down to the Mediterranean. I wanted my own home there, but I couldn’t afford it. Stubbornly, I refused to let lack of funds become an obstacle. I was 35 and I intended to establish my rustic existence while I was young enough to enjoy it to the full.
My search took me high into the mountains above Deia, and finally, at 700 metres above sea level, I found a shepherd’s hut, together with a few acres of olive trees and pines, for just
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