There's No Getting Off (The Grid)

Ah, but you still have to build the bus with machinery, and lube them wheels! :smile:


The machinery, that depends on details.

The wheels, well, biobased lubricants cover that.


hopefully those biobased lubricants are made in a factory that uses machines without plastic or petroleum lubricants, and doesn’t use coal powered energy, etc. likely those bio-lubricants are shipped in plastic containers. the rabbit hole goes as deep as you can chase it, really we are a petroleum based society so very little is “oil” free until we come up with and employ mass scale alternatives.

i have mixed feeling about this, on one hand global warming and the environment, on the other what a great time in history to be alive all that cheap energy has propelled humanity quite a long ways and i love so much about this modern world being a tech head.

can’t i have my cake and eat it too? :cake:


From what I have seen tech is vetted by a council of patriarchal elders who will sometimes approve things like PSTN telephones or LPG if wood is too expensive, but in the case of the phone they have to be in an outhouse away from the home to not overdo the convenience and family life intrusion.

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Maybe we should think of “off grid” living as life that requires energy outputs to be equal to, or less than, inputs required to survive. Although in that case, as mentioned downthread, it’s likely that folks living in major metropolitan areas are living closer to the bone (so to speak) than the average rugged individualist out in the sticks.


No-coal wasn’t in the specs! (No-oil was.) But that all is technically achievable.

You can have those in either a bioplastic flavor, or as metal cans.

I admit being too worn to care much about the environment anymore, for better or worse…

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Use this handy website to get a hold of him = off grid?


Their focus is actually more on keeping their community independent and harmonious. So, lighting your house by hooking it up to a faceless corporate utility that carefully meters what you use is out. Battery powered lanterns and solar power OTOH are fine.

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To me, off-grid living means not depending on things that are delivered from far away. you get hungry, you go kill a living thing of some sort, prepare it, and eat it. You get cold, you find some fluffy stuff and make a nest. You get thirsty? find a source of liquid nearby.

You might want a few tools to make some jobs go easier and faster. You can make those out of whatever sticks and rocks you can find.

Anything else is cheating.


Old fogey test:

“Where did you get your axe?”


How about calling it “their system”? What I hate about people discussing The System is that it implies they have no systems of their own, and are hence doomed to failure before they even start.

This seems like an argument about the purity of one’s own personal definition of what the “grid” is and how far off it you are and for how long. I’ve always thought of it as the ability to live as if one were the last person on earth; in other words, if I woke up tomorrow and all of the grids and networks that I’m usually tied into–power, information, medicine, etc.–were just flat-out gone, would I have sufficient tools and resources to survive longer than the expiration date of whatever food was left, if any.


i totally agree that yes it is possible and technically feasible, just highly unlikely currently.

Give me a M! Give me a E! Give me a H! What does that… meh…


[quote=“boingboing, post:1, topic:51120”]
Prepping for the apocalypse will always be a poor bet statistically
[/quote]Well, depends upon how one defines apocalyptic, in my opinion.

I’ll put it this way – decentralized, more sustainable energy is a good idea for more than just climate change. I’m no doomsday prepper, but I do think it’s wise to have solar panels, solar water heaters and always have some drinking water stored, along with some canned goods, etc.

The next time the power goes out, it might stay out… for a very, very long time.


[quote]Technically, using a gasoline engine to split wood is completely off grid – “the grid” generally refers to the electrical grid. Kevin and Will are standing in the middle of a field with no power lines in sight.

But I know what he means – it’s the spirit of the thing.[/quote]

Sounds like a semantic problem! The grid has traditionally referred to the electrical grid. What we could suppose they mean is what has been called “sufficient living”. That is, striving for minimal dependency on others, especially avoiding relationships which are likely to be exploitive. As an oft squatter myself, people have often asked me about what kind of inter/dependence I enjoy. In urban environments, I found that conditions were comfortable and I minimized environmental impact by scavenging. It would be disruptive to chop down one of the only trees in the neighborhood so I could have the satisfaction of making my own furniture - while meanwhile wasteful people discard good furniture on a regular basis. I can re-use things for practical reasons without being dependent upon much.

It sounds like many here posit sufficient living as being a deliberately low-tech, secluded affair. But avoiding dependence upon exploitive utilities in no way implies that one can’t generate electricity, or participate on computer networks. Some might decry an infinite regress of needing to make all of your own tools, smelt your own ores, etc - it is up to the people in question how far they choose to take it. Most kinds of consumerism have a degree of choice which allows for less exploitive, more inter-dependent options, such as doing business with other individuals or small companies. Somebody even just getting rid of their monopolistic utilities is doing more to be sufficient than most.


The prepper, homesteading, self-reliance, and off-grid impulses all seem to be a manifestation of a need to feel in control of one’s own destiny. They are the result of a societal anxiety & irrational mistrust that seems to have infected us.

However these impulses need to be recognized for the lies that they are. Feelings of anxiety and worry, if they do not have a rational cause, are just feelings. The idea of a self-reliant individual, who stands on his or her own to self-sustain indefinitely, seems to echo the myth of the Nietzschian superman who manages to transcend his natural herd state.

Nietsche’s superman will never exist. We are human beings. Like dogs, our ancient hunting partners, we are creatures of the pack. We need each other to survive. To stand alone, is to abandon humanity.

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Reminds me of the Monty Python sketch of the man who was going to ride a tricycle across the Atlantic. His tricycle, specially adapted for the crossing, was ninety feet long, with a protective steel hull, three funnels, seventeen first-class cabins and a radar scanner.


Actually, in many cities the buses run off of natural gas rather than gasoline, so they wouldn’t technically need oil (although I know a lot of natural gas is obtained as a byproduct of oil drilling).

If a solar megastorm happened, all your solar panels and such would be destroyed, though. They have electronics in them. It would be like the Carrington Event, but worse. The most practical form of energy would probably be coal as that can be easily mined and burned without electricity.

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