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Living off the grid is viable


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Living off the grid – the time has come

There is something in humankind that cussedly refuses to do something good and sensible, until it is absolutely forced to its knees. I have been meaning to get off the grid for a long, long time. But we are so complacent and stuck: Stuck in our comfort zone, stuck in our preconceived picture of how things should be and stuck in what we believe we are owed. It is much easier to blame, complain and go on strike, rather than to take charge of our own lives.

Sins of the fathers

I mean, in a country with our amount of sunshine it is positively sinful to be using up fossil fuels anyway. ESKOM is failing us, indeed, but maybe they are doing us a favour. We KNOW the consequences and dangers of coal burning and fracking (a.o. lung diseases and earthquakes) of nuclear power (a.o. radiation and genetic abnormalities), but we WILL have our electricity at all costs. Read that phrase again: “at-all-costs.” What kind of a world are we leaving for our children? Isn’t it time to take stock and examine how we can leave South Africa in a slightly better condition for our children and our grandchildren, rather than to exploit and deplete our resources now, now, now for our own, selfish, immediate comfort?

“Creative solutions” isn’t just an advertising slogan     

We are so used to expecting somebody else to sort out our problems. Isn’t it time to take ‘green thinking’ into our own psyches, and work creatively with the way things are? My solar shower has piping hot water, and my kitchen’s grey water grows huge banana trees and fig trees, and together with river sand it filters the greasy water so effectively that the residue waters a flourishing bed of flowers and herbs. And no, you do not need a lot of space to do this: Three-crate vegetable gardens feed a family. Several neighbours share an outside wood fired oven and once a week we all bake our bread in it. And lo and behold: there is enough heat left over to place our black cast iron pots of soup or stew in it overnight, and we have the bonus of steaming creamy slow cooked porridge in the morning too. Isn’t it great to know your nutritious breakfast did not use up petrol, pollute the air, erode the roads or … cost the earth?

This is also the place where we find out if the others are healthy, sad, worried or well.

UBUNTU comes in many forms. None of them spells ‘grid’.