California Investment Network


Recent Blog


Pitching Help Desk


Testimonials

"I'm very impressed with the level of professionalism of this network. I registered my request over three months now, and the response has been overwhelming; beyond my expectations. Although I have not closed any deals as yet, I'm still very hopeful. Keep up the good work!"
Verona Mustagal

 BLOG >> Recent

Living Off the Grid [Trends
Posted on February 22, 2016 @ 07:15:00 AM by Paul Meagher

What does it mean to be "Off The Grid"?

That is the question that Phillip Vannini and Johnathan Taggart explore in their book Off the Grid: Re-assembling Domestic Life (2015). The book arose from a research grant to study the lives of 200 off-gridders located in all the different provinces of Canada. Because so many different off-gridders were interviewed at different times of year, in different climates, and with different motivations, it paints a rich and diverse portrait of what life is like off grid.

This is not a book you would pick up to learn how to physically survive off grid. It is a book you would want to pick up if you wanted to understand the motivations and lifeworld of those who live off grid. Why would we want to learn about off-gridders?

Anthopologists study other cultures both for the sake of understanding those cultures and, using comparative methods, to help us to understand own culture better. Most of us take for granted all the grids we are connected to - the power grid, a natural gas grid, a sewage grid, a water grid, a communications grid, and a transportation grid are the most common grids we are connected to. Going off grid technically means removing yourself from the power grid or a natural gas grid, but many off-gridders also take care of their own sewage and water. They may also be removed from main roads and cut off from one or more types of communications (TV being a common media form they abandon). Many also grow some of their own food and disconnect to some extent from the food grid as well.

Being off grid means you have to take care of more of the basic functions of living than most of us do. It means having fewer of the conveniences and comforts we often take for granted. Why would someone want to do this?

A common reason is simply that was too costly to hook up power to the remote location where they want to live. Some want to reduce the cost of living, some do it for environmental reasons, some want to be more connected with the rhythms and resources of nature. Some net-zero off-gridders disconnect from the power grid in urban settings and speak to the advantages of being able to access necessities on a bicycle or by walking, rather than hopping in a car to access on-grid services.

The book attempts to get into the minds and environment of off-gridders using a wide array of literary sources. Many of the case-studies of off-gridders are briefer than I would have liked, but given the volume of interviewees they want to to discuss this is understandable. The case-studies are used to high-light particular aspects of off-grid life that the authors want to focus a longer critical discussion of. They assembled a vast array of interesting theories and ideas in an effort to understand the lifeworld of off-gridders. Sometimes the critical theory seems to be used as a substitute for any real insight; other times it helps to shine a revealing light on what might be unique about such lifestyles and how they differ from what we find normal.

The book is accompanied by a film that you can rent from the Off the Grid website. The film is currently being shown and discussed in many communities around the world. You can also listen to segments of their interviews at their Innovative Enthographies SoundCloud page

I'm recommending that you watch the film, listen to an interview, or read the book as a way to understand our own culture by comparison to a culture that chooses not to take many of our modern conveniences and comforts for granted. Maybe you have some romantic notions of living off grid. These resources will give your more realistic notions of what off grid living is like in its many and varied forms.

I'll conclude by suggesting that the Living Off Grid project could also be used as a case study for modern independent film making. Take a subject that most people have an interest in, get some funding to explore the topic in the field and through research, create some buzz along the way by discussing your project as fieldwork and research is progressing, create a dynamic website where people can order your film and track how the project is evolving, and offer up multimedia experiences to your audience (e.g., book, film, audio). The book also offers some insights into the trials and tribulations they experienced as they did their fieldwork which might be useful and amusing for independent film makers as well.

Permalink 

 Archive 
 

Archive


 September 2020 [1]
 June 2020 [4]
 May 2020 [1]
 April 2020 [2]
 March 2020 [1]
 February 2020 [1]
 January 2020 [1]
 December 2019 [1]
 November 2019 [2]
 October 2019 [2]
 September 2019 [1]
 July 2019 [1]
 June 2019 [2]
 May 2019 [2]
 April 2019 [5]
 March 2019 [4]
 February 2019 [3]
 January 2019 [3]
 December 2018 [4]
 November 2018 [2]
 September 2018 [2]
 August 2018 [1]
 July 2018 [1]
 June 2018 [1]
 May 2018 [5]
 April 2018 [4]
 March 2018 [2]
 February 2018 [4]
 January 2018 [4]
 December 2017 [2]
 November 2017 [6]
 October 2017 [6]
 September 2017 [6]
 August 2017 [2]
 July 2017 [2]
 June 2017 [5]
 May 2017 [7]
 April 2017 [6]
 March 2017 [8]
 February 2017 [7]
 January 2017 [9]
 December 2016 [7]
 November 2016 [7]
 October 2016 [5]
 September 2016 [5]
 August 2016 [4]
 July 2016 [6]
 June 2016 [5]
 May 2016 [10]
 April 2016 [12]
 March 2016 [10]
 February 2016 [11]
 January 2016 [12]
 December 2015 [6]
 November 2015 [8]
 October 2015 [12]
 September 2015 [10]
 August 2015 [14]
 July 2015 [9]
 June 2015 [9]
 May 2015 [10]
 April 2015 [10]
 March 2015 [9]
 February 2015 [8]
 January 2015 [5]
 December 2014 [11]
 November 2014 [10]
 October 2014 [10]
 September 2014 [8]
 August 2014 [7]
 July 2014 [6]
 June 2014 [7]
 May 2014 [6]
 April 2014 [3]
 March 2014 [8]
 February 2014 [6]
 January 2014 [5]
 December 2013 [5]
 November 2013 [3]
 October 2013 [4]
 September 2013 [11]
 August 2013 [4]
 July 2013 [8]
 June 2013 [10]
 May 2013 [14]
 April 2013 [12]
 March 2013 [11]
 February 2013 [19]
 January 2013 [20]
 December 2012 [5]
 November 2012 [1]
 October 2012 [3]
 September 2012 [1]
 August 2012 [1]
 July 2012 [1]
 June 2012 [2]


Categories


 Agriculture [72]
 Bayesian Inference [14]
 Books [15]
 Business Models [24]
 Causal Inference [2]
 Creativity [7]
 Decision Making [15]
 Decision Trees [8]
 Design [37]
 Eco-Green [4]
 Economics [12]
 Education [10]
 Energy [0]
 Entrepreneurship [65]
 Events [2]
 Farming [20]
 Finance [25]
 Future [15]
 Growth [18]
 Investing [24]
 Lean Startup [10]
 Leisure [5]
 Lens Model [9]
 Making [1]
 Management [9]
 Motivation [3]
 Nature [22]
 Patents & Trademarks [1]
 Permaculture [36]
 Psychology [2]
 Real Estate [2]
 Robots [1]
 Selling [11]
 Site News [19]
 Startups [12]
 Statistics [3]
 Systems Thinking [3]
 Trends [7]
 Useful Links [3]
 Valuation [1]
 Venture Capital [5]
 Video [2]
 Writing [2]