Living Off Grid: Convenience vs Sustainability

| 4/13/2012 12:12:09 PM

Green living, off grid and sustainability are words that are often mentioned in a way that would make them interconnected. This isn’t a blog about semantics but rather an analysis of our own progress towards these three terms in the pursuit of our off grid adventure.

It’s not my intention to have a discussion with anyone about what is right or wrong, how far we should go to clean up our act concerning the environment, or where to draw the line between things like pipelines vs. wildlife and other hot topics that headline national and local news. Many of these issues need to be decided on a case by case basis and considerations given to both need and effect.

This blog is more about the choices Laurie and I have made between convenience vs. sustainability in our pursuit to go off grid.

I’m not sure we ever intended to become “green” but rather chose to utilize better practices in some areas of our lives that just made sense. I’m also pretty sure that if you went around asking everyone what “green” meant you would get as many different answers as the number of people you talked to.

I think anything you can do to improve the quality of the world we live in or lessen your impact should be considered green, and I would hope that most people would consider that to be just good common sense.

It makes sense to recycle and reduce waste. It makes sense to use less fossil fuel or emit less smoke, exhaust, or other unhealthy toxins into the air we breathe. How could anyone argue against that?

Laurie has managed to drag me into the recycling world at least to the extent that I now pay attention and participate. We pay attention to the things we do that would cause pollution or other harm to the environment and try to keep our impact to a minimum.

HeaterWe’ve installed a heating system that utilizes the trees we grow on our own property and the emissions from our masonry heater are 95% efficient. We can grow more trees than we need for heat so I consider that to be a plus in the green department.

Guy Greene
10/3/2012 5:22:10 PM

Great information.. Living off the grid is definitely the way to go

LaMar Alexander
4/27/2012 7:16:45 PM

Having been an off grid homesteader for over 15 years I have learned that there is a difference in being 100% self-sufficient (which is impossible in my opinion) and living a sustainable life that works with society.I produce my own energy, water, and majority of my food from my homestead but I still rely on stores and bartering for things I can not produce myself and I rely on the internet and transportation, hospitals, schools, libraries, police protection, and fire departments etc. So to offset the cost for those essential services I run a small local business and an online business which supports my needs that require money. I have minimal needs and I do everything I can for myself but for somethings we all still rely on being a member of society and there is no shame in that. You can see my cabin at for anyone interested.

4/14/2012 11:30:48 AM

All solutions require a compromise among conflicting factors, including not only the practical but also the asthetic. As you point out, green is nice, but having a back-up may be necessary to mintain a certain level of comfort consistently.... Unless we're willing to live a Third World lifestyle, most of us who want to live self-sufficiently really make some significant compromises. We're like kids living the great adventure of camping out in our suburban backyards: we don't have to put up with wolves or bears and we can always run back into the house if a thunderstorm comes up unexpectedly....Luckily, homesteading isn't for everybody. Those of us who try it still have the others back in civilization to make our fancy kitchen stoves, PV panels and electronic converters.

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