Off grid living is a choice that more and more people are making each passing year. Everyone has their own reasons for choosing to live off grid. For some, they want to be free of utility companies and high monthly electric bills. For others, they want to really get off the grid and away from as much government control as possible. Yet others see it as their duty to reduce their carbon footprint and have as little impact on the environment as possible. There are even more reasons that one might decide to embrace the off grid lifestyle, and all of them are valid on multiple levels, and all of them do have the end result(usually anyway) of being better for the planet we all live on together.
Still, for now, the off grid lifestyle is essentially a choice, not something that has to be done, but that is almost certain to change in the future as climate change forces more and more people to embrace off grid living to one degree or another.
The simple truth is that climate change is real and it is happening. The evidence, an overwhelming amount of it, tells us that human activity has contributed to it, and in no small way over the last century or so. Some may deny it, others may dismiss humanities role in it, but no matter what your views are, reality has been demonstrating the truth of our situation more and more each year. It is naive, at best, to believe that burning fossil fuels and pumping tons of greenhouse gasses into our atmosphere have no impact on the conditions of our planet, yet some people dismiss this fact. Of course, most of those driving the denial of our situation tend to be fossil fuel producers, or those who pocket large sums of money from them.
Yet they will try and project their own corruption onto others by claiming that those arguing for the cleanup of our environment and a transition to renewables are in it solely for financial gain. Never mind that the fossil fuel industry dwarfs renewables in terms of profits, and that they do so with the help of large government subsidies here in the U.S. We’re supposed to ignore that and believe that they are the ones protecting truth and integrity in this debate. It’s laughable.
Let’s move on from the absurd notion that a band of plucky billionaires, corporations, and the politicians in their pockets, are the ones without a profit driven motive here and focus on the likely outcome. Climate change is going to force more people into the off grid lifestyle, even under the best case scenarios at this point. Rising temperatures, rising sea levels, decreasing clean water supplies, longer and more intense droughts, more extreme weather with hotter summers and even new record cold snaps with stronger blizzards in the winter are already our reality. This is no longer a case of “in the future” because the future, whether we admit it or not, is here now.
The sad part is, we are probably too late to prevent some of the more dire consequences that have long been predicted. Even worse, we still have world leaders who dismiss it as a hoax, even while they file claims citing climate change to their insurance companies or in lawsuits. The criminal part of it all is that we know for a fact that the fossil fuel industry was aware of their impacts on the climate decades ago, even while they paid politicians hundreds of millions of dollars to ignore or outright deny that climate change was real.
Their own studies, conducted over 40 years ago, concluded that climate change was happening, that it would get worse, and that their industry was a major factor. Some of them even accurately predicted the rise in global temperatures for the coming decades at the time. So, this isn’t a case of them not realizing the damage being done, it is the opposite, they were acutely aware of it, and then they actively worked to suppress and deny it by using their vast wealth and influence to turn scientific fact into a perceived debate between two equal opinions.
They did this while pulling Billions upon Billions of dollars in government subsidies to increase their profit margins. Even if you still refuse to accept the reality, you should at least be a little bit miffed that companies who post record breaking profits keep getting insane handouts from your tax dollars.
In any of the best, or just “better” case scenarios, climate change is still going to have major impacts on the way we live our lives in the future. Those who are prepared or able to, will almost certainly move to a more off grid style of living. The fact that clean and safe drinking water is already a dwindling resource, means that many will need to find a way to produce their own drinking water supplies.
Having a piece of land with access to a pond, lake, stream or other water source is certainly one way to do that, but droughts could cause those to dry up, and since we are seeing an increase in pollution the last 3 years after decades of decline, means that the safety of those sources could be questionable even if they don’t dry up. This means you are going to need another system in place as a backup or to purify any questionable supply you might have on your off grid property.
There are products on the market now that can pull moisture from the air, one of which we just recently covered and it is capable of producing up to 10 liters of clean water per day, and it can be scaled up to give you even more if you have a large family or plan to live with a bigger community. Even those who remain in a more urban or suburban environment would be advised to embrace this piece of off grid technology.
Another problem is going to be our power grids. Rising temperatures in the summer put more stress on our electrical grids as more people crank up their AC to stay comfortable. This can result in rolling blackouts or even complete loss of power for extended periods as our outdated infrastructure strains itself trying to meet the overwhelming demand it will face. We can already see this taking place in many cities each summer, which means it is only going to get worse.
The fact that our government refuses to stop their partisan bickering long enough to pass much needed infrastructure legislation means each of us are going to be responsible for finding solutions of our own. Options will be extremely limited if you live in a city, especially if you are living in an apartment without the ability to install your own solar panels.
This means more people are likely to move away from cities, or at least into less populated areas where they have the option of using a solar, wind turbine, or other energy source to supplement or replace the dependence on the grid. It isn’t just a matter of comfort either. Each year there are numerous deaths caused by the summer heat as well as deaths caused during extreme cold snaps in the winter. Both of which tend to result from the failure of our power grids which then cuts off access to heating and air conditioning.
It can be even worse in the dead of winter due to the conditions making it all but impossible to travel to a better situation or a friend or family member who still has access to electricity or a proper method to stay warm (fireplace, wood burning heater, etc)
If those problems weren’t bad enough, and I doubt I have been able to fully convey just how dire it could get because words just can’t do the job the justice it truly needs, we are also seeing extended and more severe droughts all over the globe. This creates multiple problems, but the one that may be the most obvious is going to be a negative impact on our food supply.
Lower yields means less food, which means higher prices for the food that does make it to market. With millions in the U.S. alone already struggling to put enough food on their tables, increased prices and shortages are only going to make it much worse. Most people get most, if not all, of their food from stores. As temperatures rise and droughts drag on year after year, not only are fewer crops grown, but those that we are able to still grow, are in danger of being wiped out by the increase in wildfires, or even by pests that often hatch in greater numbers due to more mild winters.
With a lack of other foods for them to eat, our carefully curated crops are in greater jeopardy of infestation.
This is also where the other problems created by global warming really start to compound. The decreasing water supply often means rationing of water supplies, it means farmers who want to use the water they need will often have fines and fees imposed on them, which of course, is then passed on to the consumers. With dryer land, and increased fire risks, we see more and stronger fires each season.
Factor in water shortages, and eventually we lack the resources to properly fight these spreading fires. It all starts to feed into one another and this means that those who still rely on grocery stores, city power and water supplies, or other conveniences we have taken for granted in modern society, will struggle more and more. Our failure to act decades ago, means these issues will have at least some impact, or already has in some areas which will only get worse.
These problems won’t just be inconvenient, they will be, and are, life threatening. All of them will be made worse here in the U.S. due to the fact that we have refused to upgrade our infrastructure in most of the country.
For the above reasons and more, those who have moved off grid will have a better chance at surviving and thriving despite this. Keep in mind, we haven’t even delved into the more extreme outcomes, such as entire coastal cities becoming uninhabitable, wars being fought over shrinking water supplies, mass migrations of climate refugees, and more. All of which is becoming much more likely the longer we ignore the science and continue with this false debate so that fossil fuel companies and their politicians can keep padding their bank accounts.
In order to survive more people are simply going to have to embrace off grid living. It will become almost essential to live in a place that has solar panels, wind turbines, or other renewable energy that doesn’t rely on the local power grid. You’re also going to need to have room to install water purification systems, or even hydro panels that can produce water from the air around us so that you can have clean drinking water for you and your family.
Access to another water source would be a huge benefit as well, since it would allow you to grow at least some of your own food. For these reasons, we are very likely to see an increase in people moving outside of the cities, either onto their own plots of land, or into communities that are better designed to face these challenges.
Some cities are trying to get ahead of the curve by building battery backups for their power grids, switching from coal and gas power plants to solar or wind (or at least including them in their overall supply to help reduce the strain on the outdated system), but for the most part, this is going to be left up to the individual to solve unless our governments finally admit that we have a problem to begin with.