Holiday reading - I've had a couple of emails asking what I was reading while on holiday - well here is one of the books....'How to Live Off-Grid' by Nick Rosen - it investigates the possibilities and challenges of living an off-grid lifestyle - ie no mains water and no mains power).
Photos: VW van and the book cover
The book has lots of useful information and tells the stories of real people living an off-grid life - their motivations, their struggles, their problems, and their solutions. How they cope with council planners, neighbours, and more - it is a very useful starting point and I've already recommended it to several folk - and locally it provided some info to those of us seeking a Low Carbon Impact Building policy in Stroud District - if we can get that change then it will make it easier to have more low impact building....is there anyone out there in Stroud who would like to help on this - we need a bit more support if this is going to happen???
Of course it is not all log cabins or strawbale homes, living off-grid can also includes vans, caravans and all other mobile homes - the book looks at that - the author in his search dismissed anything Volkswagen as they command an absurdly high price, guzzle petrol, are noisy, uncomfortable and there is no room for standing up - however I still love them - saw the one above while in Norway.
Rosen writes that Off-gridding maybe looking more attractive with increased flexi-working, wireless 3G technology, renewable energy looking more attractive, house prices that are still high and a population that is putting pressure on housing space. Indeed Gordon Brown says he wants 3 million more homes by 2020, and all new build to be zero carbon from 2016 on - yet at the moment planning law makes it hugely difficult for anyone interested in going Off-Grid....let us hope that some flexibility can return...
The book unfortunately got my goat early on by what seemed to be very prejudice statements when referring to gypsies - he says for example when writing of the 130,ooo plus camper vans: "....and that does not include the most feared of van dwellers, the gypsies...To be frank I disapprove of them. I would not take issue with their refusal to join the society within which they live, nor their frequent use of the dole. That is up to them, and I am glad to live in a country that can sustain them. I just don't like the way gypsies so often despoil the sites they use......" I wont go into that now - indeed regular blog readers will know I have talked some in the past about such prejudices towards gypsies - however even the suggestion they might be refusing to join society is offensive - they existed long before we created our current 'society' - possibly more justification than some of the off-gridders the author writes about....anyhow I did recover from this and enjoyed the book - although I am not in a position to look at off-gridding anytime soon....
Order from Stroud Bookshop online here. See Nick Rosen's useful website with lots more info and discussion - although I do get totally annoyed by the adverts cutting across what you want to read - and ads for us to consume more - slightly at odds to say the least with many folks reasons for wanting to go off-grid -[ anyhow here it is: www.off-grid.net/