Many people say they couldn’t live off grid because they couldn’t live without electricity. My wife was one of those people. 1st of all we seem to forget that less than 100 years ago over 50% of the U.S. population lived without electricity and the vast majority of the people in the world have had electricity for less than that. Somehow people actually lived for thousands of years without it. But how was that possible? They simply had other ways of doing things. They used wax and oils for light, wood for cooking and heating and hand tools and animals before power tools and tractors.
How have we gotten so far away that most have forgotten the valuable skills needed to live without electricity? Why remember, teach and practice these skills if we have easier even automated ways of doing them? This is a battle the Amish have fought since automation and electricity became available. They saw the potential downside of the loss of these vital skills. We need to recognize that too and we need to learn those skills while we still can.
The U.S. government commissioned a study by top experts to find out what would likely happen if the electric grid went down in a catastrophic way. The report came back that it would take around 10 years to get electricity working around the country. They could get a few cities up in a few years but they said that 90% of Americans would die in the first year without electricity. That seemed like a ridiculously high number so I researched to figure out how they came to that conclusion. For starters most people don’t have more than 3 days worth of food in there house most of the time. Why should we? The store isn’t very far away for most people and you can get in your car and drive there without using much of your own energy. But if the grid goes down then trucks stop delivering to stores and the shelves empty very quickly. Just look at pictures and videos of store shelves when a hurricane or blizzard if announced for an area. Next you might drive around from store to store hoping to get enough for to last you. By the time you’re done you notice that you’re low on gas so you go to the gas station to fill up and either the lines are huge and the gas is being rationed or you can’t get any because the pumps run on electricity and the gas station doesn’t have a backup generator. Now you go home to wait it out until the power comes back on. It doesn’t, you’re running out of food and it’s getting really cold out. You realize that your gas or oil furnace doesn’t work without electricity. Many people will starve because even if they have a lot of food they will run out and without the skills and seeds to grow more or skills to hunt or forage they will die. Some will freeze or die of heat stroke depending on where they live. Some will die due to lack of medical care and medication. Others will succumb to diseases from lack of good sanitary conditions and still others will have mental breakdowns that lead to their demise. It is a bleak picture but a possible reality for the future. We need to take advantage of whatever time we have to relearn the skills of old. In doing so we can realize that living off grid now is a great way to be prepared for the future.
I also want to mention that off grid doesn’t have to mean living without electricity but rather generating your own electricity and managing your use in a responsible manner. Off grid living can be as primitive or modern as you want it to be.