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From a time ago, I follow a site named Off-Grid, which presents itself like this:
“Off-Grid.net is an eclectic mix of practical advice, news from the on-grid world and issues rarely covered by the mainstream media. It promotes the many enterprises that are working for a sustainable future. It campaigns on issues affecting people who live or work off-grid, […]
We want to see large-scale off-grid developments in towns and in the countryside, so that the hundreds of thousands who would like to live this way are free to do so”
Apart from that, the site gathers a substantial number of individuals living or wanting to live disconnected from the supply grids, specially electric grid. There is also a map with the registered people from all around the world. I also have made my registration as “people who want to go off-the-grid”.
There are no precise neither recent data, but some serious extra official estimations say that in 2007, there were some 250.000 households off-the-grid in the United States.
Apart from data and Internet communities, the idea is earnest.
It must be clarified that the concept Off-grid has nothing to do with living isolated, even to live disconnected to the system. Off-Grid is a social reaction to the current supply of basic services (water, electricity, communications, housing,…) that get the citizens all around the globe, which are under the control of huge lobbies present at any level -global and local- and at any economic sector.
The initiative looks to foster the renewable energy sources and the use and rational distribution or natural resources. In short, a fair and sustainable development.
But apart from a personal choice for a specific way of life, what really gives the proper support to these kind of initiatives are two unstoppable factors: the climate change suffered by the Earth and the technological advance of renewables.
Nowadays, they are just small communities and extraordinary initiatives but, little by little, we are going to be more and more the ones who move off-the-system, at least such it is currently established. Time will tell.