And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
The End Times May Be Something Like What Is Happening in Japan But on a Massive Scale Worldwide (Destruction of 1/3 of the Earth)AFP
March 21, 2011
Ten days after Japan's tsunami disaster, towns far from the impact zone are still experiencing shortages that have thrown the neat, ordered lives of local residents completely out of gear.
Gas station queues stretching for several kilometres, long waits at supermarkets, empty store shelves and shuttered businesses have become a part of the landscape in post-tsunami Japan.
At the foot of the Mount Iwate volcano, the people of Morioka city -- almost 100 kilometres (60 miles) west of the devastated coast -- are still trying to adjust to the sudden absence of many things they had simply taken for granted.
At a gas station on the outskirts of the city, motorists waited hours on end before finally reaching the gas pump, clutching a 2,000 yen ($25, 17 euros) daily rationing coupon in their hands. The coupon is barely enough to buy a third of a tank on an average-sized city car. One man wasted so much gas queuing up that his car ran dry and needed several people to push it up to the station.
Kabuya Kubo said she had waited for nearly six hours to put gas in her tank. Ever since the tsunami, she has had to bike to work whenever the car runs low on fuel -- a one-hour trip, versus 15 minutes by car.
"Now, again, I realize that electricity, gas, all of that is really important," she said. "Because there's no gas, I can't go anywhere that's far away. It's difficult."Most gas stations have been cordoned off or closed for the better part of the day due to disruptions in the supply system caused by the March 11 earthquake and ensuing tsunami that devastated Japan's northeastern coastline.
The tidal wave that intruded 10 kilometres (six miles) inland in certain areas engulfed large tracts of arable land in the agriculturally rich prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima.
"There are no more meat and vegetables. I'm eating instant meals all the time," said Naohiko Seki. "I would like to regain my old life, but when I think about people who suffered from the tsunami, I tell myself I shouldn't complain."A ramen noodle restaurant on the main shopping street downtown only offered a single type of plain fried rice for sale. There were no customers in sight at 2:00 pm and the usually busy room stood empty.
"Ever since the disaster, our suppliers haven't been able to reach us. We haven't been getting many customers recently," said cook Toshiyo Sasaki.As fresh produce grows scarcer, restaurants are serving more prepared foods and noodle- or rice-based dishes than ever before.
"Our restaurant is usually open 24/7 but now we can't stay open all the time. We have reduced working hours because we can't get the products we need."
Convenience stores, usually open around the clock, had row after row of empty shelves, where prepared foods like the normally ubiquitous 'onigiri' rice balls, water and milk products once stood.
Popular French bakery Pompadour opened at 1:00 pm and had sold out its entire stock of bread and pastries in two hours.
Outside a shopping mall, a handful of school students held up signs about the tsunami disaster and asked customers for donations to buy food and clothes for the victims.
A group of green-clad boy and girl scouts on the main shopping street also urged passersby to donate -- and many did, even encouraging their young children to drop a few coins in the box.
Yoshii Sato said he was a "little afraid" for his very young daughter.
"It's really strange. The stores have almost no baby food and other items. It makes me uneasy and anxious. I am worried because I don't know whether or not I will be able to buy what my child needs," he said.Still, Sato stressed that others had to cope with much worse.
"In Morioka, we are getting by okay, but toward the coast, many more people have lost their homes and are forced to suffer. We feel very sad for them."
And to Him was given the key of the bottomless pit.
And He opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace;
And the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.
And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth:
And unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree;
But only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.
And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months:
And their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.
And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.
And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle.
And on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.
And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.
And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron;
And the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.
And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails:
And their power was to hurt men five months.
And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit,
Whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.
One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter."
March 21, 2011
It’s been ten days since the Tsunami swept through Japan and wiped out the entire infrastructure of the North Eastern part of the island. Like the US, just-in-time delivery made essentials like food and water as easily accessible as air. But when the grid goes down in an economy so dependent on inventory management, transportation, and electronic debit transactions, all hell breaks loose. Nearly two weeks on, the people in areas affected by the Tsunami and nuclear crisis have seen little relief. Many are just struggling to survive on a few hundred calories per day.
In another time, another place, Kazuhiro Takahashi could be taken for a tramp, out scavenging for food after a long night on the bottle. In fact, he is just another hungry victim of Japan’s tsunami trying to find food for his family.
“I am so ashamed,” says the 43-year-old construction worker after he realizes he’s been spotted. “But for three days we don’t have enough food. I have no money because my house was washed away by the tsunami and the cash machine is not working.”
If his haul wasn’t so pitiful – his bag had two packets of defrosted prawn dumplings and a handful of vacuumpacked seafood sticks inside – Takahashi might be taken for a looter. But in the port town of Ichinomaki, 320 kilometres north of Tokyo, his story is disturbingly common.
Japan might be a rich country, but a week after the tsunami struck it is struggling to feed and house the victims.
“I have a place in a rescue centre in the Aka’i Elementary School, but the food they are giving us is not enough,” Takahashi says. “My parents are in their 70s and we receive a tiny bowl of plain rice twice a day, with nothing else, just a pinch of salt. We are hungry, so I have come to look for food.”
Source: The Gazette
Gas station queues stretching for several kilometres, long waits at supermarkets, empty store shelves and shuttered businesses have become a part of the landscape in post-tsunami Japan.
At the foot of the Mount Iwate volcano, the people of Morioka city — almost 100 kilometres (60 miles) west of the devastated coast — are still trying to adjust to the sudden absence of many things they had simply taken for granted.
At a gas station on the outskirts of the city, motorists waited hours on end before finally reaching the gas pump, clutching a 2,000 yen ($25, 17 euros) daily rationing coupon in their hands. The coupon is barely enough to buy a third of a tank on an average-sized city car.
“There are no more meat and vegetables. I’m eating instant meals all the time,” said Naohiko Seki. “I would like to regain my old life, but when I think about people who suffered from the tsunami, I tell myself I shouldn’t complain.”
Convenience stores, usually open around the clock, had row after row of empty shelves, where prepared foods like the normally ubiquitous ‘onigiri’ rice balls, water and milk products once stood.
“It’s really strange. The stores have almost no baby food and other items. It makes me uneasy and anxious. I am worried because I don’t know whether or not I will be able to buy what my child needs,” he said.
Author Naseem Talib calls it a black swan – an extraordinary event so remote that one cannot plan or prepare for it. Donald Rumsfeld once described events in the Iraq war as “known unknowns” and “unknown unknowns.” The only thing we really do know with respect to disaster planning is that sometimes we just can’t know what to expect due to lack of available information or contemplation.
For those in Japan, even a cache of food, water, gas, and other reserve supplies would not have been enough. Many homes were simply wiped away, leaving residents with literally nothing but the clothes on their backs. In this situation, desperation sets in quickly. And without a local emergency response, or a culture of support, social norms, laws and decency can dissolve within days.
The Japanese, unlike disaster victims we’ve seen in other crisis regions like New Orleans or Haiti, have been handling themselves as well as they can, without much violence or reports of looting. Emergency responders, government and the private sector have not been completely ineffective, and have managed to keep the flow of commerce moving to those parts of Japan most affected, albeit not at the pace most would expect from a leading global player.
In Japan, ATM machines are down, and banks are closed in Tsunami areas and nuclear evacuation zones. This means that unless you had cash or something of value on your person at the time the disaster struck there is no way to acquire whatever goods are available without government assistance. Even within a technologically advanced society like Japan, however, even the basics become difficult to distribute for emergency responders and military personnel when we’re talking numbers in the millions of people.
In his book Indivisible, author Troy Grice writes of a ration-card solution that keeps commerce moving during a US dollar currency collapse. Grice wasn’t too far off in his fictional account. In response to the wide-spread regional disaster, the Japanese government has issued ration cards, which are seemingly the only viable course of action in the first world when the monetary unit of exchange, in this case the Yen, becomes unavailable.
Unlike the first few days of Katrina, where residents had no access to clean water or food, or Haiti, where gangs roamed the streets looking to loot and pillage essential supplies, the Japanese have been able to restore some of their infrastructure, namely food, water, limited gasoline and the sense that the country is starting to move forward.
Save a further degradation of the nuclear situation, the very worst – those initial days after crisis where families lost loved ones and food and water were unavailable – may be behind the people of Japan.
The Japanese people, it seems, have been able to hold strong. At least that’s what reports from the devastated region suggest thus far. Those who are of the ability to help have been doing so, as it is clear that the government is totally overwhelmed. Any nation whose people can respond by working together, by sharing, by comforting each other, will undoubtedly recover. Johann Hari, writes, in The myth of the panicking disaster victim, of how human beings have responded to disasters throughout history:
The evidence gathered over centuries of disasters, natural and man-made, is overwhelming. The vast majority of people, when a disaster hits, behave in the aftermath as altruists. They organise spontaneously to save their fellow human beings, to share what they have, and to show kindness. They reveal themselves to be better people than they ever expected. When the social scientist Enrico Quarantelli tried to write a thesis on how people descend into chaos and panic after disasters, he concluded: “My God! I can’t find any instances of it.” On the contrary, he wrote, in disasters “the social order does not break down… Co-operative rather than selfish behaviour predominates”.
On 18 April 1906, San Francisco was levelled by an earthquake. Much of the city collapsed, and the rest began to burn. Anna Amelia Holshouser – a middle-aged journalist – was thrown out of bed, and felt her house collapse around her. She wandered the streets, and found herself sleeping that night in the park. But then the daze wore off, and she did what almost everybody else did: she began to look after the people around her. She knitted tents out of old clothes to house all the children who had lost their parents. She set up a soup kitchen, and the local shop-keepers handed over the goods for free. Hundreds of people gathered there, as they were gathering around similar people across the city. Anna put up a sign that said: “One Touch of Nature Makes the Whole World Kin.
Originally Published on August 23, 2005
Each and every day, people around the world are realizing that the one-world government is based upon a hybrid Socialism-Communism economics system — a system of corporate governance and ownership of natural resources, land, water, and complete control of human beings. It is a system based upon the marriage of corporations, science and politics. It is a system that is funded by us, the world’s people.
But what do knowing people do? We can’t fight manufactured super viruses, HAARP and psychotronic weapons; and we certainly cannot fight global nuclear arsenals. But we can, however, refuse to think and participate in the global economics systems, which were set up to literally enslave humankind.
For instance, the usury system, which was implemented to keep us in a perpetual state of un-payable and unsolvable debt, can go unused.It is time to reinvent America, but we cannot do so using the current bastardization of our Constitution. Congress has become corrupted in unimaginable senses, and representation has been steadily eroded over the last 200+ years. We have seen a steady march toward government by corporate aristocracy for 200+ years, but we allowed the taking of freedom in exchange for a perceived ownership of stuff.
We have been sold a bill of goods that we are “successful” if we owned things — including homes (remember the push several years ago by our leadership that declared all Americans should own homes). In fact, “ownership” does not exist under the current Federal Reserve System and centralized wealth banking system. The usury system actually began with the birth of our nation.
“Ownership” in America actually means that you, yourself, are owned and that anything you have accumulated, including land, homes, automobiles, and other possessions, can be taken. We are now realizing the truth of this system. The usury system also identifies people as bank-owned commodities. This comes in handy as the world switches to global Socialism and perceived “rights” are eliminated one by one.
It is time to understand government for the first time in American history, and it is time to create the government of our choosing. To even have the chance to do so, we must stop thinking like controlled subjects, and we must stop living under bureaucratic regulations of control. We must recreate ourselves by recreating our patterns of thinking and living. There is simply no other alternative but globally regulated enslavement by global aristocrats — and they have arrived fully armed and loaded to the teeth with weapons and taxation cash. Their entire system is based upon our money and their interest rates. We have to stop funding our enslavers.
Have you ever wondered why our nation is insanely bankrupt when supposedly genius economists have been in charge of our economy for a century or two? Whole teams of Ivy League aristocrats and their political buddies who are responsible for economic policies, and who have managed to collapse the most successful nations in the world? Well, the answer is quite clear — all governance is changing into their hands and their desired system of economic siphoning. American people must understand that this is not an American phenomenon but a global initiative. And these global initiatives are very specific:
- No private ownership of property
- No private ownership of water including wells
- No mass mobility rights
- No private ownership of guns
- No religion minus environmental sustainability or “Gaia”
- No privacy rights
- Mandatory military and/or volunteer service
- No personal opinion
- No rights, whatsoever, to disagree with government or to dissent
- No rights to designated wilderness areas, Biosphere Reserves, historical designations, conservation easements, or buffer zones
- No rights to proven safe food and water or genetically unmodified food or seed
- No rights to protection from rampant taxation
- No voting rights, which are (1) completely corrupted and (2) being usurped by NGO take-overs
- No right, whatsoever, to knowledge in public education
- No right, whatsoever, to the development of personal opinion, philosophy, or individualism due to public education
- No right, whatsoever, to economic responsibility, due to the Federal Reserve System
Fascism is simply the marriage of corporation to government. That is its definition in full, and Fascism demands that the masses have no power to challenge or conquer its system. We know very well, for instance, that the FTAA will pass. We know, full well, that national borders are being dissolved for corporate work forces and profits. We know, full well, that public education is preparing American children for one-world corporate wages. And we know, full well, that there are global initiatives in the works in every nation on the planet to massively reduce the global population. We know that many corporations around the world are working to find and manufacture more super viruses.
We know that wars are manufactured to bring profits to the tables of multi-national corporations, to control natural resources, and to control people. We know that illegal drug trades fund wars and weapons, and are tied to the teeth to governments. We know that multi-national corporations control all mass media outlets — all of them. Do you still subscribe to cable TV, newspapers and magazines?
We are standing at the crossroads of history. What happens in the next week to 10 years will determine the condition of humankind for what may be centuries. If you are a religious person, of just about any faith, you may believe that humanity’s last battle is upon us, and that fate is pre-determined. However, I suggest to you that the Heavenly Father expects faith and action — not compliancy with deeds that clearly undermine the intellectual and spiritual potential of mankind.
Think people. We are standing at the crossroads. We have to go one way or the other. If you remain tied to the current system, your potential is already gone. Sadly, many realize the truth but choose to serve the elite. So be it, but if you cherish freedom and the right to your mind and its potential, but must act today and for the rest of your lives.
Originally Published on September 8, 2005
The question on everyone’s mind is, “How do we get off the grid?” You will not like the answers, for they involve permanent life changes. They will seem unrealistic and contrary to “The American Dream.”
What is important is that you understand and believe that “The American Dream” is purposefully unachievable under current governance. If you want to be successful in today’s America, you have to be dishonest, and you have to be willing to play ball with criminals. You want to do really well in America, you have to agree and partner with those who are devoted to taking down America.
If you want to fight criminality and thieves, you have to cut off their on-going supplies of dirty cash. In today’s world, dirty cash is:
- our tax dollars;
- our interest payments on homes, cars, and credit cards; and
- monthly payments to mass media and communications — all highly taxed, as well.
Sell your homes. Do it now. There is absolutely no reason to own homes when:
- they are not yours, and
- they can be taken for any reason.
Sadly, American-style home ownership became the stuff of ego, snobbery, exclusion, segregation and elitism. Home ownership in America is based upon whom to exclude and what to run from. This is no way to build a nation based upon loving your neighbors.
Second only to media partisanship, politically-motivated home ownership did more to segregate and divide American people than any other orchestrated scam.
After you sell your homes, pay off every single debt that you have, and never acquire another debt. Sell your automobiles and buy vehicles that do not need to be licensed. REMEMBER THE REAL ID COMES TO LIFE IN 2008. If you do not agree with the Real ID, don’t support the Real ID.
Do not fall for the “human settlement — Agenda 21” scam. Do not fall for the “transportation corridor” or “environmental corridor” scams. Do not move to the “convenient” locations. Go to the country, to the wilderness areas, and fight for your right to be there. FIGHT AGAINST ALL LAND TRUST ORGANIZATIONS. They are Socialist-siphoning organizations and exist explicitly to take land away from people — that is their sole function.
Do not borrow from banks and do not put your money into banks. Banks and their global scams are destroying America, global freedom, privacy, sovereignty, voting rights, and opinion. Global wealth, just like global armies, are being centralized under one command; and if you are making payments to banks in any way, shape or form, you are supporting and growing the take-over of America, American people, and global freedom. You cannot in good or clear conscience participate in any banking system in today’s world. They are the crux and the key to freedom’s demise. Keep cash, gold and silver, and keep it hidden.
Store water and make sure you have access to good water. Learn how to purify water (many ways, many websites). Buy 3-5 years of quality heirloom seed, and do it now. I recommend “Garden In A Can,” which can be purchased at beprepared.com. Learn how to can and buy canning supplies — a lot of them — and begin this fall. Buy good gardening books. Buy good tools and building supplies. Buy a good cooktop wood stove. Buy welding equipment, spare panes of glass, and always, always buy food in bulk. Do not buy anything from multi-purpose super centers. Buy from farmers, the Amish and Mennonite families, and traders. You might very well consider moving close to a traders complex for supplies, bartering and selling.
As I said, a new way of life is necessary to stop being a complicit player in the global take-over of human freedom.
Group together. Combine money, and do not fight each other for power and control. Learn history’s lessons once and for all. Believe in God. Do not let the U.N, environmental land trusts, and NGOs tell you or your children that you can’t believe in God in any way that you choose. That is the most private and fundamental right of every human being. Anyone or any group that tries to force their religious opinions down the throats of any human being denies God’s relationship with people and spiritual potential. You teach faith — you don’t enforce it or punish children for faith. Don’t let paid political mouthpieces and prostitutes dictate their profitable religion to you.
Equally, don’t let them bully you with their hidden treaties, non-profit lies, Memorandums of Understanding, partnerships, and stake-holding stooges. The way you cut them off at the knees is with money — no donations, no tax-based grants; and they all fall tumbling down.
Now, let’s talk about jobs. Blue-collar America is already cooked and gone as a result of the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, the United Nations, and our globalist leaders in the United States. Blue collar Americans, including farmers who have always been the salt of the Earth, are already earning deplorable wages. White-collar America is leaving America, and so are America’s million and billionaires. They know that war and Martial Law is impending in the U.S., and they are leaving. So, here is the bottom line:
If you still have a job with a major corporation — one that is funding your school district, making tax deductible donations to “environmental” organizations or mental or physical health organizations, quit your jobs. If you are supporting corporate take-overs of community services and taxpayers, then you are supporting the demise of this nation and human freedom. Quit your job, learn to live without enslavement to debt and corporate masters, and learn life skills — real life skills — like how to really feed and protect your families.Like I said before, group together, brainstorm needs, and build your lives instead of riding the globalization train of unpayable debt and non-stop servitude payments to aristocrats and their banks and corporations. Stop being a freedom-killing moron.
Schools — never again send your children into a public school; and never, ever again support a school levy. This should have been crystal clear to you at least 30 years ago. Never, ever again pay the salaries of teachers who know how bad public education has become, or administrators and superintendents who exchange your children’s intellectual capabilities, futures and freedom from addictions to both illegal and enforced legal substances for operating budgets and raises. They are a disgrace to this nation. If you allow your children to attend public schools, you deserve to lose your sovereignty and your freedom.
Finally, prepare for Martial Law. It will permanently usher the One World Government onto American soil. If you have not decided on which side of the line you stand by that time, it will be too late for you and your children. The best you can do is to learn to be as self-sufficient as you can possibly be and work together in groups of like-minded people.
And remember that debt to the globalists is your enemy. Do not carry credit. Close your credit accounts. You have been told that closing your accounts will damage your credit reports. That is a lie. Close your credit accounts and be very prepared for the fact that your mobility rights are going to be taken. You are not going to be able to afford gasoline. You must be prepared to live in a way that will allow you to take care of yourselves where ever you happen to be.
And if humanly possible, move away from the cities. Try to live in areas with water, ponds, and fish; and be prepared to guard them. Equally, your right to keep and bear is on the chopping block both in the U.S. and at the U.N., which now directs the U.S. Your right to own firearms and ammunition is slated for termination.
No intelligent citizen of any nation can fail to see the writing on the wall. Everything is changing. All cultures, belief and value systems, social systems, and living conditions are being forcibly changed into systems subservient to corporation governors. This is not rocket science anymore. It’s fully out in the open with each and every new law that is passed, each and every Executive Order that is declared, each and every new partnership that is formed, each and every installed president or national leader, and with each and every new acre that is taken by government or governmentally-partnered non-profits.
Be constantly aware that massive population reduction is an initial goal of global government. Some say a reduction by 50%, some say by 75%, and some fear by 80-90% — but whatever the actual goal, the greatest threat to global governance is a world full of too many deceived and manipulated people for the global aristocrats to safely continue their domination plans.
We have been told non-stop for the past 4 years that holocaust of one form or another is impending. I suggest that you take those warnings very, very seriously. I suggest that you prepare yourselves and your families, mustering more intelligence than, frankly, you’ve ever had to use in your lifetimes. Your world has changed and is going to change drastically in the future. You better be ready and you better have many skills at hand. Build practical libraries immediately. And remember, American people are very unskilled. Group yourselves and your resources together.
Threats can come from “terrorists,” but they can also come from economic collapse and Federal Reserve manipulation, manufactured super viruses, weather control, and perhaps even earthquake detonation. One never knows when one’s world is conspiratorial by nature and liars hide truth using our money to do so. Truth may hurt and it may be difficult, but it enslaves no one.
Nancy Levant is a life-long writer, a believer of God, country, Constitutional and individual rights. She resides in rural Southwestern Ohio. She has worked professionally with children since 1974 and is an ardent supporter of home schooling. Nancy Levant has done radio and television interviews, has been a guest speaker in many venues (including college campuses, schools, Indian reservations, human service organizations) and has been the president of a youth sports organization. Ms. Levant just completed 'The Collapse of Intuition', a non-fiction book about the decline of instinctual and intuitive abilities in American women. Equally, she is a writer for freedom and land rights issues and opposes the United Nation's Agenda 21 implementation in America.
June 9, 2009
In the summer of 1980, my wife, three-month old son and I moved “off-grid.” We loved living in San Francisco but wanted to live a simpler, more independent lifestyle, and so we bought a small cabin with land on a rural island in the Pacific Northwest. Since there were no services to the island, our home had no electricity. Residents of the island had to create their own electricity or do without.
Now here I sit, almost 30 years later, with the kids grown and their rooms empty, and with some time to reflect on our experience living and raising a family off-grid. But before even considering the challenges and solutions in dealing with our energy needs over the years, one observation seems to leap out: how little things here have changed.
We’ve done very little over the years to enhance our energy needs, aside from installing two solar panels last year to power the computer I’m using to write this article. (Alongside my computer on the table here is a kerosene lamp, and a candle for added light.) This lack of change is testament to the feasibility of off-grid living, and my vision for the upcoming years is to keep things pretty much the way they are.
But keeping it simple hasn’t always been simple. We had to learn alternate methods of preserving food, how to build things without power tools, how to cook on a wood stove, how to clean diapers without a washing machine, entertain ourselves without TV, and accept that many common tasks can take longer and be more difficult without electricity. Here are the main challenges we encountered in living off-grid, and how we managed with them.
The biggest difficulty we had living off-grid was, and continues to be, lighting. Our home has two small propane lamps over the cooking areas, but we use them sparingly because we have to pack in the propane tanks, and propane is expensive. Our general room lighting is by kerosene lamps, which give off marginal quality light and fumes if the wicks are not carefully trimmed. We also used candles, and are lucky we didn’t burn our place down. We arranged the furniture to make best use of available natural light from the windows. Over time, we adapted our habits to the natural light patterns in nature, e.g. you don’t stay up till midnight reading a novel.
We tried solar power for lights but found that when we need light the most, in winter, there was the least amount of solar energy available. The development of LED bulbs is promising, however, because they require much less energy. Today, we use little ‘clip-on’ book lights with small LED bulbs which are powered by rechargeable AA batteries. These are very efficient and have made things easier and safer for reading and for small task lighting. Our son Ben is installing indoor fixtures for LED area lights which we’ll be testing this winter. We also use LED headlamps when going outdoors at night.
I remember being at the dock with my wife one hot summer day and seeing a tourist sipping a drink on the deck of his yacht. My wife looked at the drink and said “Looks good!” The tourist said “Well, come aboard and I’ll fix you a drink.” “Oh” my wife said, “I was referring to the ice cubes, not the booze!” He then proceeded to his on-board ice-maker and gave us a sack of ice. As we hurriedly rowed home before it melted, we thought it curious that his boat had more modern amenities than our home.
Life without ice, or refrigeration, takes some getting used to. No ice cream in summer, no cold beer, no easy way of dealing with food leftovers. But this is only in summer; the rest of the year we have our pantry, which keeps things cool and preserved long enough for our needs. Most of the food we eat is fresh from the garden or the sea, or preserved in jars in the pantry. A few years ago, I bought a half-sized used RV refrigerator which runs on propane. We use this in the hottest weeks of summer or when guests arrive; a 20-lb propane tank keeps it running for about 3 weeks. But I don’t like running this appliance with its little pilot light flame so close to our cedar house. Ideally, we would use a solar powered refrigerator, but they are very expensive.
The only way I could get my wife to participate in an off-grid lifestyle was to help her with the menial tasks which modern appliances were designed to handle. So I enthusiastically set up a cast iron bathtub out in the garden with a fire underneath, propped up an old-fashioned washboard, and started washing the baby diapers by hand. After a few sessions of this, I gave up. You don't need the details — it was too much work and they didn't get clean enough. (Our neighbours would dye their diapers yellow to make them look a little better.)
After trying a few other ideas, we settled on taking our dirty clothes to the Laundromat each time we would go off-island to the nearest town. This worked well, and was a great chance to socialize with other islanders who were doing the same thing. However, it meant we had to own more clothes and buy more diapers, since it could be as long as a month between trips to town. Today there are very efficient mini-washers which require very little energy to run, and this is a solution for some people who live off-grid.
To our constant delight, cooking ‘off-grid’ seems to deliver the best tasting meals with relatively little work. We use an old-fashioned wood cookstove, which is as easy to use as a modern gas or electric range. And besides providing an ideal cooking surface and oven, the stove also provides us with hot water via the water jacket in the firebox. The cookstove is an Elmira Oval, and it reaches 350 degrees within 20 minutes.
Our home also has a wood heater, and in winter we use this for cooking. It has a large flat top which can hold 4 or 5 saucepans. We’ve become adept at cooking on this heater, thereby saving the firewood needed for the cookstove.
For quick hot meals, or a cup of tea before the stove heats up, we have a small two-burner propane stove similar to those used for camping. We use this in the summer during fire season.
Food seems to be center of life here, and when the cook is at work there is a tangible reverence in the air. Our cookstove is at the heart of our family life — we love to hear the crackling fire and whiff the scents from the oven curling through the room. And is there any smell more wonderful than fresh baked bread?
We realize that cooking with wood is not ideal from an environmental perspective, and we look for ways to be more efficient when using the cookstove. We may prepare several meals at once, we almost always eat together, and we use only well-seasoned wood. We’ve also learned to be patient in off-grid cooking — water doesn’t boil as fast in winter.
Before we moved to our island home, an old man gave me his collection of antique hand tools, which have since been put to good use. Learning to use hand tools was fundamental to getting anything built or fixed, since we did not have a generator to run power tools. Fortunately I had the benefit of learning from an old-timer in the community who was skilled in woodworking using only simple, common hand tools. Through his example, one could see that many carpentry jobs could actually be done as fast or faster than by using power tools — as well as safer, quieter, cheaper and more satisfying. But this was not the case with all jobs. If a long board needed to be perfectly ripped or planed, I would carry it to a neighbor who lived about a mile away with a fully powered workshop.
An invaluable tool for building has been the chainsaw. Besides being essential for cutting firewood, the chainsaw is very handy for many carpentry/building tasks. All the beams and timbers used in rebuilding and adding on to our house were cut with a chainsaw. Also, there are building methods which we used, such as post and beam construction, which lend themselves more to chainsaw/hand tool methods.
There have been some downsides to being limited to hand tools. While some tasks are done quickly using hand tools, most projects do take longer without power tools, and the finished work is not as perfect. I’ve been building my 1200 sq ft home for 29 years and it’s still not done.
Living without the TV, movies and video games while raising children was not a problem. We had board games, crafts, musical instruments, books and all sorts of natural learning materials. Every night my wife would read a book out loud for an hour. Playing together in the evenings was special family time, and the kids never asked for TV.
After we had been living off-grid for seven or eight years, my father-in-law brought us a small black/white TV with a 12v battery. It felt like an intrusion at first, but the only channel we could get showed reruns of Sesame Street, which we found entertaining and instructive for our younger child. This didn’t last long however, since taking the battery to the store for recharging became too tedious. Eventually we broke down and bought a small Honda 350 generator, about the size of a toaster, but it didn’t run right. So we had it repaired and it worked a few more times then quit again for good. In retrospect, we went to a lot of work and expense, and waste, for a few Sesame Street shows.
It seems to follow that when children create their own games and play, they’re more likely to use their own imagination and develop independent thinking skills later in life. Being able to raise children with our own values, and without the distraction of electronic entertainment, was one of the main reasons we wanted to live off-grid.
Our experience living off-grid is neither unique nor stereotypical. Although our community has no electric service, different homes have different degrees of self-generated electricity. Some people have wind generators; others have solar arrays or micro-hydro runs on small streams that provide their power needs. Some residents have big TVs, washing machines, freezers, power tools, and all the amenities.
With recent advances in efficient appliances and technologies, “off-grid” living can be the same as living anywhere else. But for our family, we felt there was more to be learned by building things by hand, creating our own family culture, and trying to live a little more at the pace of nature. By keeping things simple, we had to rely on each other more to put food on the table and to get things done, and this helped empower the children. As young adults today, I see they are resourceful, independent and confident.
So if you are thinking of living off-grid, I suggest you start simple, and gradually ‘power up’ if needs increase. And as you evaluate future electric needs, keep in mind what you may be losing as well.
After all these years, our home is still not finished, but every board has a story to tell.
August 15, 2010
Nick Rosen was in New York in 2003 when the lights went out for 50 million people across the northeast.
“It got me wondering about the silent, invisible electricity grid — we all depend on it, but we never think about it,” he said.Going off the grid wasn’t an entirely new idea for Rosen, author of Off the Grid: Inside the Movement for More Space, Less Government, and True Independence in Modern America.
He’s the owner of “an old shepherd’s hut in a beautiful part of Spain,” he explained. “So I knew you can live very comfortably without the grid.”Below, Rosen chats with Swati Pandey about who goes off the grid, why it’s an especially American thing to do, and what we can learn from their lives.
Q. What is “the grid” and how difficult is it to get off it?
A. The grid is the whole system of fixed lines that delineate the modern world — electricity, gas, water, sewage. And it is quite easy to live independently of those. You could go further and add in roads, Internet, supermarket distribution systems, and it is quite difficult to live independently of those.
The grid was organised to suit the industry, not the consumers. And the way GE was organised became the model for corporate America. Now we are being sold the Smart Grid, which will simply cement into place a system that does not make sense any more in the era of renewable energy. The Smart Grid seems plausible at first, but there has been little debate about who controls the technology, who gets the information that the smart meters will send back from people’s homes, and who decides on the prices the power companies can charge during spikes in demand.
Going off grid is not some game for urban journalists: it is a real life-choice being made by hundreds of thousands of Americans. The question is not “can I live purely off the grid, forsaking all modern conveniences?” The real issue is “what is the best I can do for myself, my family and my community?” And for people whose homes are being foreclosed, whose jobs are moving off-shore, or who have just had enough of the banker-driven corporate, materialistic side of society — going off the grid is quite an easy choice to make. It beats shaking your fist impotently at the TV.
Q. What type of people did you encounter living this way? How did they conform to or depart from the stereotypes we have of people who choose to live off the grid of far-right paranoiacs or far-left hippies?
A. I did meet representatives of both those categories. But the majority were just ordinary individuals and families — in the book I speak to teachers, nurses, engineers, plumbers, electricians, stockbrokers, managers, writers to name but a few. They are very disparate, but what unites them was a feeling that there must be a better way to live — and a determination to act — to be the difference, to be part of the solution not part of the problem.
Q. What were the most luxurious (if we can use the word) off-the-grid accommodations you encountered? And the most basic? What was the most surprising thing you encountered while exploring this movement?
A. Almost everyone I met was living comfortably, many of them in typical family houses. Some had large homes, but the larger your home the more it costs to heat and cool and maintain. One of the reasons for the sudden growth of the off-grid population is that technology has enabled it — not just solar panels and generators, but energy efficient appliances. Fridges and washing machines can now run on a fraction of the energy they used to need. And there are small, mobile 12-volt versions of things that were developed for truckers and boating — everything from fax machines to slow cookers.
I devoted a chapter to a Boulder resident living in his car, or “living out of my car,” as he prefers to put it. He does this out of choice, and plans to switch to a small RV. His story might do something to de-stigmatise car-dwelling. It’s supposed to be a sign of abject failure in today’s society, but why should we all have to live in conventional dwellings? He says he would rather spend the rent money on having fun.
One of the strangest sights on my journey was in an Amish household where they foreswear electricity, but use horses to generate mechanical energy — to turn motors that operate fridges and washing machines. They build treadmills from wood they grow themselves and the horse walks on the treadmill to create the energy.
Q. What are some of the fractures — ethical, political, cultural — among people living off the grid? And is there a sense of community among them?
A. The off-grid movement is so full of iconoclastic individuals that it would be hard to find any areas where they do all agree. One of the main dividing lines is between those who want to be part of an off-grid community and individually self-sufficient households — what Thoreau’s critics at the time he wrote Walden called “cold and selfish isolation.” Most want to be part of a community, and to me that is preferable because man is basically social. You can share skills and get other advantages from being part of a community.
Then there are groups like the Amish, or environmentalist communes, who disapprove of those who live more conventional lives, but happen to do so off the grid.
On the whole, the mainstream environmental movement disapproves of living off the grid — and claims, wrongly, that it is more ecological to live in a dense urban environment. For starters, it is quite possible to live off-grid in a city. But, more importantly, the eco-campaigners are desperate for mainstream acceptance, and they fear that supporting the off-grid lifestyle would ally them with weird and fringe elements.
Q. Is living off the grid a uniquely American concept at all?
A. America is so big, and that's one reason why it is easier to live this way in the US than in other western societies which are more crowded. The UK is the size of Kansas but with a population one fifth the size of America. Living off the grid is in tune with key parts of American culture — the tradition of settlers, pioneers, and the permanent quest for freedom which is part of the American Dream.
Q. Is living off the grid a viable form of protest, and do most people living this way consider it as such? Or does it hurt efforts to reform within the grid?
A. For many off-gridders, living off the grid is the ultimate form of protest. It is a simple withdrawal from some key facets of the consumer society, which has taken us down the wrong route in so many ways — constant consumption, the unstated assumption that economic growth must continue forever. And it is also a way of giving yourself more control over your own life and making yourself less dependent on the state and the “system” — saying “not in my name,” whether your gripe is with the war in Afghanistan or the vast subsidies handed to overpaid bankers. It is also a way of taking responsibility for your own power, waste, water — and some go further.
Q. What can we learn from people living off the grid, or simply keeping in mind the “off the grid” concept? Is it an important effort to consider given the recession and the environment?
A. The off-grid population is very useful to society for several reasons. It makes society as a whole more energy independent, more diverse and, therefore, more resilient to shocks like power outages and oil price spikes. It also points the way to a future where we all live more modestly, which may be essential as China and India consume a higher share of the world’s scarce resources. And at the moment with foreclosures and job losses at such a peak, it is a simple practical alternative to sub-standard housing and welfare dependency.
Walking after their own lusts, saying:
'Where is the promise of His coming?
For since the fathers fell asleep,
All things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.'
For this they willingly are ignorant of...
But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing,
That one day is with the Lord as a thousand years,
And a thousand years as one day...
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night;
In which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise,
And the elements shall melt with fervent heat,
The earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved,
What manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God,
Wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved,
And the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
Nevertheless we, according to His promise,
Look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things,
Be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
(2 Peter 3:3-5, 10-14)