I just read a post on Reddit promoting an off-grid festival in the UK. Many commenters siezed the opportunity to ridicule the irony. Posting about an off-grid event using the grid (the internet)? I don’t think there is an irony at all and responded:
“I sympathise with the idea off-gridness. Mostly because I don’t subscribe to the idea that the best way to deliver utilities is via the grid. Telecommunications, including the internet, necessarily depends on networking – on the grid as a conduit to share data. Just as our words (and ability to convey them) do when sharing information on a smaller scale – perhaps in the same room, with a friend. Do we need the grid to deliver electricity? In some situations, perhaps. But certainly not in all, or most. I own a small bush block in rural Australia. To connect to the grid (sewage and electricity, I do have access to a community bore for non-potable water) would cost me several thousand dollars (in actual fact it probably costs a lot more, it’s just city folk would be subsidising me). For the same money I can get a good solar system with battery bank and install a greywater management system.”
I get quizzed all the time about internet access and mobile phone coverage. But the thing is, I don’t even aspire to being off-grid. I just choose to be off-grid where it is most sensible – from an environmental and economical point-of-view. To follow off-gridness to its logical conclusion would mean that we would even use roads. Roads are part of the grid. They allow the movement of people and goods the same way telecommunications allow the sharing of data.