Last night I broke out my knitting bag and watched the documentary Life Off Grid. This film follows several Canadians across each province who have chosen to disconnect. This often includes generating their own power, water, and food.
The film has a very peaceful feel to it: not unlike the lifestyle it is showcasing. You don’t learn a whole lot in the film: it doesn’t give you instructions on how to live off the grid or frightening statistics on how we are destroying our planet. Instead it has a deeper message about the knowledge and skills we have lost. To paraphrase one of the speakers:
It isn’t about living off the grid. It is about understanding where things come from and what they truly cost.
Sure, a wealthy person living in the suburbs can drop $60,000 and buy all the solar panels they need to ensure they can continue to live their current lifestyle. Although technically ‘off the grid’ this has done nothing put prove that the wealthy can buy solar panels. There was no learning or skill building, no changes in consumption or lifestyle. It misses the point. This film reminded me why I am doing this. Sure, I know to genetically manipulate bacteria so they glow red under a microscope. But I don’t know how to grow my food, or sew a shirt, or build a house,or
… the list goes on.
I feel like my grandparents would be disappointed.
Life Off Grid has a phenomenally powerful ending. Having featured Canadians, the speakers highlight that here in North America we have the luxury of being able to access land and rich soil for growing food. We have abundant fresh water sources. We are relatively wealthy and have access to the resources and tools needed to transition to a disconnected lifestyle. BUT…and here was the big but… the planet is unable to provide this luxury to the 7 billion people that inhabit it. Something to think about.
Watch the film.