Me (this actually looks like me) with no A.C.
I'm forgoing electricity, natural gas, and plumbed-in water in my home for one month. For the month of May I'm going to be living completely off-grid.
No more air conditioning, mechanically washed/dried clothes, casseroles/roast chicken/eggs/toast. No more hot showers, mechanically washed dishes, flushing toilets. No more NBA playoffs or HBO specials or American Idol. Did I say no more air conditioning?
Living off the land, number "two-ing" in an outhouse, showering with rain water I collect, and cooking with any fallen twigs I collect on my rambles through the woods. You can read all about it here as long as I can generate enough power with my solio solar charger to power my laptop (I'll have to steal wireless internet though!).
Wait....what am I saying....living without electricity or plumbing? That's insane! I can't live off-grid! At least not yet. But after reading the article "Why extreme thriftiness stunts are the rage" in Time magazine last month it got me thinking about what it would be like to live without the modern conveniences that energy and water provide to us when they are right at our fingertips.
The Time article mentions several people who have undertaken deprivation experiments including:
- Lived on $1 a day for a month (On a Dollar a Day)
- Spent a year without having a negative environmental impact ( No Impact Man)
- Spend a year buying nothing but underwear ( Great American Apparel Diet)
- Spent a year not getting into a car (The Gubbins Experiment)
The reasons for doing something that seem so masochistic and ridiculous are: proving it can be done, inspiring others to live more frugally/less environmentally damaging, hoping to get a nice book/movie deal (i.e. Supersize Me), etc.
And yet I wonder if the message gets across? The thought of living on just $1 a day makes me incredibly hungry. I would love to not have to step foot in a car, but alas, I'd be stuck in my house (or as far away from my house as I go on my bike rides) and I'm sure my parents, customers - outside sales job in a multi-state territory, and vacations (I live 15 miles from the airport and the rail station) would begin to miss me.
If I wasn't such a liar and truly planned to live off-grid for a month or year would it inspire others to conserve more? Or would they be so disgusted by the mental image of me washing my undies by hand or trekking out to the outhouse that they would have to take an extra long, hot shower to cleanse themselves of the thought of living without modern comforts?
What really makes people decide to get off their butts and take action? What deprivation experiment would inspire you to take action or what do you think a good deprivation experiment would be that would express the importance of energy and water conservation? I promise (my fingers are crossed) that I will forgo residential energy and piped in water as soon as I get an outhouse with solar powered air conditioning!