Friday, November 27, 2009

Experiencing and Off-Grid Environment

I just spent a week connecting with some friends that are off-gridders in Mendocino and was struck by the power of their life experience living without tie-in to municipal utilities and how our project in San Francisco captures so many themes that are so relevant to our modern world: living with a limited water budget, staying attuned to our electrical needs, being aware of where our waste water goes. I spent over a week living with my friends and I was struck by the fact that so much of our time together involved discussions about basic life systems: potable water, electrical energy, and wastewater. My friends are so attune to their personal needs and what waste is being generated, and how to create more efficient systems.

I spent Thanksgiving in the city last night and watched my urban friends turn on hot water and let the faucet run with abandon, and left heaters on in basement rooms where no one resided. I was struck with how so many my urban friends have no idea what their own electrical homebudget is, yet they are paying large utility bills every month!

Here in the city, so many of us take for granted that we have complete access to these vital systems. How many of us could survive on a water budget of 10 gallons per day or an electrical budget of 2 kw a day?

I am very excited to start working with EcoCenter Team at Literacy for Environmental Justice, to craft educational literature around the systems we are bringing to our community in San Francisco that will help bridge the educational and experiential gap between these two worlds!