Robin Speronis lives off the grid in Florida, completely independent of the city’s water and electric system. A few weeks ago, officials ruled her off-grid home illegal, citing the International Property Maintenance Code, which mandates that homes be connected to both an electricity grid and a running water source.
This essentially means we are being forced to depend on corporations, that we have no choice about how to run our lives. But the choice to live without most utilities has been ongoing for Robin; the self-sufficient woman has lived for more than a year and a half using solar energy, a propane camping stove, and rain water.
In the end, she was found not guilty of not having a proper sewer or electrical system, but guilty of not being hooked up to an approved water supply.
Speronis is still being hassled by the municipality of Cape Coral for not having a connection to city water or proper sewage. This is in spite of the fact that the city capped her sewers themselves.
Is Off-Grid Really Illegal?
In essence, yes. Living off the grid means not being hooked up to corporate or municipal utilities. If a municipality makes it illegal to disconnect from any given utility, they are in essence making off-grid living illegal.
“It means living independently, mainly living independently of the utility companies. Providing your own power. It does not mean living in the stone age, it’s not about bush craft. It’s about generating your own power, your own water, dealing with your own waste. Probably as part of a community, not living on your own like a hermit. It’s also about being more self-reliant and being less dependent on the system. Perhaps realizing that the system isn’t really protecting us anymore and we have to look after ourselves.”
– George Noory
Exploring Our Potential Beyond the Grid
Our potential as a human race is quite extraordinary — we just don’t realize it yet. Sustainable living is not about giving up a certain lifestyle. We can still have all the modern amenities and design we have come to love, but we need to transition from one way of seeing housing to another.
One potential issue with off-grid living is that corporations will lose their control of the market and, therefore, the majority of their profits. These types of political and corporate agreements are what give people like Speronis issues to begin with.
“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”
– Carl Sagan
Moving Away From Dependence
The human race does not need to be dependent on these corporations for basic needs in the manner we are now. While we continue to feed this dependency, the planet continues to suffer. In order to move forward, we must start cooperating with each other, and realize just how much potential we have to create something we can take into our own hands and do sustainably. We can’t afford to wait for these corporations to come up with solutions, since they value profit over people.
Another Case of State Harassment
Earlier this year, Texas state brought several SWAT teams to a sustainable community and threatened to shut it down. Each one of the community members were initially handcuffed at gunpoint. It was called “The Garden of Eden Community,” and was totally self sustainable. You can read more about that here.
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