Living Off-Grid in the City: Sustainable Joes Show Us How
Written by Lloyd Alter
Going off-grid is easier than it used to be as the equipment gets cheaper and better, but it is still a challenge. In London, Ontario, Steve Szucs and Dave Pope are doing it in the city, in a rental apartment. It’s a four-month experiment in sustainable living, trying to live off-grid, zero waste, as green as they can be, “to develop a sustainable now for nature and humanity.”
Steve wants to show that this is possible for the Average Joe, hence the name of the project, the Sustainable Joes. Dave told the CBC: “I think a lot of people are curious [about sustainability] and have an inherent feeling that something needs to be done, but they just don’t know how to do it, so we’re just trying to make this more accessible to anybody.
It isn’t easy. They have electricity courtesy of Goal Zero Canada, which supplied them with solar panels and a Yeti, a neat little battery/inverter package that gives them AC, DC and USB power. They have a solar shower (but the sun hasn’t been very cooperative) and are trying to cook by the light of a giant fresnel lens from an old projection TV that they call their “death ray.” This hasn’t worked so well yet either; they are surviving on smoothies and raw food, and have lost a lot of weight already.
Watching the videos, it is clear that these guys are learning as they go, and having some fun doing it; I am glad they are in the city instead of trying to survive in the bush or out in the desert. It is sort of what Colin Beavan tried to do with his No Impact Project, but they actually have it a bit easier than Colin did, having a backyard for solar panels and a bit of room for a garden.
Steve tells the London Free Press about the challenges:
“Are we experts in this? No. But, are we going to try and figure it out? Absolutely. Because otherwise, what kind of world are we going to leave future generations — one with no natural resources left.”
Writing about his No Impact Project, Colin Beavan wrote that the exercise “wasn’t just good for the environment, but it made them healthier, happier and richer in ways they never expected.” It looks like the same might be happening to the Sustainable Joes. More at The Sustainable Joes new website and on Facebook.
This post was originally published at Treehugger.
The top photo is a screen capture of a Sustainable Joes video.