For days, MOK Ho-kwong (Yeah Man) has been visiting off-gridders who either live individually or as low-density communities. Because of their remote locations, limited resources, hygienic concerns, as well as various issues, their living space cannot accommodate too many people in general. However, Yeah Man has found an exception towards the end of his journey.
On Lasqueti Island near Vancouver, Canada, off-grid living has a history of more than half a century. There are 400 off-gridders residing on the island, including elderly, young families, and single individuals, most of whom came to the island in order to escape from crowded and stressful urban life, hoping to rebuild their living space. To cater for the needs of residents, the regional authority even established off-grid public facilities such as a clinic and a school. This is a demonstration of how local government and people cooperate in gradually developing a large off-grid community.
Although the idea of living off the grid is a personal decision, support from policies, government, and private organisations is still necessary if a certain scale is to be achieved. For instance, in Japan where the off-grid culture has thrived rather recently, an off-grid town named “Sustainable Smart Town” has been developed in Fujisawa City, Kanagawa Prefecture, thanks to the research and development of advanced technologies, as well as support of a privately-owned group. In this town, every family is solely powered by solar energy, with smart technologies keeping track of energy consumption in the household, which boosts people’s awareness of energy conservation enormously. In fact, solar energy is gradually becoming a source of public renewable energy in Japan. In Chiba Prefecture, a floating solar plant alone is able to supply electricity to 5 000 households.
Having understood various ways of living off-grid – as individuals, groups or urban-rural communities – Yeah Man assimilates his experiences from the journey and concludes with his own life philosophy. How exactly has this trip changed his ideals? And how is he starting his own “off-grid life”?