We do not live off-the-grid. We have powerlines that bring electricity to our house, generated mostly at coal burning plants.
I realize that when most people talk about being off-the-grid, they mean where their electricity comes from. But there is also this idea of self-sufficiency. We are not self-sufficient. Besides electricity, a truck comes out a few times each winter to fill our propane tank for heating fuel. We depend on cell phone towers to give us phone service and internet, radio towers to bring us the news, the county to plow and regrade our gravel road, the USPS to deliver our mail, the county to accept our recycling and trash, the grocery store and hardware store and feed store and auto parts store and gas station and bank and library. We depend on a paper supplier and art store and people on the internet who buy our goods.
Then the list gets more abstract. We depend on our neighbor’s responsible land use so that we and our animals and our land and our drinking water is safe. We depend on nearby and distant wind break and creek and ditch vegetation that allow our land to have a stunning array of plants and insects and birds and mammals and microorganism, both migrating through and staying year-round. We depend on our friends and family, both near and far, for companionship and emotional support, and to know that if everything went wrong, we’d still have their help to fall back on.
We are not an island. And while there are a few of these many ties that we’d like to eventually sever, most of them we are comfortable with. Some of them we celebrate.