By Gery L. Deer
Deer in Headlines
Have you ever wondered how people live in some third world countries where there’s no electricity, no computers, no Internet, no Big Macs? Have you thought about whether you could survive without all the modern conveniences Americans have always taken for granted? Could you go completely off the grid? What if you were forced to because of some cataclysm?
Living off the grid essentially means to intentionally disconnect from modern infrastructure without having to leave America. A lot of people talk about this today, especially with the presidential election going the way it is, but not many have accomplished it; even though some, such as self-proclaimed “survivalists,” are counting on it.
To be honest, I really don’t get the mentality of the American survivalist; the guys who build a house or a bunker of some kind a few miles outside the nearest town and stock up with 5 years of water, Spam and ammo. I mean, if there’s really an apocalypse, how will you make it past the amount of time for which you’ve stockpiled?
With everyone dead and infrastructure is gone, eventually you’re going to run out of food, fuel and ammunition because there is no more manufacturing, refining or farming. Forget hunting or growing your own food because the contaminated earth will offer only contaminated plants and animals.
If the apocalypse were nuclear in nature, you wouldn’t last for much more than a couple of weeks. You’d most likely fall victim to radiation poisoning much sooner than you’d run out of food. If it’s a zombie attack you’re planning for, look out! Apparently those things are surprisingly nimble and can still catch you when you’re running or driving even though they hobble along dragging one leg.
It’s possible people have just seen too many movies and expect post apocalyptic life to be one of brave strategy or where normal people are suddenly endowed with exceptional cunning; unlikely, to say the least. If someone is living in a constant state of paranoia today, imagine what it would be like once the bombs fall or the zombies take over?
But aside from the survivalist types, what if you’re one of those people who would like to just get off the grid, disappear, rid yourself of the burdens and distractions of modern life? Is it even possible? It is but, again, it’s pretty hard.
I read a recent story on CNN.com written by W. Kamau Bell wherein he discussed the differences between minimalists and those living in a sort of commune setting. The article, “True stories of life off the grid,” speaks volumes about why this is incredibly difficult, to say nothing of impractical.
It would seem that, because of various government regulations and general common sense, these kinds of people are intentionally throwing themselves and their unwitting children into a third-world living environment. No processed water or sewage control, no electricity and what do you do when you get sick?
If there is no adequate waste disposal, you will get sick even faster. Isn’t this exactly the kind of condition world relief groups are constantly combatting? Why would people in the wealthiest country in the world do this intentionally?
For most people, simple living means reducing distraction, worrying less about what big government is doing (or, as in most cases, not doing) and living life. It happens when you mind your own business, give to charity and make sure your family has food, healthcare and modern conveniences applicable to your life.
It’s unlikely that anyone would survive a nuclear holocaust for very long, or even a zombie apocalypse for that matter. Actually, the very definition of the word “apocalypse” means that the world is completely destroyed – no survivors of any kind. The end.
It would be far more productive and rewarding to plan for tomorrow, as best as possible, but live for today. People might be a lot healthier and happier if they live life instead of obsessing about the end of the world.
Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd. More at www.gerydeer.com.