"At first I was enchanted by off-grid living. But the hardships quickly became apparent" - architecture and design

"At first I was enchanted by off-grid living. But the hardships quickly became apparent"



Marcus Field spent six years in an off-grid home. With architecture's contribution to carbon emissions in the spotlight and children striking against climate change, he asks if climate activists are prepared for the sacrifices needed to live sustainably.

There have been many low points during my long journey as an accidental climate-change warrior. I've lived through days without electricity when the weather has been too cloudy to generate solar power. I've woken up to find my vegetable garden decimated by wild boars. I've even headed out in the rain to use a compost toilet rather than waste clean water by flushing a loo.
But I think the nadir came in the winter of 2007 when I found myself waist deep in gooey mud trying to clear a collapsed ditch so that water would run to my house. I say ditch, because the fact that it was a Moorish irrigation line to my off-grid home in Spain makes it sound too romantic. When you're freezing cold and dirty you don't care who built your water system, you're just dreaming of all the hot baths you've left behind.
I've been thinking a lot about these tough times since the recent reports of the children taking part in the Youth Strike 4 Climate events. These kids are very photogenic, with their painted faces and their heartwarming slogans, like "I speak for the trees" and "Burn incense not coal". But do they know what it's like to live like you mean it"
With only solar power for electricity, I had no energy-guzzling f...
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