Welcome to the Resilient Freedom blog.
The purpose of Resilient Freedom is to overcome the legal barriers people encounter in attempting to live a sustainable life style by getting off the grid and building non-traditional housing, in keeping with the California Legal Rights Fund (a.k.a. CalRights) mission.
The editor and primary author is J. Kent Hastings, who has been blogging about similar topics at his own personal site, PermaKent.com since February, 2008. His bio is online there at the About Me link.
Some events can force all households off the grid at times–sometimes extended periods if a major disaster hits an area, as Hurricane Katrina did in New Orleans, or the earthquake in Haiti. Other events include electricity blackouts, water main breaks, floods, droughts, fires, oil spills, utility worker strikes, riots, boycotts, tainted food, shortage of necessities, disease outbreaks, and price spikes that for different reasons many believe will become more common.
The silver lining during those cloudy times is that it’s possible to prepare for those events with just a little knowledge and a few resources. An even better outcome is the permanent life style change one can be inspired to make when attention is paid to the big picture. The more people make informed significant changes, the better life will be for everyone.
The off-grid topics discussed here will range from energy systems using renewable solar, wind, geothermal and emergency backup gasoline generators for power and heating systems, easy to use water filtration and heat pasteurization methods, emergency communications with FRS, CB, ham radio and personal locator beacons to interviews with successful backyard farmers who are turning their lawns into edible landscapes and their neighborhoods into friendly communities.
The side benefits for California (or any other place) of people going off-grid are increasing use of home-based clean alternative energy, more spending on gardening, construction, manufacturing, and other related industries. People will be safer during disasters and more secure if facing another general financial crisis. And self-reliance will reduce the public relief costs for more routine personal difficulties people face such as job loss, poor health, and retirement.
The biggest barriers to letting everyone afford the safety and security of off-grid alternatives are the zoning regulations and excessive taxes, fees or outright prohibitions that exist against these necessary means of self-reliance. The onerous laws are promulgated by all levels of government and also in some private covenants like homeowner association regulations.
Here is one real-world example to show the Resilient Freedom approach.
Example: In 2008, a $14,000 windpower system for a pastor’s farm was eligible for a generous California state subsidy of almost $5,000. Unfortunately, the county he lived in estimated that all their permits would add up to about $10,000 (in comparison, another county’s costs in the same state would have been $42 at the time).
Solution: Without lobbying for any particular candidate or bill, the idea would be expressed that subsidies are unnecessary if the permit time and cost is kept reasonable.
For individual cases, we’ll find workarounds that are legal under existing political conditions. Getting publicity for the farmer to get a variance, like the Ablitts did for their unique house in Santa Barbara, might be the best personalized immediate solution.