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Rise of the 'Off-Grid' Planet: Energy & Economy Spawn DIY Movement

Energy_crisis_1_2 All over the world, people are trying to figure out how to get off of the energy grid using personal solar technology and back-to-basics lifestyles. It’s not necessarily that they are trying to protect the environment—they’re trying to protect themselves. A quiet movement is slowly gaining traction among people who fear the worst when it comes to the future of an oil-reliant economy. They’ve always existed on the fringe, but that fringe is getting wider by the day as news of a recession and an oil supply crash hit headlines.

It may seem like the foreshadowing scenes of an apocalyptic movie, but some people are dead serious about staying alive in the event that the energy crisis and economy worsens. Fearing that world's economies are heading for a crash, a small but growing number of people around the country are going “back to basics”, even moving onto homesteads, learning survivalist skills and stockpiling supplies.

"There's going to be things that happen when people can't get things that they need for themselves and their families," Lynn-Marie, a survivalist who asked to remain anonymous, told the Associated Press recently. She believes this bleak future could emerge as early as 2012, and she is preparing. She has set up a homestead in rural western Idaho where she hopes she will be safe in the event of a worldwide economical collapse. She is not alone. Recent soaring fuel and food prices, along with a faltering U.S. economy, has many people wondering how they would provide for themselves and their families if the unthinkable happens.

The IEA, which provides authoritative research to OECD countries, is openly concerned that the supply of oil will fail to keep up with demand driven by the rapidly industrializing economies of China and India. Many worry that the sky-high price of oil could derail the global economy and plunge the world into a deep recession. Oil prices rose over $135 recently, the highest price on record, forcing airlines to cut back on flights to save fuel. Even the most optimistic of economists acknowledge that things will likely get worse before they get better.

Not taking any chances, Lynn-Marie and her husband have been busy planting an orchard of around 40 trees, built a greenhouse, put in their own irrigation system and have begun to raise chickens and pigs. They gotten rid of the TV and are reading up on how to survive without the conveniences of modern society. Lynn-Marie has even been learning how to make homemade soap. Her husband, worried that things could get to the point where medication is not available, is training to an herbalist.

By 2012, they have plans to power their property with solar panels. If things start to fall apart, they plan on having their children and grandchildren help them work the land. She envisions a day when the family may have to decide whether to turn needy people away from their door.

"People will be unprepared," she said.

But if worse does come to worst, not everyone has an “every man for himself” attitude. Many survivalists, like midwife Kathleen Breault, believe the ideal situation in tough times would be to band together with others survivalists to form self-sufficient communities.

Are survivalists like Lynn-Marie right to prepare to such extremes, or are they being irrationally frightened by a slim possibility? Will people be caught unprepared, or are survivalists obsessively over-prepared? No one really knows. However, the world’s richest person, Warren Buffett, recently ventured his humble opinion that a substantial recession is a real concern. He recently told reporters, “My general feeling is that the recession will be longer and deeper than most people think. This will not be short and shallow.”

There’s no way to know exactly how many people are picking up on the trend and to what degree, especially since most aren’t keen on telling others about their activities. Why? Some are worried that revealing the existence of their supplies will put themselves and their loved ones in danger down the road. In general, survivalists believe a nightmarish future in which the nation's cities will be filled with hungry and desperate “refugees” is a real possibility—one that they want to be prepared for—just in case.

Posted by Rebecca Sato

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I really hope it doesn't come to this, but at the same time I don't think people who are preparing for such extremes are crazy. But personally, since I don't have the energy or inclination to go start a homestead in Idaho, I'm just going to have to take my chances.

I guess that means there's a small probability that I'll be among the starving urban refugees heading out to the boonies to steal their food...sorry!

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