If you have ever been without electricity for a significant period of time, you realize just how much our daily lives depend on electricity. Everything from lighting, refrigeration, computers, communication devices, kitchen and other household appliances. We wonder how life was like before the invention of electricity. We can imagine it being a lot simpler and the pace of life a lot slower with no modern conveniences. We would go to bed early like the rest of the animal and plant kingdom and wake up early matching our biorhythms with that of the planet. Unfortunately, most centralized electricity generation is unsustainable in that they are potentially dangerous (e.g., nuclear power plants) or produce a lot of pollution in the process of generating electricity (e.g., coal-burning plants). It is time to free ourselves from the lifetime, monthly utility bill system of slavery by generating your own electricity in a much more sustainable, environmentally-friendly manner.
Energy Needs Beyond Electricity
We also have other energy needs besides electricity such as gas for cooking and heating and fuel for our cars (e.g., distilled alcohol for gasoline vehicles), trucks (e.g., bio-diesel or vegetable oil for diesel engines), and heavy machinery. Water is also a major “fuel” for our body. We can survive without food for up to 40 days but we will die without water after just three days. Water is also a major “fuel” for plants and trees so we can have food, medicine, and raw materials for buildings, furniture, personal care and household cleaning items. Water can also be used to generate electricity (e.g., hydroelectric generators). So when we consider our energy needs, let’s also include gas, fuel, and water.
Reducing Our Electricity Needs
One of the most important steps to becoming energy self-sufficient is to first reduce our electricity consumption needs by building a sustainable, electricity-efficient home with the necessary insulation and design techniques to eliminate the need for heating or cooling (air conditioning) the home and the need for lighting during the daytime. This will make it easier to generate enough electricity to meet all your needs.
Reducing Our Gas Needs
If you live in the warmer climates or have a summer or dry season, consider drying your clothes outside on a line to take advantage of the disinfection abilities of the UV sunlight rays and fresh oxygen. Also consider washing dishes and clothes in room temperature water and increasing the amount of raw foods in your diet by consuming more fresh fruits and vegetables. It is a standard practice in Costa Rica to wash with room temperature water. Some even shower or bathe in room temperature water if they live in the warmer lowland areas. Though we live in the cooler mountain climate of Costa Rica, we have found washing dishes, hands, and clothes with room temperature water adequate and not much difference at all from warm or hot water. Using collected rain water (which is essentially distilled water) provides even superior cleaning power as it is pure water stripped of any minerals or other particles and therefore is able to remove dirt and grime a lot easier. These changes in habits will all help reduce your need for gas for cooking or heating and make it easier to meet your gas energy needs.
Reducing Our Fuel Needs
Becoming self-sufficient will actually significantly reduce our need for fuel for transportation. Since we will be able to produce almost all we need, there will be less need to go out shopping for things. As more people become self-sufficient, the demand for mass-produced produce and consumer goods will also significantly reduce the need for transporting the goods via truck, plane, or boat to the markets or stores.
Reducing Our Water Needs
Consider the benefits of taking less frequent baths or showers on the health of your skin. The skin naturally produces oils and substances to protect itself from harmful microorganisms. Frequent baths or showers (especially with soap) can over-strip this protection thereby weaken our body’s first line of defense. Another thing to consider is that if you have body odor, it is actually a sign that your body is very dirty or toxic on the inside (your tissues, fat, internal organs, etc.) and therefore you need a cleaner, healthier diet to help you detoxify or wash your body from the inside out. So focus more on bathing yourself internally and your need to bathe externally will drastically reduce. Our family now only needs to bathe once a week due to our more intense focus on a healthy diet based mostly on raw organic fruits and vegetables.
Our family also washes clothes a lot less often because our regular practice of yoga and meditation increases our mindfulness, thereby decreasing accidents that would soil or stain our clothes (though with certain types of farm work, this is impossible to avoid). In addition, we stopped watching T.V. or other sources of mind programming and consumer good advertisements so that we would not feel the need to always look pretty or wear the latest fashions or designer clothes. We just wear whatever clothes we have and wear them until they are beyond repair/mending. We also do not mind stains on clothes and do not mind wearing the same clothes for a whole week as on as it is relatively clean and still usable.
Compost toilets actually eliminate the need for water and low-flush toilets are great for bio-digesters which use a lot less water to more effectively produce methane gas for cooking, heating, and even electricity generation needs.
For those who learn best by reading books, any good books or publications we find on the Internet will be put in the subfolder titled “Sustainable Energy” in the “Anastasia” Google Drive folder for all to view and download for FREE. Below are enlightening articles we found on the Internet:
For those who learn best by watching videos, any good YouTube videos we find on the Internet will be added to the “Sustainable Energy” Ardent Light YouTube channel playlist. All other FREE videos about sustainable building we find on the Internet, will be posted here in this section of the page.
Classes, Workshops, Internships, Certifications
These are currently under development. Information will be posted here when available.