Angelo de Armas


Off-Grid site ranked high for survivalism

The off-grid web site has been placed in the top 3 of Survivalist sites by Feedspot

Off-Grid survival is growing in importance as weather events, energy bills and increasing political instability force households and communities to prepare for the unknown

Ranked by social media followers, freshness of content and size of audience, off-grid.net is alongside offthegridnews, a survivalist site which sells emergency food rations, and battery brands like EcoFlow which comes in at number 6

Off-Grid.net rates so highly because of our large subscriber base, free features like the off-grid map, and huge library of advice and news.

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Off-Grid in the UK? No help from govt in energy crisis

As costs of energy double and redouble in the UK, and the government prepares to announce details of a bailout for householders, 100,000 off-grid households face winter out in the cold.

The bailout is likely to be based on previous utility bills, and as off-grid homes do not buy from utility companies they are being left out of the calculations. Van-dwellers, liveaboard boaters and permanent dwellings that are energy independent mostly rely on oil, butane or wood for heating and cooking. All of these will be in short supply this winter.

A document from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy published on 29 July, states: “Evidence suggests up to 400,000 would not receive EBSS support due to these circumstances compared with approximately 29 million that will.”

Gypsies and Travellers fear missing out on energy bills support and the National Bargee Travellers Association says thousands of “liveaboard” boaters could be locked out of the support payments.

Dan Hooper, an environmental activist nicknamed Swampy, who achieved prominence for his tunnel protest activities, lives off-grid in Tipi Valley, a 200-acre former farm in Wales.

He and others in the community generate sustainable electricity from solar panels supplemented by bottled gas and wood burners for heating in the cold winter months. Bottled gas prices have risen by 40% in the past 12 months.

Dan Hooper, AKA Swampy, said: ‘Government should not allow the energy companies to charge these extortionate prices.’
“Government should not allow the energy companies to charge these extortionate prices and make so many people miserable while they are making record-breaking profits. It’s all about human greed. We need to consume less,” he said.

He added that while he has some protection because his home is extremely well insulated, “Everyone should get these payments, which could be used to help people get their energy in more sustainable ways such as from solar panels.”

For Terry Green, a Traveller living with members of his family in a caravan park in East Sussex, the energy price hike has come as a “big shock”. He lives in a caravan with his wife. His three children and his grandchildren live in other caravans on the site.

“We’ve lived on this site for four years. It’s one of the best sites I’ve been on and I wake up every morning and thank God when I see my children and grandchildren around me. But when we add up the increased cost of paying our electricity key meter and bottles of gas I don’t know if we can afford it.

“A lot of Travellers will have to go back to the old ways of cooking outside on an open fire. Why should we be forced to do that? We should have equal rights with everyone else. Greed has crept in. It’s ruining the world.”

Friends, Families and Travellers, which supports Gypsy and Traveller communities, has written to …

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Training for space travel by going off-grid

Eastern Cape, Wednesday- Theoretical physicist Adriana Marais has wanted to board a spaceship to Mars since she was five.

One of 100 candidates selected for the now-stalled Mars One programme, Marais went deep into the Tsitsikamma forest in the Eastern Cape to live in extremity. She is doing so as part of her series of off-world simulation experiments devised to demonstrate a community living in resource-constrained environments.

Last year, Marais established the Proudly Human movement, a step towards helping her achieve her dream of exploring life beyond Earth.

Had Covid-19 not resulted in a travel ban, Marais and her team would have been preparing to leave for six months in a harsh environment to start their experiment.

“Building the cabin is a project I have called Off-World: Lockdown, to be followed by experiments in the most extreme environments on Earth, including Antarctica and the Sahara Desert.”

It has been more than two months since Marais and animal behaviourist Kurdt Greenwood have been living in a tiny cabin they built from scratch in the depths of the forest.

“In some sense, we have all been training for life in space during the lockdown, experiencing the isolation, confinement and extremity of a new and challenging environment.

“We started building the cabin earlier this year. Our goal was to build a cheap, lightweight and liveable cabin in a short space of time, in an inaccessible forest valley.

“Once the lockdown seemed imminent, we worked full-time on the construction.”

It took the duo about 300 hours to erect the structure, including carrying two tons of wooden poles, planks, cement and corrugated metal down a steep trail.

They rely on fire and gas for cooking and heating water, car batteries for charging their phones and other small devices, and a generator for their laptops.

“We collect water from the river, which is thankfully pristine, as well as our rain water tank. Our next plans are to grow food down there as well.

“Washing clothes in the river, managing a composting toilet, international video calls, where I’ve had to run up the mountain and climb a tree for better reception, while the video is running, are some highlights of our daily challenges.

“We share the space with baboons, monkeys, wild pigs, antelope, otters, snakes, chameleons, birds and many spiders and insects.

“Our nightly visitor, the genet, enjoys some scraps that we leave out.”

For Greenwood, living in the forest comes “very naturally”.

“I have been running survival schools and educational tours for many years, teaching people how to track animals, find food and build shelter in remote and wild places.

“This region has been crucial in the evolution of modern humans and we have made significant discoveries while living here. They will be made public later.”

Marais did not indicate how long she intended living in the forest. “Whether you are living in an informal settlement, …

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Sutton Hoo worker forages food to afford to volunteer

A project to recreate an Anglo Saxon longship at one of the most historical sites in Britain is using volunteer labour despite its multi-million pound income and corporate sponsorship.

A student featured in national media is living in a tent five miles from the site, and foraging for berries and nuts, as he helps build the replica longship, and related work.

The 21-year-old student, Alec Newland, has abandoned all modern conveniences to immerse himself in his historical interests and has spent recent months living as an Anglo-Saxon from around AD625.

Mr Newland, who is helping to build a full-size, functioning replica of the Sutton Hoo ship, wears clothes he made himself and sleeps in a tent of handwoven, unwashed wool pitched steeply from the branch of a tree. “Dressed [as] I am, I get some strange looks and stares but I’m doing what I love and life is much better when you don’t care what people think,” he said.

Describing his unorthodox living arrangements, he added: “This is something an Anglo-Saxon would have camped under if they had been on a journey and although my feet sometimes get wet, it’s preferable to a nylon tent. The Saxon way makes you feel a little less human and a little wilder. I’ve tested the tent in dense snow, using only sheepskin, and in thunderstorms and it has served me well.”

Mr Newland has taken a break from his studies at Exeter University and lives at present in Suffolk close to Sutton Hoo, where a warlord who is believed from dating evidence to have been King Raedwald of East Anglia was buried in a ship with grave goods from as far afield as the Byzantine empire.

Most mornings Mr Newland wakes at sunrise, forages for berries, nuts and mushrooms and walks five miles from his campsite to the Longshed in Woodbridge. There he spends the day volunteering on a project run by the Sutton Hoo Ship’s Company to reconstruct the 90ft vessel using traditional tools and methods. The project is described at saxonship.org, where the public can sponsor individual fittings such as rivets.

“I’m learning blacksmithing, metal work and woodwork and I have the privilege of working on the biggest and first large-scale naval experimental archaeology project in England,” Mr Newland said. “Back in Saxon days a man of my age with a boat builder for a father would have been doing a job like this from the age of 13. I’m trying my hardest to be as accurate as I can be in terms of how I dress, travel and where I work, and I learn new things every day.”

Mr Newland grew up in a house in the woods in Somerset with his mother, a seamstress, and his brother. “When I was four I would dress up as a caveman, make dens and sleep outdoors,” he said.

“I still sleep outdoors …

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Off-Grid woman storms Minister’s speech

One of the Greenpeace protesters who forced their way into the UK Chancellor’s Mansion House speech last night lives on an off-grid rabbit farm in rural Wales.

The activist – Janet Barker  –  was pushed against a column and held around the neck by Tory junior minster Mark Field before he marched her out of the room last night.

Barker was at the forefront of an attempt in 2017 to immobilise thousands of VW diesel cars by climbing aboard the ship they were imported on in the Thames, with the intention of stealing all the keys.

Mrs Barker, originally from Wigan, lives in a 12.5 acre farm in rural Wales with her husband Peter, and they run a business knitting items from the wool of the Angora rabbit.

The firm’s website says that the couple moved to the farm as part of a ‘long term plan to live on a low impact, sustainable smallholding,’ and stay in a small, zero carbon house, powered entirely by renewable energy.’

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