Off Grid Home Forums Technical Discussion Failed escape in British Columbia Re: Failed escape in British Columbia



For several decades now we (collective) have been bombarded with exhortations to reduce our energy consumption. Meanwhile newer and supposedly better plastic gadgets and solar this and solar that has been advertised in every possible way as the wave of the future.

Last week while killing time waiting for a doctor’s report to be ready I dropped into the local museum. My companion immediately asked the curator if the museum sold a couple of books and he named them by title. She immediately led him to the giftshop bookshelf and pulled out the volumes. He told me these were written by his wife’s grandfather and he had helped edit the proofs.

As we wandered around the museum, he and I repeatedly saw household items we recalled having bought or used that were identical or similar but when they were new. Lest you think we are a pair of ancient octogenarians,let me point out both of us are not yet old enough to collect old age pensions.

The point of this is to highlight that all of these old ‘museum pieces’ did not use electric power and in the context of today’s green conscious society would be considered green and beneficial in the drive to reduce our carbon footprint.

Most objects were made of wood and a few bits of metal. Virtually all of the devices could be repaired by a handy person using nothing but hand tools or at most a drill and saw. Some of the objects were 100 years old and still serviceable while a few were only 40 years old but still in working order. That begs the question why do most modern household tools made from plastic and high tech stainless steel or whatever only seem to last a couple of years.

The thoughtful person may even ponder which of these products are more benign to the environment. Modern plastic or old wood and brass or iron..

I suspect that as the off-grid movement grows and expands we will see a revival in using these non electric household objects. So called ‘time savers’ using electric power really are not saving us any time when you take into consideration how long it takes to dig it out of the kitchen drawer, plug in the right attachment, shift things around so the cord reaches the work area and only then do the actual task. Not to mention which most competent and tool handy porsons could make one of the ‘museum pieces” but cannot manufacture the plastic and stainless steel version.

Lets face it how technical does it have to be to open a can or slice an apple or cut a cheese block. I did see one item not seen in a plastic version. It was a blue berry picking scoop. Its just a box with a wooden handle and big 4” nail fingers to comb out the berries from the bush branches. I used to live next door to several commercial berry picking plantations and never did see any such tool in use by the commercial growers /pickers.

It will be interesting to see how many of the non electric household appliances get revived.