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Off-gridders have seen the environmental light

January 9, 2015

A book by Phillip Vannini and Jonathan Taggart, Off the Grid, is the single best source of anecdotal analysis on this energy subject I’ve seen in 40 years.

Published under Routledge’s Innovative Ethnographies series, backed by an outstanding website,, and a striking documentary film, this book goes where most academics fear to tread — into the field, beyond safe boundaries of lab or lecture hall, where people live in real buildings, coast to coast to coast, and are not connected to any grid, electrical or other.

CBC’s Nature of Things ought to have told this story, but instead used taxpayers’ money to send David Suzuki to interview American experts on renewable energy, to visit Japan and Europe, and to talk to one Canadian university professor who had no personal experience with the technology.

Not a single Canadian off-grid pioneer was profiled. There were at least a hundred at the time. I was one of them.

We were not amused.

Read the full review