As many people will be graduating this summer, life and its choices is really hitting some people hard. School? Moving out? Full time jobs? Financial stability? All questions that keep a teen up at night, and for good reason. Typically, when students graduate, they’re looking forward to the freedom, which also comes hand in hand with moving out.
A lot of students strive to move out of their parent’s homes as soon as possible, and for some who are environmentalists, the reality of how much of a carbon footprint their homes can make is discouraging. A carbon foot print is the amount of greenhouse gases that directly and indirectly support human activities and life styles. That is why some young adults are going green by living off grid. Living off grid doesn’t necessarily mean living way out in some forest, disconnected from the whole world. Instead, it means living typically smaller and more efficiently meanwhile not leaving as large of a carbon footprint.
A lot of people have been following the tiny house movement which has made a statement all throughout the world. Tiny house living is exactly what the name entitles, living in a tiny house. Most of the time, tiny houses are on wheels so people can bring their home with them while they travel. The tiny houses are able to live off grid with the use of solar panels. Solar panels are a way to get power no matter where you are because the panels absorb the sun’s rays and generate the energy into electricity. They are environmentally friendly because the house is not dependent on fossil fuels. By doing this, not only is power to your house completely free, it is also energy efficient.
Tiny houses are one way to go about off grid living, but as Riverside alumnus, Jayke Moore, reveals. The ‘Vanlife’ movement is also another common trend. It is typically a larger sized van, such as a cargo van, with a gutted interior, making it into a tiny house. Now these houses are better for the environment than an average home, but the amount of gas that is used while driving such a heavy load doesn’t exactly help the environment. Jayke Moore, who graduated last year, has recently bought a van and is in the process of converting it into his full time house. “Not only is it more environmentally stable, it is a way to travel the world and always have a bed to return to at the end of a long day and call it home. I am worried about how I am going to make this work, but I’ve done a lot of research and found off grid generators, composting toilets, foot pedal washer and drier machines and even ways to reuse tap water through a grey water tank,” said Moore.
If the ways off grid living can save the environment aren’t enough to make you think about it, let’s talk money. Living smaller and off grid is often hundreds of dollars cheaper a month. Due to the fact that you’re most likely not paying electrical, not paying rent and not even paying for water. Commonly, people who live off grid, specifically in mobile houses, can afford to travel all throughout the year. Many ‘Vanlife’ goers often work from their van while they travel for months at a time, and can afford to do so.
Not all people can or want to live an off grid lifestyle, it is good to weigh the pros and cons of both lifestyles you could be living.