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The Future

2020-03-03
For days, MOK Ho-kwong (Yeah Man) has been visiting off-gridders who either live individually or as low-density communities. Because of their remote locations, limited resources, hygienic concerns, as well as various issues, their living space cannot accommodate too many people in general. However, Yeah Man has found an exception towards the end of his journey.

On Lasqueti Island near Vancouver, Canada, off-grid living has a history of more than half a century. There are 400 off-gridders residing on the island, including elderly, young families, and single individuals, most of whom came to the island in order to escape from crowded and stressful urban life, hoping to rebuild their living space. To cater for the needs of residents, the regional authority even established off-grid public facilities such as a clinic and a school. This is a demonstration of how local government and people cooperate in gradually developing a large off-grid community.

Although the idea of living off the grid is a personal decision, support from policies, government, and private organisations is still necessary if a certain scale is to be achieved. For instance, in Japan where the off-grid culture has thrived rather recently, an off-grid town named “Sustainable Smart Town” has been developed in Fujisawa City, Kanagawa Prefecture, thanks to the research and development of advanced technologies, as well as support of a privately-owned group. In this town, every family is solely powered by solar energy, with smart technologies keeping track of energy consumption in the household, which boosts people’s awareness of energy conservation enormously. In fact, solar energy is gradually becoming a source of public renewable energy in Japan. In Chiba Prefecture, a floating solar plant alone is able to supply electricity to 5 000 households.

Having understood various ways of living off-grid – as individuals, groups or urban-rural communities – Yeah Man assimilates his experiences from the journey and concludes with his own life philosophy. How exactly has this trip changed his ideals? And how is he starting his own “off-grid life”?

Off the Grid

  • Video
  • English
  • Lifestyle
  • On-going
Have you ever thought of living a self-sustainable life?

Every day we try to keep pace with the fast urban development, doing our jobs in exchange for fulfilling basic needs and enhancing living quality. The city’s infrastructure that we rely heavily upon is a safety net for lives as well as an indicator of a civilised society. Yet, the more sophisticated development becomes, the more it resembles an intertwining net that covers our lives and city.

It sounds like a natural way to live, but not everyone agrees.

Some of us choose to do things the opposite way. They leave their own living area and refuse to be limited to a life over-reliant on the city. They return to the basics and wish to develop their own ways of life and attitude. People call them the “off-gridders”. Cutting off the urban supply of water and electricity, they instead make use of the materials in the surroundings and the nature for infrastructure. Not only do they lead unique lives, but they also manage to solve the issues of survival.

So do these off-gridders choose to do so to protect the environment, defy the mainstream, demonstrate self-directedness in their fate, or for other complicated reasons? How many challenges can we cope with in life when we are away from the comfort zone that we are familiar with?

This five-episode series follows the life of “Wild Man” MOK Ho-kwong, who has long craved for a life in the countryside, and sees how he travels to Canada and Japan with a view to putting complete self-sustainability into practice. He will weave across forests and cities as he visits off-gridders from different countries and explores with them how they should start a life “off the grid”.
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