Read my piece in Ars Technica: “I disconnected from the electric grid for 8 months—in Manhattan”

January 13, 2023 by Joshua
in Leadership, Nature, Stories

Ars Technica published a piece I wrote on my experiment disconnecting my apartment from the grid, I disconnected from the electric grid for 8 months—in Manhattan. It goes into more depth than my TIME piece I’ve Been Living Off-Grid In Manhattan for Half-a-Year. It’s in my voice, unlike the New Yorker‘s Off the Grid in the Big City.

One of my main points was seeing the experiment like the Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk. Normally when I talk about flying, I’m talking about pollution, displacing people from their land for fuel, and problems like that, but tabling the sustainability perspective, looking at it on the Wright brothers’ terms, before anyone could have imagined the problems flying would create in sustainability, tearing communities apart, emptying small towns, and separating people from their families, anyone could call their flight a failure. Their plane couldn’t carry passengers or cargo, they didn’t create a global system of airports, and they didn’t create the 747.

The point was they showed something once considered impossible, including by experts, was possible. They shifted minds so others could continue a process of continual improvement. One of my main goals is showing what’s possible. The article rose to become the second of two feature stories, generating hundreds of comments, nearly double the other, on Elon Musk. Here’s the article’s forum discussion.

Ars Technica‘s front page, where my story reached the top two stories

Many of the comments get the point of experimenting in new areas allows you to find what’s possible and expand frontiers. Many, though, miss the point. Still, it’s not their job for me to be understood. I look forward to learning from people’s responses how to communicate subtlety and nuance on finer points.

In other words: more stories in Ars Technica to come, filling in what this story didn’t.

My top goal is for a few people to respond “You can do that?! I want to try!” and then to do it themselves. Not many have to try for a movement to start of people learning to enjoy life more and improve their communities by polluting less. I’m not talking about calling solar and wind clean, green, and renewable when they aren’t so not reducing while believing you are. I’m talking about restoring lost values of Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You (the Golden Rule), Live and Let Live (Common Decency), and Leave It Better Than You Found It (Stewardship) and living by those values, then leading others to.

I predict people will pass me like I’m standing still.

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