How One Man Has Lived Off The Grid For Twenty Years

Meet Thomas Henry Culhane, who began living off the grid in the late 90s.

off the grid
(Getty Images)
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Thomas Henry Culhane, a longtime National Geographic explorer, began living off the grid in the late ’90s, when he crept into the basement of his apartment building in Los Angeles and pulled the electric plug. But he was first inspired by sustainable living during a trip in 1970 to visit his relatives near Mosul, Iraq, writes Nat Geo. He was only eight years old, but he was worried that his stay in their small village would be awful, since his parents had warned him there would be no electricity, and no air conditioning. But there was an icy stream that flowed into their village, and Culhane said it was amazing to him that the river could cool their food and drinks.

Culhane met his wife, Enas, when she was living in an ecovillage in Portugal. She had always liked the feeling of being low-impact. The two now live in an RV in the front yard of a large house in Florida, and they live almost completely off the grid. They use gas created by their own on-site biodigesters to cook on a gas-powered stove. They collect food waste from nearby restaurants and places of worship to feed the biodigesters. The also use the energy created by the biodigesters to heat their bath water. They don’t use AC, and keep their RV parked in the shade to try to stay cooler. When it works, the couple has hot showers, a working gas stove, a refrigerator, a washing machine and a big screen TV, writes Nat Geo, at no cost to the Earth.

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