Twelve years ago, my partner and I left Sydney for an adventure. My partber, a social disrupter and avid believer in renewable energy use, and myself embracing the opportunity to ‘live the dream’, moved to New Zealand to build an ‘Off the Grid’ house and experience lowering our environmental footprint. Like most plans, they don’t always work out as expected. There are unexpected learnings along the way, much more profound than what was planned. I entered New Zealand thinking we were doing as much as we could to live sustainably and ethically, and left the country four years later with only a couple of months left of being non-vegan.
We spent the first year building our house incorporating such materials as wool insulation, non-petrochemical bio-paints and a Biolytix converter (giant worm farm) to process sewage into brown water. With no connection to the grid, we obtained our power from solar panels and a Pelton water turbine for generating electricity. And with myself being a ‘vege-quarian’ for over 30 years and my partner one for eight, we believed were were living ethically with a light environmental footprint. Our education was only just beginning.