Newsletter June 2017
Have you ever wished you could talk to animals? Do you dream about living amid nature, free of the rat face? This June at Save the Earth, we’ve been busy exploring off-grid living ideas and we even got a gorilla to speak to us! For this and more, read on …
Off-Grid Living 101
“Escaping the rat race” is an ideal harboured by many and a phrase uttered repeatedly by myriad individuals. Perhaps you feel like a rat, stuck in a maze, racing around, hunting for sustenance and hungry for change? Life is too precious to waste feeling trapped, which drives us to consider ways of breaking free. For a growing number of citizens, off-grid living is proving a feasible solution. Here’s a look at some of the varying types of off-grid homes to suit all budgets:
In recent years there has been a sharp rise in the number of people living off grid, especially in the US, where conditions favour this way of life. In the UK, growth is slower – land prices and the planning permission system inhibit process. Because of this, the fastest growing segment of the British off-grid community are living on canals and rivers.
Courtesy of Steven Caws, Flickr
The tiny house movement is snowballing in popularity and the current obsession both offline and across social media looks like it’s here to stay. Ever-increasing numbers of people are opting to buy or build tiny houses at a fraction of the price of traditional homes. In the US, prices can range from less than $19,000 to around $50,000 depending on its size and the kind of finishes you want.
When you think of campervans, you might associate them with festivals or holidays, but many people live in them full time, off-grid. The term campervan usually refers to a 2 to 3 berth vehicle, with basic facilities for cooking, washing or sleeping.
Two great things about a shipping container house are that it is made from recycled materials and it provides instant space while you construct your home. Shipping containers can be designed to look extremely stylish and modern, both inside and out. If you have the imagination and he know-how, it’s possible to create a home that not only looks amazing, but is also very well designed in terms of functionality.
Cob houses have an whimsical, magical quality to them, because when a cob house is being built you can shape and sculpt them as your imagination desires. They are very cheap to construct – in fact you can make one for as little as £150! If constructed properly, cob houses can stand up to earthquakes, which makes them very sturdy and safe to live in.
Courtesy of John Lawrence
For our complete rundown of alternative living options and the costs involved, plus advice on how to be self-sufficient and earn an income off-grid, read our full feature here.
Ask Koko the Gorilla a Question – Crowdfunder Competition Results
Koko is one of the most talked about gorillas alive today, most notably because of her ability to communicate through a form of sign language. The western lowland gorilla is able to understand more than 1,000 signs of Gorilla Sign Language, comprehend 2,000 words of spoken English and communicate complex thoughts and feelings.
Courtesy of The Gorilla Foundation/
Save the Earth teamed up with The Gorilla Foundation to #AskKoko a question as part of our first crowdfunder campaign, which exceeded its £4,500 fundraising target in just 42 days. Thanks to the generosity of 85 supporters, we were able to incorporate our organisation and expand our website – both of which were essential for us to pursue our mission of supporting key ethical and green projects both in the UK and overseas.
The competition was open to everyone who pledged £10 and we are delighted to announce that the #AskKoko competition winners are Aleks Evtimov and Sandra Debosschere. The couple live in Belgium with their cat, “the majestic Shiva”. Aleks and Sandra were invited to make a video asking Koko a question of their choice, which was then played to her. “We would like to get as strong as you,” Sandra begins, with Shiva in her arms. “So we were wondering – what is your favourite food?” Aleks adds. Watch the clip below, to find out what Koko had to say …
The couple are delighted with Koko’s response: “Thank you so very much for this, I absolutely love the video!” Aleks enthused to Save the Earth. “I’ve just shown it to Sandra as well and we’re so glad that Koko saw Shiva!” Indeed – Koko loves cats and is one of the few non-humans in the world to have pets. She received two kittens for her 44th birthday in 2015 and has named them Ms. Black and Ms. Gray!
Notable regards for the making of this video go to Koko, Penny Patterson and Gary Stanley, Director of Education at The Gorilla Foundation.
To read our full article on Koko, click here.
Meet Our Board Members
If you’ve ever wondered who keeps the cogs turning at Save the Earth, we thought it was time we put some faces to names, so you can get to know our board members better. This month, say hello to Marc Taylor, co-founder of Save the Earth and Head of IT, Analysis and Web Security.
Born in the Midlands, crafted and matured in Scotland, Marc describes himself as “a family man with two wonderful daughters and a beautiful supportive partner.”
In a career in data and information management spanning over twenty years, Marc progressed to hold senior management positions with both small companies and within large corporations. However, Marc couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that there was “something” missing, that there was more to life than just the “rat race”. Around ten years ago, Marc was beset by a series of bereavements. This triggered a reflective process, and an increasing recognition of the harm the human race was and is doing to our planet. Since this “awakening” Marc has had an ever-growing desire to do something positive to work for the benefit of generations to come.
Roll forward a few years. Thanks to the wonders of Facebook, Marc connected with Emlyn Mousley, the ideas man behind Save the Earth. When Emlyn appealed in the Save the Earth Facebook Group for individuals to unite in his vision and get involved as co-founders of the co-operative, Marc jumped at the chance to join the Board and put his skills to use. “This was an answer to a long held prayer and a wonderful opportunity to enact positive change,” he enthuses. As Head of IT, Data, Analysis and Web Security for Save the Earth, Marc’s role includes managing the technical side of e-shop, membership area, and website, as well as keeping the rest of the Board’s data behaviour in order. We are currently managing our websites with limited resources and Marc would like to appeal to likeminded techies who wish to get involved and help us scale up as our base grows.
Paraphrasing Gandhi, the time has come to “be the change that you wish to see in the World’” and “this is exactly what Save the Earth is all about,” Marc explains. “Change begins inside each and every one of us – we have to change within to see that reflected back to us. Many people feel powerless, the challenges too daunting. I’m a co-founder of the Save the Earth Co-operative because together we can meet these challenges head on, and have great fun doing so. By coming together at this critical time we have an unparalleled opportunity to synthesise tradition with modern technology to deliver a clean, sustainable and healthy future for our planet and for future generations.”
Marc currently lives in a forested glen on the edge of the Scottish Highlands, surrounded by trees and nature – which demands great care when driving! While he generally dislikes city living (except Edinburgh), the downside to living in such a remote area is the slow broadband and poor mobile reception. “That’s right – a techie with slow Internet access!” he jokes.
When he isn’t working, Marc loves spending time with his family, exploring philosophy / quantum physics, and immersing himself in nature. His many hobbies include cycling, hiking, archery and amateur dramatics. You won’t find Marc glued to the television – in fact he avoids it most of the time, especially the news. He is, however, partial to a series such as X Files or Games of Thrones and is an avid movie watcher, listing The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Matrix, Avatar, Back to the Future, About Time, Groundhog Day, Midnight in Paris, Austin Powers II, Déjà vu, Star Trek IV, Donnie Darko, Star Wars, Interstellar and The Time Traveller’s Wife among his favourite films… do you see a time travel theme occurring here?!
Save the Earth’s Monthly Cash Raffle – June Results!
On the first Thursday of each month, Save the Earth hold a cash raffle. Our second draw took place on 1st June 2017 and we can confirm that the winner is Tom Newton from Staffordshire, UK.
Tom is an active member of Save the Earth and donated a whopping £1,000 to our crowdfunder in 2016, so it’s fitting that we are able to give something back to him. He is passionate about the off-grid way of life and features in an episode of the current series of How to Live Mortgage Free with Sarah Beeny (Channel 4, UK) which documents how he transformed his caravan into a home for just £15,000.
If you’re a paying member of Save the Earth, the great news is that from now on, you’re in with a regular chance of scooping a cash prize.
£1 of your membership fee will be allocated to the raffle every month, with one member selected at random, taking home all the money.
Our third draw will be held at 21:00 GMT on 6th July 2017 and the winner will be notified shortly afterwards.
If you haven’t joined Save the Earth yet and you’d like to be in with a chance of winning, then all you have to do is sign up before 12:00 GMT on the day of the draw.
Guardian Membership costs just £72 per annum or £6 per month via direct debit. You can find out more about the benefits of becoming a member HERE.
The more members we have on board, the bigger the cash prize, so if you’re feeling lucky, come on and join us!
Here is June’s live draw, where the result was revealed: