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  #1  
Old 01-04-2015, 04:18 PM
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Question about Discovery (Alaskan) Off Gridders

G'day Folks,

(I hope this doesn't end up in Politics and Religion! So please play nice)

At the moment the Dutch breed of the Discovery Channel is swamped with American programs about people living "off grid". I'm guessing the same programs are shown all over the world...

...I know this is TV and it isn't necessarily 100% real but I was wondering "how on earth can these people afford all that ****ing propane"?

I mean I'm sure it is seriously (life threateningly cold) up there in the Yukon / Alaska but propane costs money. Without propane I'm sure you'd be chopping wood all summer. In addition to the copious amounts of propane there seems to be loads of snow mobiles and other luxuries that don't quite tally with the subjects of the programs that are often "they need to catch 500kg of fish or red meat to make it through the winter"...

...so like another Discovery program "how do they do that"?

These good folk of TV land don't seem to be secretly sloping off to great big Alaskan call centres to earn their money - It does seem as though they do need to catch that one train a week to get home. So I'm just curious to know how it all works out for them.

(This is pure curiosity and not motivated by envy)

Does anyone here know how the economics of off grid life up there works?

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  #2  
Old 01-04-2015, 07:45 PM
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You still need money to live. Most probably live on the Alaskan oil money they get and some odd jobs they do over the year.

Up their snow machines are cheap, everyone has a few, and most probably heat primarily with wood to reduce oil/propane usage.
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Old 01-04-2015, 08:30 PM
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The barter economy is huge. And the rest of the year is spent preparing for the winter, mainly stockpiling firewood and food through hunting, fishing and gardening. While not quite as cold as Alaska, I've got family and a friend who are off-grid in Maine. With them, they do have solar, propane furnaces and generators for backup or emergency use.

While I don't have it in me to do it, there are times I wish I could.

IIRC the Kilchers are related to Jewel the singer so they've probably got some extra coin laying around when needed.
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Old 01-04-2015, 08:52 PM
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Looks like pure entertainment to me ... just like the Alaskan Bush People show. As one poster indicated, residents of Alaska receive some sort of money from the state coffers once a year. I knew a handful of troops who were stationed once in Alaska and they claimed Alaska as their state of residency. Once they realized Texas or Florida may be a better pick, they jumped ship but ended up getting a bill from Alaska asking for their money back. It wasn't a huge amount of money from my recollection, around $1,500 bucks or so per year. I cannot see how that is enough money to sustain a family, but who knows about the boundries of frugality. I have watched those various programs and I am always intrigued over the pending disaster every few minutes or crisis, or whatever. All that fish and wildlife yet folks are always scrambling for their next meal?
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  #5  
Old 01-04-2015, 11:06 PM
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They are just TV shows for entertainment. North America is producing an abundance of so called reality shows now.

In the sixties we had a substantial group going back to the land. Usually these things are just fads.
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Old 01-05-2015, 01:15 AM
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If i recall alaska has some kind of tax credit for this stuff, so we get 100 shows with shrieky incompetent drama queens dealing with artificial emergencies in a beautiful natural setting.

Thank heavens for honey boo boo re runs to cleanse the palate
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Old 01-05-2015, 01:29 AM
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If i recall alaska has some kind of tax credit for this stuff, so we get 100 shows with shrieky incompetent drama queens dealing with artificial emergencies in a beautiful natural setting.

Thank heavens for honey boo boo re runs to cleanse the palate
Hence why I really only watch Top Gear, Dr. Who, Orphan Black, and F1 racing.
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Old 01-05-2015, 02:52 AM
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When I was in Fairbanks back in September I was told because Alaska considers all the oil that oil companies drill that of the citizens, the oil companies must pay the citizens for the ability to drill, divided among however many citizens that there are it equals to like $1,500. It's not something that you're supposed to live off of, it's just a little something extra.

The only show I've seen is the real estate one where people buy houses out there which is kinda cool, some interesting types of houses they have.
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Old 01-05-2015, 04:07 AM
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Thanks for all the replies.

Well I suppose a slow trickle of something (be it a small contribution from the authorities) coupled with the odd burst of well paid seasonal work could be kept going with a barter system to enable the purchase of "on grid" items. The strange thing is though that all these off gridders need to cooperate with each other one heck of a lot more than people living in cities in a way that kind of counteracts the reason why most of them say they are up there.
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Old 01-05-2015, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Stretch View Post
Thanks for all the replies.

Well I suppose a slow trickle of something (be it a small contribution from the authorities) coupled with the odd burst of well paid seasonal work could be kept going with a barter system to enable the purchase of "on grid" items. The strange thing is though that all these off gridders need to cooperate with each other one heck of a lot more than people living in cities in a way that kind of counteracts the reason why most of them say they are up there.
If they were truly off grid, they wouldnt be on TV.

You can buy a lot of toys you cant afford with a credit card. This off grid group is just another series of characters capitalizing on fake reality television programming.
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Old 01-06-2015, 07:06 AM
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Kilcher family profile.

Not Dying in Alaska: A Profile of the Kilcher Family | Alaska | OutsideOnline.com
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Old 01-06-2015, 09:54 AM
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The one problem with creating a hero like Kilcher in the media, is that lesser sorts will try to emulate him and clog up the backcountry with their carcasses.

Outside is a cool magazine, but it borders on fawning hero worship at times. It is a beautiful, slick publication, promoting the beauty of nature and those who live in it. I always wondered how such a non-green type of printing process sat with the true believers on the staff.....
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Old 01-06-2015, 10:32 AM
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Why all the way to Alaska? Can't you just go to Aspen in the winter and have the same back-to-the-elements experience?
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Old 01-06-2015, 11:26 AM
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People living in parts of Hawaii have been "off the grid" for decades . . . no infrastructure where there's lava flows.

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