I find myself straddling the 21st and 19th century as I work towards self reliance. Just in my living room I have a LCD TV, a Five disc DVD player along with kerosene lamps and very efficient wood stove I can cook on. My patio has solar lights and motion detectors and I have an older cheap charcoal grill/smoker along with my Weber propane grill and double propane burner set up. I have all kinds of gadgets that can run on solar panels and batteries, little dynamos and homemade candles for light. I grow an herb and medicinal garden make my own bread and beer yet buy penicillin and Cipro at my local farm or pet store. I reduce, reuse, re-purpose and recycle but I’m not a tree hugger or greenie environmental wacko, I’m cheap! I can kill and butcher my own meat and grow a garden. I have solar panels and a wood stove. While I’m not all that high on the economic food chain I think I have done very well overall and quite often because I have gone against conventional wisdom and really looked at my cost of living.
I don’t think technology in of itself is evil. A LCD TV uses a lot less electrical energy compared to an old CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) TV. The little LCD TV Mom got at a yard sale cost her $10.00 and I had to buy the power cord $15.00 and a digital converter box for $33.00 so it could get digital channels but all of that only costs about 50 watts of electrical energy needed to run. Heck that is not even an old fashioned light bulb as far as electrical cost! This TV is also a multi-tasker as it has the right hook ups for a PC or laptop as a monitor. I’m sure some folks will poo-poo my ideas of using technology preparing as and EMP or CME “might” render it all useless. But that is a darn specific disaster scenario and I can save energy/money everyday until that specific disaster hits. Even the gurus are not sure how bad a CME or EMP might effect modern electronics so you might as well take advantage of the energy savings now and try to have backups in a Faraday cage if things go all FUBAR.
I like solar power at least on a small scale for most to have a bit of basic electrical power. No, you probably can’t afford a whole house setup to start, a few 20 watt or one 100 watt solar panel and a good battery is doable for a couple of hundred bucks. You can buy these items as you plan for them each month. Actually building a small solar powered system will cost less than what many people spend on an Iphone and data plan or a couple months worth of Sat./cable TV. Of course if you are one of those people that think you impress folks buy paying the highest price or having the latest gadget give you some sort of status among the plebes, I hope you enjoy it while lasts because without a signal or power all that you get is a very expensive paperweight.
One thing I recommend if you are looking at having a generator or going solar is get your wattage as low as possible before you make a big investment in backup/alternate power. Right away you will begin saving money and you can start by killing vampire loads with surge protectors on any appliance that requires a remote or has a clock. I was raised by a light nazi and learned to turn off lights when I left a room but even I saw about $5.00 per month savings just adding those surge protectors and turning off vampire loads. I use a lot of solar lamps around the house for my outdoor lighting as well as little nite lights in the house. You can’t work by most of these lights but they are great at night for a little bit of light and they save on electrical cost. I really like my motion detector out door solar lights as a security feature. These lights give off a soft glow and brighten considerably when motion is detected. I notice a light that turns on in the dark much more than seeing movement in a flood light. By getting your electric load as small as possible you will save money as you can get by with lower wattage on your generator or your alternative energy setup.
Now for lighting I like oil or Kerosene lamps as a gallon of kerosene will light a lamp for two hours per day for a month. If you are sensitive to the fumes from kerosene you might prefer oil lamps. This is very old tech in some ways back to the Old Testament era of using oil for lamps. I adore my wood stove while the basics of a fire for heat are well understood this stove is very high tech in it’s design which makes it very efficient so I save a lot of money on my electric bill. I also use a small window air conditioner that uses new technology but is also much cheaper to run compared to the whole house unit I ran two years ago. I’ll be looking for a small swamp cooler at yard sales this fall because they do a pretty good job cooling here in the high desert and they use very little electricity compared to an A/C unit of the same size.
I have a lot of books but I love my kindle as I have over 150 books already stored on it and many that I got for free. There is no way I could have all of those books on hand if I did not have a kindle. With the new digital decoder box with the USB port for recording TV show I can now do the same thing with a jump or hard drive and none of that is possible without technology. If you are a prepper/survivalist weight and space becomes two of the things you can run out of very fast! With a Solid State Drive( SSD) getting cheaper and jump drives more capable of holding a lot of data, laptops, tablets get smaller and cheaper there is no reason not take advantage of the space and weight savings. You can build a small faraday cage or box and there is a very good chance you can save all that data even through an EMP of CME event. Remember both of those events are line of sight (LOS) and the earth is round so there will be place with electricity and electronics and while replacing transformers and power will take time to replace, it will happen!
Age does not make an Idea bad as you may have noticed we still use the wheel and it still works.