Why Living Off The Grid on Your Own Property Could Be Illegal in Colorado

Colorado County has apparently criminalized self-reliance and off-grid dwellers are being punished like a crime. What’s interesting is that there was a time, not so long ago, when there was no grid. Especially for those living outside urban centers. Living self-sufficiently in rural areas was not the exception but the rule and many children grew up learning how to survive without sewage systems, running water or any other public services provided by municipalities or power companies. So how is did we get to the stage where living off the grid on your own property is illegal in Colorado!?

When pioneers settled in America, they raised cows, pigs and chicken for the necessities, grew their food and worked their land, dug wells, built outhouses, used kerosene for light and wood for heat. These people were 100 percent self-reliant, not because they chose to be but rather because they had no other options. While this style of living off-grid seems far removed from our modern, convenient lifestyle now, it wasn’t that long ago, and a growing number of people are starting to realize that living off-grid may represent a healthier and happier lifestyle as well as the key to survival if and when disaster strikes.

Off-grid systems today are designed to help people function in their daily lives without the support of infrastructure, such as an electrical grid. But while this is the most common form of living off-grid, it also represents a way of living in a self-sufficient manner with no reliance on any public utilities: this includes water supply, sewage systems, electrical power grids, natural gas and any other similar utility service. A true off-grid house can operate independently. While our ancestors didn’t have solar panels, generators or chemical toilets, these more modern off-grid conveniences made living off-the-grid a little easier for folks who aren’t used to the traditional way of life.

While this way of life is appealing to many and is growing in popularity, the whole idea of living off-the-grid appears to threaten others especially power companies and other services who have a financial interest in keeping folks plugged-in, connected and dependent on their services. Those folks are doing their best to make it difficult and indeed, seemingly impossible, for folks to return to a simpler, self-reliant way of life.

So what are these companies doing to ensure people must be dependent on their services? One example is Costilla County in Colorado, one of the least-populated counties in the state. It is an area that has attracted hundreds of people who have managed to live successfully off-the-grid. But these off-grid homesteaders are now facing harassment from authorities who are seemingly making it difficult for anyone who dares to pursue an independent lifestyle. In fact, the situation has become so tense there have been confrontations between off-grid landowners and county authorities as the county continues to attempt to criminalize this eco-friendly lifestyle. The county has proposed new land regulations requiring electricity, water, and sewer system installation before landowners can obtain building permits. Do you agree, or do you think homeowners should not be allowed to live off-the-grid? Or do you feel that people should have the right to choose how they live, especially in private rural properties?

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