Interview with Ben Falk

In this excerpt from a Vermont Commons Interview, Ben Falk talks about Vermonters’ dependence on Hydro Quebec and the Oil Men.

Imagine your home in the following scenario:

The electrical grid is down and it’s not coming back up because Vermont
Yankee had a major malfunction and Hydro Quebec pulled the plug after
deciding that Canada or states downstream needed more electrical power
(and could pay more for it) than Vermont. You’re out of heating
oil and the delivery truck won’t come – even if you could afford the
$5,000 fill-up. It’s January and an “Arctic clipper” is pushing
minus-20-degree air into Vermont. The fridge is empty but you
can’t afford the $10/gallon gas to get to the store. The septic system
is full and the truck won’t come.

Q. So let’s talk about moving forward. How do we think outside the box here?

BF: It’s silly that we’ve put ourselves in such a precarious position,
because there are a few simple and affordable systems that could, at
the home scale, fundamentally change this situation for the
better. One’s called a composting toilet. Another is a big
home vegetable garden, and gravity fed drinking water. Another is
20 fruit trees and a half acre of nut trees. Another is a root
cellar. Another, better insulation and a masonry heater, or at
least a wood stove. For the minority of us who can afford it,
there are solar hot water and electric panels.





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