Living off the grid can mean generating your own power or using well water instead of the local utility. It’s hard work. Ground water can leave calcium and metal deposits in a home’s pipes, fouling up the plumbing. For homes with solar cells, cloudy days can mean less power, so you can charge your cell phone but you can’t watch Mad Men or play on your Wii.

It requires strength and vision and a peculiar stubbornness to go off the grid. It takes real courage to try out new ideas, to go one way when everybody else is going another.

These stories remind us of the grit and fearlessness it takes to push into new territory. For some, the accomplishment itself is fulfilling enough. Others explore so that they can then reach back and help others find the way forward.

Come with us as we take our Spring 2014 issue goes off the grid.

Elzada Clover (back, second from left), Lois Jotter (front right), and a crew member camping on the banks of the Colorado River.


Down the Great River
U-M botanists Elzada Clover and Lois Jotter risked their lives collecting cacti on the Colorado River. They were also the first women to survive a trip through the Grand Canyon.

Toxic Tours and Chimp Lasers
Follow LSA students as they travel the world, measuring chimps with lasers and digitizing guerrilla radio broadcasts.

The Art of the Arab Uprisings
The protests of the Arab Spring gave voice to thousands of artists who filled squares and walls with plays, posters, murals, and—most surprisingly—jokes.

To see even more ways LSA goes off the grid, take a look at this issue's Table of Contents.