So with Lyndsey having spilled the beans on our new electrical hook-up, I wanted to tell you about another peculiar juxtaposition of our yurt-life. We have Internet access!
Of all the things that we just ‘can’t live without’, Internet access is one. Never mind a flushing toilet, hot running water, central heating and lights, the one thing that just seems so essential, is good Internet access.
Now our yurt is in the far corner of a field in deepest, darkest Carmarthenshire and we live a fairly simple basic life within it. But we have a huge amount of ‘human capital’ behind our web access.
Earlier in the year, a combined European effort put a new communications satellite into space. A big dish in Italy ‘sends the Internet’ up into space to it, which is then beamed back down to Earth. We have a small dish mounted on our stable to pick-up that signal. We then fire it across the field via WiFi to a USB receiver, tied to the yurt crown-piece, which we then connect to the laptop.
The technology behind all that is clearly amazing! The science and the engineering is mind boggling. And that all of that is now relatively modestly priced and fairly straight forward to set-up, bringing all of the world to our little corner of a field; fantastic!
Does this craving for the Internet challenge our eco-ideals? Well, there’s surely a lot of embodied energy and other resources in all that technology. I suppose it depends how much you value the Internet (and what you use it for). But it is great isn’t it? And I think a world full of Internet connected yurts, tipis, wigwams, adobe huts, log cabins, etc is a pretty good vision of a sustainable future.
And while I’m obviously a very privileged Westerner, I don’t have to feel too guilty about it all because, as I saw in the National Geographic the other week, they’re doing it out in Mongolia too. There’s a photo of a father and daughter in a ger (the ‘proper’ name for a yurt) in Ulaan Baatar watching a YouTube video on their iPhone! I wonder how interested in my story they would be.