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Keedysville couple living off the grid

January 25, 2009|By MARLO BARNHART

BOONSBORO -- David and Helen Smith committed themselves to a sustainable lifestyle when they began building their Keedysville home 15 years ago.

Through a combination of wind and solar power, storage batteries, propane and a gas generator, the Smiths are living off the grid. Their reasons are not only environmental but spiritual -- to live as good stewards of God's earth.

Sunday evening, they gathered with about 20 curious and practicing environmentalists at Benevola United Methodist Church to improve their efforts in slowing down the world's depletion of resources.

A retired wildlife biologist, Dave Smith spoke about rediscovering some old ideas, such as solar and wind power, and reducing the consumption of more traditional forms of energy.

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"The fact is that there are enough of us on the planet now to actually affect the earth," he said, pointing to climate changes, rising sea levels and vanishing species.

Helen Smith, pastor of Benevola United Methodist Church, spoke of God and creation, and how the Bible speaks about how God gave man dominion over other living things on the planet.

"We might scratch our heads and wonder why God did that," she said.

But what that does, she believes, is to give humans responsibility for how the planet is faring.

Armed with a PowerPoint presentation of graphs and charts on how the planet has and is changing, the Smiths have been traveling to area churches and speaking to other groups, promoting their efforts to team spirituality with sustainability -- faith and action.

Great interest was shown in the slides of the Smiths' home and how it operates.

On Sunday, those who are interested may tour the Smiths' home along with members of the Boonsboro High School Environmental Club.

For more information, send an e-mail to janeen@thesolbergs.org.

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